The year was 1969 when the Baltimore Colts of the NFL lost Super Bowl III to the New York Jets of the AFL, 16-9. The Colts were heavily favored as the NFL was trying to put the rival league, the AFL, out of business.
This game stands out in professional football as one of the top two or three games of all time, because it changed the course of football history.
The New York Jets, under “Broadway” Joe Namath’s guarantee of a victory, found a way to not only beat the Colts but also to forge a merger between the two rival leagues.
It was a way of narrowing the gap between the haves and have-nots. In the end, it changed the course of business in the NFL for the better and for the stability of both leagues.
So moving forward in the time machine found a cosmic collision of space, time, history, and the enduring question of who are you? Sunday's Super Bowl was a game that was 43 years in the making for the New Orleans Saints against the Indianapolis Colts.
This was a Super Bowl filled with irony.
It was somewhat ironic that Colts QB Peyton Manning had his roots in New Orleans since his dad Archie used to lead the Saints at the QB position. Contrastingly, Saints QB Drew Brees played his college ball in Indiana at Purdue.
Perhaps you don’t put much into oddities, so take it for what it’s worth.
Maybe you’d rather have seen the Justin Timberlake generation on stage instead of some old rockers?
It was however highly ironic that the classic rock band The Who was performing at the half-time show of Super Bowl XLIV roughly 40 years after the release of their album Who’s Next , a collection that solidified the band in full back in 1971.
It was a release they used heavily in their halftime medley of their old songs.
From the halftime stage that looked just like an eyeball, it became apparent that this Super Bowl was like looking back in time at a game played over 40 years previous, also played in Miami, at the old Orange Bowl stadium.
Perhaps as Saints quarterback Drew Brees suggested at the end of the game “It’s all destiny!” or fate or whatever you want to call it. In that moment it was like a frozen relapse to the halftime show and 40-odd years ago.
This somehow brought some laser-sharp words to mind with the Colts still the victim through the ages of a very cruel ending.
So without further ado, America ~ put on your rocker headphones and ~
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
Don’t you get fooled again!
~ The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
The football world knew the New Orleans Saints had an offense; what many probably forgot was that they were still very fast on defense and that they would not quit.
To their credit, the Saints owner, players, and fans alike point to their head coach Sean Peyton for being the key to their success.
While Saints quarterback Drew Brees might not be the type to make a prediction or a guarantee on the outcome of the most important game, his team probably benefited from being the sentimental favorite.
Whether it was in the cosmos or in the air, the Saints received the backing not only of their fans, but also the larger part of an entire nation for the hardships their fair city has been through since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The constant battle of the day to day for the citizens of the port city made all of the football franchise's shortfalls barely a blip on the radar.
So it’s with this victory that the city of New Orleans finally receives validation as an NFL franchise following decades of frustration.
More importantly, however, the city has the platform and the focus of the nation once again to show how far it’s come, but also how much further it needs to go down the road to a full recovery.
Regardless, this moment in time will forever serve as the symbolic show of perseverance and strength in the determination of a community to land back on its feet. It’s a pure sign of American will played out on a football field.
Sure the game was amazing, a shocker, and upset, filled with a couple of debates relating to an onside kick and a failed conversion overturned. But that is not where the Colts wound up losing this game.
The Colts were out-executed at the most critical times of the football game. It’s something they certainly aren’t used to.
The Colts franchise suffered another major defeat at the end of a decade that saw them become the winningest franchise in the NFL for that time period. Still they imploded and exploded like the halftime show.
Conversely, Manning and his highly efficient Colts offense can only boast of one title to speak of after one decade together.
It’s still a phenomenal accomplishment just to win one Super Bowl, but to lose as a favorite in the biggest game has its own sense of unexplainable humility and pain.
The hardest part for teams that wind up in this situation is they never know how close they might get to the Super Bowl again until all is said and done. That is probably the harsh glaze coating Peyton Mannings expressions following the game.
Privately it had to leave him screaming out Baba O’Riley! His teams have come so far and accomplished so much only to fall short of becoming a dynasty like the New England Patriots.
The Colts have been so close and yet so far from becoming the ultimate real deal of the decade. Its left football fans everywhere asking the question of the Colts franchise: “Who are you?”
It was a similar paradox leading up to Super Bowl XLIV as the nation wrestled with the idea of the old 'Ain’ts reaching the pinnacle.
For not just years but generations, the Saints franchise struggled to put its head above water, so now they had to fall under serious consideration as being the real deal this year for the NFC.
It was a hauntingly similar story-line to Super Bowl III.
Just as the Jets and Saints had doubters the Colts still played the fool. In 1969 the Colts represented the NFL, in 2009-10 they represented the AFC and somehow none of that mattered at the end of each contest.
Whether in Baltimore or Indianapolis the result is the same. As a nation moving forward, now we know, we won’t get fooled again!
The Who Dat Nation is for real and the Colts are reeling from an overblown sense of themselves and a lack of execution.
The Colts took an early 10-0 lead and seemed to take any chance the Saints would have of winning away near the goal line on a fourth-and-goal stop. Somehow the Saints found a way to go into half down only 10-6.
Without a doubt, the second-half decision to kick on-sides will be questioned, scrutinized, and questioned with regards to who recovered the ball. One thing stands clear, that play put the Colts on their heels for the rest of the game.
The big question for the second half had to do with the Saints defense being able to make adjustments and keep up with Peyton Manning.
By the end of the third quarter everyone knew the Colts were in trouble only up by a single point and having given up ten points in the third quarter while scoring seven.
In the fourth quarter, the Saints put the game on ice with two touchdowns and a two point conversion that was spectacular and overturned in order to register. The call wound up making the Saints lead seven instead of the five it appeared destined to be.
The Saints put together an excellent drive that went 59 yards on nine plays. The final was a two yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey followed by the two point conversion.
Suddenly the Saints began to take control, but would they hang on? By the 3:12 mark of the fourth quarter the nation had the answer as Tracey Porter jumped a Reggie Wayne route and coasted 74 yards on an interception return for a late Saints 14-point lead.
The upset was complete and before the Colts knew what hit them it was game over. So the Colts along with the rest of the country have been served notice by The Who Dat Nation.
Meet the new boss (The New Orleans Saints circa 2010)
Same as the old boss (The New York Jets circa 1969)
We won’t get fooled again! (About the Colts dynasty circa the last decade)
No no no!
Don’t you get fooled again!
So Congrats to The Who Dats!
Pass the gumbo, the Lombardi, and don’t get fooled again!