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Willy, Richard enjoy what it’s like to win

MIAMI — Rookie Drew Willy went 15-29 as quarterback for the University at Buffalo. Second-year pro Jamey Richard never enjoyed a winning season during his time with the Bulls.

Look at them now.

They’re one win away from becoming Super Bowl champions.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Willy said.

No, neither exactly is a star for the Indianapolis Colts. Including postseason, Richard has appeared in 11 games on special teams for the AFC champions, while Willy spent time as Indy’s scout-team quarterback — not bad work for anyone since, well, the Colts are pretty solid under center already with four-time MVP Peyton Manning.

They don’t mind. Small roles could still lead to a big championship ring if the Colts beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night.

“It’s been incredible,” Richard said. “From draft day two years ago when they called me, I couldn’t have been more excited to be part of an organization. When you get called by a team that is a proven winner year in and year out, to go from a program where you’ve struggled for years into that situation, it’s excitement.”

For Richard and Willy, it’s been a whirlwind transformation, going from a Mid-American Conference program in Buffalo that’s trying to build into something — to, arguably, the elite program in the NFL right now.

And for Willy, working with Manning is another huge plus.

“Learning from the best in the game, it’s pretty great every day,” Willy said. “This whole opportunity to take all this in, look, some guys won’t ever get to go to a Super Bowl after having storied careers and stuff. Being a rookie and being able to be around these great, veteran leaders, it’s great to be a part of. I’ve been truly blessed to be a part of this team.”


WHAT’S MY BID? Way before the NFL became so pass happy, there was Slingin’ Sammy Baugh. A true triple-threat — star quarterback, ace kicker, top defensive back — he led the Washington Redskins to the league title as a rookie in the 1937.

The late star is being remembered at this Super Bowl with a tattered jersey he wore during the 1940s, one of the many items on sale at an NFL-sponsored auction this weekend. The league has partnered with Hunt Auctions, with game-worn jerseys of Joe Namath and Brett Favre among the featured lots up for bid.

Leather helmets from the 1930s, autographed championship balls and other memorabilia stretching over several decades are available, and come in all price ranges. Bids are being accepted online, by telephone and in person, and the auction closes Sunday before the Super Bowl. A portion of all sales goes to NFL charities.

The presale estimates on the Namath and Baugh jerseys ranged up to $30,000.


PHIL’S PICK: Phil Mickelson will pick his Super Bowl winner in the most diplomatic fashion, by doing what he does best.

During the Super Bowl Today Pre-Game Show on CBS, Mickelson will appear in a spot for Callaway by driving two golf balls with the new Diablo Edge driver. One will represent the Saints, the other the Colts.

Longer drive, that’ll be Phil’s pick.

Callaway will also spend part of Super Bowl Sunday showcasing a new 90-second commercial.