In the build up for Sunday’s AFC Championship game between New England and Indianpolis, the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley notes that Mr. Cut That Meat has kept a low profile this week “and for good reason : Exactly how many times must Peyton Manning be reminded that his career is not complete until he beats Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots in a playoff game?

Apparently, at least once more.

Let™s be very clear on this: While it is a given that Manning one day will take his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his record never will be complete until he pushes Brady & Co. into the shadows and wins a Super Bowl. Don™t believe me? Just ask Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who is known as much for never having played in a World Series as for the 512 home runs he socked.

œIn every game of this magnitude, there™s always a story line, there™s always some theme, whether it™s Manning vs. Brady, Belichick vs. Tony, there are so many story lines. But the only story line that really matters is the cake that we bake, said Booger McFarland, a 300-pound tackle who chose dessert references to make his point.

œYou (media) guys can come up with all the different icing that you want and put on all the different cherries that you want to and spin it and flavor it however you want to, but the bottom line is going to be whatever team plays the best.

That™s true, but only to a point. For if the Colts emerge victorious Sunday, the dominant theme will be that Manning finally got the monkey off his back.

If the Patriots win? It™ll be another Super Bowl for Tom Brady, and another saga about how Manning failed to deliver the goods when it counted.

Manning could throw three touchdown passes into Marvin Harrison™s mitts Sunday. He could tumble over the line on a keeper for another score. He could pass for 400 yards.

But if the Colts lose, it™s just more icing on that cake Booger McFarland is talking about.

Of Michael Vick’s recent airport harrassment, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Scultz advises Falcons owner Arthur Blank, “your quarterback is no more ready to lead a football team to a Super Bowl than Jeff Spicoli was to lead the Ridgemont High debate team.”

So much for Jeff Weaver’s chances of signing with the Braves, then.