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Muhlenberg College

Friday, February 5, 2010

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Mules Offer Their Predictions

Super Bowl XLIV pits Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, the players who finished 1-2 in the 2009 NFL MVP voting, against each other. Below, some of Muhlenberg’s most valuable players give their predictions on the big game:

Wayne Mitchel, junior, men’s tennis: “I think the score is going to be 31-24 with Indianapolis winning in a shootout. Being the Jets fan that I am, it would be nice if the Colts won to shed a good light on the AFC and make the Jets look as if they lost to the Super Bowl champs. As much as I would like to see New Orleans get a championship after Katrina, Peyton Manning is too good and will carve up their defense.”

Danielle Scarrone, senior, women’s lacrosse: “I think the best way to choose a team is by picking the best-looking quarterback; so after careful consideration and Google Image stalking, I decided that I will be rooting for Drew Brees and the Saints. My method may be a bit shallow, but I’m banking on it!”

Jess Kasza, junior, field hockey/softball: “I have a feeling that Manning and the Colts are going to ruin the Saints’ hopes and dreams. I don’t think that the Saints’ defense will be able to get to Manning like they hope. Also, their offense probably won’t get the openings through the Colts’ defensive line for their running game. I’m not saying the Colts are going to completely destroy the Saints, I’m just saying that the Saints won’t be able to play ‘their’ game. The Saints may give a good fight, but I think the score is going to be 28-13 with the Colts coming out with the victory.”

Paul D’Auria, senior, men’s golf: “People may look at the offenses and defenses, but I’m talking intangibles. Peyton Manning is on a mission. Yes, he might not have Dwight Freeney, but if Manning plays like the football is an Oreo and the Saints are Donald Trump, he will get ring number two. Do not get me wrong, Drew Brees has potential, but in this case the gate may just be too narrow. My prediction: Colts 31, Saints 24. WHO DAT? That’s me winning all the money. Take that to the bank...and kiss the baby.”

Sarah Mellick, senior, women’s golf: “I'm thinking the Saints are going all the way, baby! But the Colts aren't going down without a fight. Final score: 31-28 Saints!”

Jason Daniels, junior, baseball/men’s soccer: “This is a tough one; I like both teams a lot. As much as I like Drew Brees and the Saints’ feel-good story, though, it’s hard to go against Peyton Manning and what he can do for the Colts. The amount of points in this one will likely be absurd: Colts by 7.”

Totals: Colts 4, Saints 2

For freshman Ari Chalew of the Muhlenberg men’s soccer team and senior Ari Jacobson of the men’s lacrosse team, Super Bowl XLIV has brought out the strongest of human emotions.

A New Orleans native, Chalew, like the majority of the city’s residents, has been closely following the Saints’ thrilling run to the Super Bowl all season. Though he does not consider himself a huge football fan, he has seen the impact the team has had on a city still rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Ari Chalew “Coming back from the storm a stronger and better team reflects the mentality of everyone in New Orleans, and is a symbol of the rebuilding process,” said Chalew (right). “The fact that the team can come back better than ever gives New Orleans hope that it, too, can come back better.”

Not too long ago the Saints were known for their futility. From their inaugural season in 1967 to 2005 – the year Katrina hit – they won just one playoff game and reached the postseason just five times. But since the devastating low of the storm the Saints have reached their greatest highs, unifying the residents of New Orleans in a lasting way.

“My friends and family back home cannot even explain to me the sense of camaraderie and simple joy that everyone is experiencing,” said Chalew. “New Orleans has been taken over by ‘Who Dat’ hysteria. My parents tell me people are going crazy and hugging in the streets.

“There is a general feeling of well-being and hope in the city right now,” he added. “Something special is going on.”

Ari Jacobson The Colts, who are seeking their second championship in four years, are also backed by a passionate fan base. But the team’s secretive move from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1983 has left the residents of Baltimore, Jacobson included, hating the Colts.

“My dad was a diehard Baltimore Colts fan – he had season tickets in the nosebleeds,” said Jacobson (left). “Since the day I was born I’ve been taught to hate the Colts.”

Baltimore’s bitterness towards the Colts extends so deep that, Jacobson notes, when they come to play the Ravens, the scoreboard only reads “Indianapolis” and does not acknowledge the Colts moniker that once belonged to Baltimore.

While many without a vested interest in either team may be pulling for the underdog Saints and, in turn, the city of New Orleans, Jacobson hasn’t noticed a rooting trend one way or the other among Muhlenberg’s students.

“The World Series really had the campus split because of geography,” he said. “But I think with this Super Bowl people are just hoping for something exciting.”

And if the tale of this year’s Super Bowl is not evidence enough of the unifying power of sports – in both love and hate – then there is also the story of Chalew and Jacobson themselves.

Displaced from home after Katrina, Chalew spent his freshman year of high school in Baltimore, where he attended school with Jacobson. They met, as teammates, on the soccer field.

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