Commentary

A Civil War affair in the secondary

Brees-Manning is the headline, but battle could be won elsewhere

Originally Published: February 1, 2010
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Jacob LaceyGetty Images"No man is an island." Tell that to Jacob Lacey.

Throughout the NFL playoffs, Football Scientist KC Joyner has offered a few "Contrarian Viewpoints" to commonly held football assumptions. Here is another in the series.

I'm a bit of a history buff -- so when I see the coverage leading up to Super Bowl XLIV, I can't help but think of the Civil War.

In that conflict, the bulk of the media and general public's attention was paid to the battles raging on the eastern front. The perception of the state of the war typically centered on the state of the clashes between Gen. Robert E. Lee and a revolving door of Federal generals.

As important as that part of the war was, the conflict between Ulysses S. Grant and the Confederate leadership in the west was just as valuable. For example, when Grant won at Vicksburg, it gave the North full usage of the Mississippi, cut the South in half and allowed Gen. William T. Sherman to go on his famous march to the sea. That triumph was nearly as important as any other in the entire war in helping the Union to its eventual win, but it still didn't place that theater in the same spotlight as the Potomac arena.

The same thing is happening in some ways with regard to Super Bowl XLIV. The bulk of everyone's attention is being paid to Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, but there are other battles that will be just as important in deciding the winner of this contest.

One of these is the showdown between the New Orleans Saints' wide receivers and the Indianapolis Colts' cornerbacks. The common wisdom is that the Colts' coverage group won't be able to handle the Saints' pass-catchers.