The all-time Colts have more than enough line to block for Manning and all that firepower, and just enough defense. So enough about whether they belong. They're there.
Close game, in other words. Both teams belong, and the game shapes up as an offensive powerhouse versus a strong, well-balanced defense.
Let's play this out.
It's not much of a business, as it turns out. A pass to Sharpe and a couple of Jim Taylor runs move the ball to the 30, where Chester Marcol is called on to not run with a blocked field goal, and he performs his task admirably, putting the Packers ahead 17-14.
At this point the snow takes over, and Eric Dickerson tries to. He bulls the ball downfield into field-goal range, leaving the kicking duties in the hands of long-time bad-weather kicker Adam Viniatieri.
Now is the time when poetic justice should assume power, and the Green Bay Ted Hendricks should block the kick of his former team, forcing the Baltimapolis Ted Hendricks back out on the field to stop the Packers, but that doesn't happen. Fred Carr doesn't even get an island-sized paw on it. Instead, Viniatieri simply pulls it left.
There's not much after that, fans of offense, lovers of the Washington-Baylor Alamo Bowl. Everyone sort of slips and mucks around for 10 minutes, Manning throws a pick to Dave Robinson, and Reggie White supplies the exclamation point with an exuberant belly-whopper of a sack. The gun fires and the Packers escape with a 17-14 win.
What a gyp! What a dirty, rotten gyp of a game! To have a absolute upset-in-the-making, one of the greatest pretend games in the entire history of made-up football games, ruined by the oldest trick in the book – a blast of stage snow in the face.
Okay, but think about it. The game is played in Green Bay in winter. It snows in Green Bay in winter. One of the greatest real games in history, the Ice Bowl, was played in Green Bay and was made great in part by the temperature. See, it gets cold in Green Bay in the winter. The game itself minus the temperature was no greater than a score of other games. Add the temperature and – voila! – instant classic. And a cup of instant coffee to go with it.