What Super Bowl XLIV Says About Race

By Jamilah King Feb 05, 2010

I have a confession to make: I’m not a big Colts fan. In fact, I’m a pretty big hater. And I can’t stand Peyton Manning. But when it comes to this year’s Super Bowl, I’m excited for all the wrong reasons — and it has nothing to do with the commercials. The Saints playing the Colts is probably not a surprise to anyone, since they had two of the best records in the league this season. But the political ramifications behind it? Mesmerizing. A coworker recently said in a meeting, "The Saints winning the Super Bowl after Katrina would be like Haiti winning the World Cup after the earthquake." Not sure if I’d go that far, but sure, there’s a comparison to be made. For me, the most interesting part of this Super Bowl are the underlying racial scripts beneath each team’s stat sheet. Everybody’s All-Pro, All-American quarterback Peyton Manning versus the newly arrived New Orleans Saints. Manning may be our football equivalent to Larry Bird, white America’s last great hope for an "authentic" American quarterback to come in and save one of its favorite national pastimes.