The Last Word: All NFL Blacks

That was some Super Bowl.

Unlike most New Zealand NFL fans, it seems, I do not have a particular fondness for the Baltimore Ravens, so the result was nothing to get too excited about.

But the furious San Francisco 49ers comeback, Beyonce's performance and the bizarre power outage combined for another fine spectacle on the greatest single day in sport.

Which leads me to the obvious question: Where would the All Blacks line up if they were to dabble in the NFL?

Quarterback: Richie McCaw. The prevailing wisdom is that quarterback = first five. Glamour position, field general etc. But I like Richie in this spot. He's tough, he's got great vision and he's a leader.

Running backs: Julian Savea and Ma'a Nonu. It's all about carrying the ball and breaking the line.

Wide receivers: Hosea Gear and Israel Dagg. The speedy men out wide who can break into space and, er, catch a forward pass.

Tight end: Kieran Read. Can handle the physical battle up front but also has real ball-handling ability.

Linebackers: Keven Mealamu and Liam Messam. Dynamic athletes, light on their feet, sniffing for opportunities.

Safety/cornerback: Conrad Smith and Ben Smith. Willowy athletes able to cover ground quickly and keep their eyes on the ball.

Offensive/defensive linemen: Tony Woodcock, Owen Franks and Ben Franks. Stick your head down and push.

Kicker: Dan Carter. Why not take a sabbatical to do the best job in world sport for a season?


Best Colins

The other major question left lingering after the Super Bowl had nothing to do with power cuts or how people can possibly like Ray Lewis.

It is, obviously: Who have been the best sportsmen called Colin? My hastily compiled list follows.

Colin Meads. An easy choice for No 1.

Colin Bland. The South African revolutionised the art of fielding in cricket.

Colin Slade. Cross your fingers and cross your toes. Here's hoping our Colin will lead the Highlanders to glory.

Colin Cowdrey. Michael Colin Cowdrey, Baron Cowdrey of Tonbridge, was the first cricketer to play 100 tests.

Colin McRae. The late Scottish driver dominated the world rally circuit and lent his name to a fine video game series.

Colin Montgomerie. The Scottish golfer was known for being a bit miserable and not winning a major. Excellent Ryder Cup captain, though.

Colin Kaepernick: Didn't win the Super Bowl but the young quarterback is going to be a star for a long time.


Allen key to Seattle

Did you get a glimpse of superyacht Octopus as it sailed past Dunedin on Tuesday? Nice, huh?The yacht is owned by billionaire Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, who also has strong sporting links.

Allen owns the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA), and part-owns the Seattle Sounders (Major League Soccer).

Wikipedia informs me Allen was named the Seattle Sports Commission's sports citizen of the year in 2011. The award was promptly renamed the Paul Allen Award.

Sailing awayYachting is a magnificent sport, and New Zealand has a magnificent history in that sport.

The Last Word will keep tabs on Team New Zealand as it prepares for the Louis Vuitton Cup later this year, and may even get mildly excited if the black boat looks like doing well.

But you just wonder. You wonder if the time to be involved in the America's Cup has passed. You wonder how a Government can possibly justify putting $36 million into a yacht race, when that money would be better used to erase child poverty, or do something about our shameful abuse statistics.


Not at all broken

What a contrast in recent weeks between two New Zealand teams playing in Australian competitions.

The Phoenix has staggered and stumbled its way through a series of limp performances and part-owner Gareth Morgan's outbreak of foot-in-mouth disease.

Meanwhile, the Breakers have rattled off 10 straight wins and are sailing beautifully towards a threepeat.

It seems to me as if the Breakers have entered a sort of All Black zone. It's not IF they win but by how much. They're a remarkable success story and should be getting more attention than Morgan, Zac Guildford and Sonny Bill Williams combined.


Horses for courses

Our story earlier this week on Dunedin rider Anya Durling winning a national dressage title should have included some other extremely important information.

Durling was part of an exceptional Otago team that won the Helen Holden Memorial Trophy, which has been competed for annually since the early 1970s, for the first time.

Durling and Rosari Guest Star (level 5 national champion) were joined by Hielke de Graaf and All White (level 5 reserve champion), Gillian Edgar and Cordacious (level 4 reserve champion), and Wendy Butler and Millstream Magic (level 7 reserve champion).

All are kept busy by non-equestrian employment, and Butler and de Graaf also have to fit riding in around motherhood. Jolly well done.


Surf stars

Kudos to the kids from the Brighton club who excelled to finish second overall at the southern region junior life-saving championships at Warrington last weekend.

Proud stalwart Scott Weatherall reports it is the best the club has done at the event. Brighton won 45 medals (team and individual), comprising 25 gold, 14 silver and six bronze, finishing second overall, behind Sumner but in front of local powerhouse St Clair.

Leading performers in the 12-strong team included Ali Adams (eight medals), Gabrielle Trotter (seven), Rowan Whyte and Cameron Porteous (both six). Brighton also won the six-person relay to end the competition.


Birthday of the week

Football guru Rinus Michels would have been 85 today.

''The General'' played for and coached both Ajax and the Netherlands, and is widely credited with inventing ''total football'' in the 1970s. Somebody call Gareth Morgan!

-hayden.meikle@odt.co.nz