Super Bowl XLIV: Where Does Tracy Porter's INT Rank Among All-Time Great Moments?
When Tracy Porter stepped in front of Reggie Wayne and took Peyton Manning's pass back 74 yards for a touchdown near the end of Super Bowl XLIV, he did two things.
Firstly, he salted away the first Super Bowl victory in New Orleans Saints history--and set off a huge party on Bourbon Street.
But most importantly, he cemented his name among a select group of others that have come up clutch in the clutch and became part of a pantheon of late-game elite.
But where does Porter's pick rank among the recent fourth-quarter magic the Super Bowl has seen?
Let's take a look.
2008: The Catch, Part One
One year before Holmes there was an even unlikelier hero: David Tyree.
With 1:15 remaining, the Giants faced a 3rd-and-5. Eli Manning escaped the grasp of Jarvis Green and fired high over the middle...and Tyree did the rest.
Leaping high above Rodney Harrison, Tyree came down with the ball--by pinning it against his helmet and somehow maintaining possession all the way down.
The great catch gave the Giants a first down, and four plays later Plaxico Burress caught a high fade in the end zone to give the Giants a lead they wouldn't relinquish and a loss the previously 18-0 Patriots would never forget.
2009: The Catch, Part Two
Over on the bottom of that pile is Santonio Holmes.
With less than a minute remaining in Super Bowl XLIII and the Steelers down three, Ben Roethlisberger faced a second and goal.
Launching the ball to the back right corner of the end zone, Roethlisberger hoped and prayed...and watched Santonio Holmes make a great leaping catch.
Holmes jumped over two Cardinal defenders, caught the ball, tapped his toes and dropped to the ground--completing the biggest catch for the franchise since the Immaculate Reception.
And with that, Holmes and the Steelers denied Kurt Warner of his second Super Bowl ring and entered the lore of late-game heroics.
2010: The Pick
With just over three minutes left and the Colts trailing by seven, Peyton Manning embarked on a drive that could have cemented his legacy.
Instead, it cemented Tracy Porter's.
The Saints secondary had shut down Reggie Wayne all day, but Manning kept trying. Finally, he threw a slant to Wayne...but Porter jumped the route, picked off the pass and rumbled 74 yards for a touchdown.
Saints 31, Colts 17 on a pick that locked in the first Super Bowl victory in New Orleans' franchise history.
So Who's No. 1?
While Holmes' catch won the game and Tyree's gave the Giants a chance, the clear winner is Porter.
Even though it gave the Saints a two-touchdown advantage (and really only salted away a lead they already had), the moment was much bigger.
While either Holmes or Tyree failing would have just given their teams another chance, Porter missing that pick could have set Wayne free for a game-tying touchdown--and a much bigger potential letdown if the Colts came back to win.
Peyton Manning had proven he was a master of fourth-quarter drives. He had the highest fourth-quarter rating in the NFL in 2009, and the Colts offense was known to strike as quickly as lightning.
Unfortunately for Manning, lightning didn't strike twice for him in Miami, the site of his previous Super Bowl triumph.
Instead, he made a much-maligned defensive back into a household name.