The New Orleans Saints are Super Bowl Champions.
The Saints were the underdogs from early on and the line just kept growing and growing. I always felt like they were the better team, but my knowledge and insight into the game of football is so powerful and prescient that I would almost liken it to a kind of sixth or seventh sense. It’s easy for me to see how those without my kind of powers would think that the Colts were the better team but I’ve grown impatient with their lack of vision and don’t even really pity them anymore.
There are three unbelievable highlights from this game and they are in reverse order:
3. The third quarter screen play to Pierre Thomas was nearly identical in every way to the touchdown he ran in for the Vikings just two weeks earlier. The Saints work together so well in executing the screen-pass. The right side of their offensive line really excels at selling their fakes and getting outside to set up blocks for the receiver. Drew Brees invites the blitz and times his throw perfectly. Pierre Thomas has really been a force for these Saints and he finds the ugliest ways to get extra yards. Hey, you can’t argue with those kind of results. You might hit him, jolt him and wrap him up but until you bring him to the ground he’s going to keep his legs moving. The toughness is unbelievable.
2. Tracy Porter jumps a Reggie Wayne route for a pick six. There’s a really incredible moment in every interception where offensive players go from the hunters to the hunted and they have a terrifying and paralyzing moment of recognition before a defensive end forcibly puts them on the ground. This has to be a great feeling for defensive backs who, by and large, are the most victimized class of football players because it’s their. (It’s also one of the reasons I think the “defenseless receiver” penalty is such horseshit. No one cried for Keith Rivers when Hines Ward broke his jaw.) There’s also something genius about the okey-doke directing traffic on the run back. Final nail in the Colts coffin.
1. It’s hard to ignore Lance Moore’s acrobat display of possession on the 2-point conversion. But Sean Payton’s onside kick call was probably the gutsiest coaching decision I’ve ever seen and it simply must be acknowledged as the turning point in this game. From the half onward the Saint simply dominated the Colts by keeping Manning off the field and they seemed to be burning on the emotional fuel that the onside kick, scrum and decision gave them. Thinking about what’s at stake there: the possibility of giving this high-powered Indianapolis offense the ball in Saints territory, down by four points. Payton ran the risk of demoralizing his special teams and defensive units. There was a genuine exhibition of courage and trust and because the Saints have always bought into Sean Payton’s leadership, it paid off.
Congratulations, New Orleans. One of the best games I’ve ever witnessed. This team showed heart.