Tracy Porter: The Other Player Involved in the Infamous Pick Six

David ArreolaSenior Analyst IFebruary 8, 2010

Not even a full day after the Super Bowl and it appears Peyton Manning's legacy has been tarnished. Rightfully? Of course not.

But, the glaring ignorance of the fair-weather fan may have sent Manning the way of Brett Favre in the public eye.

"Manning blew it."

"He's human."

"Peyton proves he is a choker."

These are just a few, light versions of some of the things people have said about Peyton Manning.

The pick six in the final meaningful drive of last night's Super Bowl was one of the most shocking and jaw-dropping plays in recent memory and will rightfully define Super Bowl XLIV.

However, the more articles and comments I read about this play, the more I ask the question "did anybody actually watch the play?" It seems that the only person involved was the man who threw the ball, not the one who caught it.

Well, the man who won the Super Bowl for the Saints is Tracy Porter, and he deserves every bit of credit on this play. It was a phenomenal break on the ball that is being shamefully overlooked.

There was nothing wrong with what Manning did. It was a designed short pass with perhaps one other, if any, receivers for him to give the ball to. 

The very fact that Manning decided to throw the hitch route should clean him of all labels that he "choked" on this play.

It wasn't like he threw into double coverage or went for the end zone on 1st-and-10. It was a six-yard hitch route that the Colts had run successfully ALL GAME. So what was the difference? Tracy Porter.

Porter recognized what Manning's intentions were the millisecond the receiver turned around. Manning's one mistake on that play was staring down his receiver, Reggie Wayne.

From Porter's point of view, this was the easiest play to make. The receiver had stopped, Manning was staring him down and he was starting to wind up.

Porter never broke stride when he intercepted the ball. It was all one, elegant, athletic motion that won his team the Super Bowl.

It was not in any way, shape, or form, a bad throw or bad decision by Manning. It was an outstanding defensive play that has vaulted Porter into the highest of places in Saints history.

Being a lifelong Packers/Brett Favre fan, I have seen all types of interceptions: the ones where the receivers serve it on a silver plate, the phantom linebackers, you name it.

There are many factors that go into making an interception. Sometimes it is simply a bad throw or bad decision, sometimes the receiver lets his quarterback down, and sometimes the defensive player just makes an outstanding play on the ball.

This was one of those plays. Just because the man who threw the ball was Peyton Manning doesn't give us an excuse to forget the player who made the real play.

In a decade that has been dominated by quarterbacks and seen the passing game fly to unprecedented levels, it is no surprise to me that people have forgotten the defense.

Well, to a true fan of football, this is more about Porter than it was about Peyton.