If you had visited the Peppermill in Reno during the past two decades you would, until his retirement a few years ago, likely have been greeted by Faro Farsi. He worked in the sportsbook and both efficiently took care of business behind the scenes and had a wonderful way when interacting with the public.
Faro and I have been friends for more than 20 years, and since 2010 have negotiated a standing bet, $1, on who is going to win the Super Bowl. One year, we both picked the same team, the Baltimore Ravens for Super Bowl XLVIII. We both won that year, when the Ravens completed the 2012 season with a Vince Lombardi Trophy clinching victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The deal is we can always adjust our selection up to the start of the regular season, which this year begins with a Thursday night affair between the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys on September 9th.
Three weeks ago, Faro declared his Super Bowl winner without too much concern he would be shifting off his pick for Super Bowl LVI. “They have one of the best defenses in the league,” Faro proclaimed while choosing the Indianapolis Colts to win it all.
I voiced a concern to Faro in regards to the Colts offense. Their quarterback during last year’s trip to the playoffs was Philip Rivers, who has resigned. In his stead, the Colts acquired Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Indianapolis is looking to resurrect the career of Wentz, who appeared bound for an MVP Trophy in his second season, a year in which the Eagles won the Super Bowl. But that year a late November injury sent him to the sidelines. Injuries have plagued the signal-caller’s career, and if the Colts are to win it all Wentz would have to play a more active role than he did with Eagles four seasons ago when Nick Foles led the final charge to Philadelphia’s Super Bowl win.
Now he is injured again, missing the preseason with his new team. The foot injury that has sidelined Wentz has also been suffered by All Pro offensive guard Quenton Nelson, forcing him out of the Colts lineup for a minimum of five weeks and as much as three months.
My concern over the Colts offense is not diminished, but Faro’s skill at picking Super Bowl winners has not yet prompted me to dismiss his Indianapolis pick. For the Colts to win it all they don’t require a dynamic offense if their defense is rock solid. A number of teams have won Super Bowls by way of the superior unit on the field being their defense.
The Baltimore Ravens of 2000 is one obvious example of a team with a shaky offense that won it all. They beat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV after a midseason shift at quarterback added little offense, but more importantly eliminated offensive turnovers while their Ray Lewis led defense was a good bet to collect fumbles and interceptions.
In 1990, The New York Giants were no better than a dozen other teams in the league once their starting quarterback, Phil Simms, was injured in a December game and out of action for the rest of the year. Five field goals and an uncommon turnover by the 49ers allowed the Giants to escape with a 15-13 NFC Championship Game win. One week later, a missed Buffalo Bills field goal allowed the Giants to become a Super Bowl Champion, 20-19. Which prompts the answer to this quiz question: Who was the worst quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl? Answer; Jeff Hostetler.
The Ravens of two decades ago and the Giants three decades ago won their Super Bowls almost entirely based on their solid defenses. That keeps the Colts prospects high on the chart, but things can change in a blink for any team.
Injuries, scheduling quirks and, this season, Covid outbreaks can all serve to derail an otherwise solid candidate to win it all. Despite the early offensive injuries, put the Colts on my list of twelve possible Super Bowl winners. They join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams among the four already revealed.
The Qoxhi Picks Super Bowl selection will be posted on this site on Wednesday, September 8th.