What makes an athlete memorable?
Could it be his knack for being a leader, and rising to the occasion at the most opportune time?
Or what about the impact he has not only on his team but also in his community?
There are several qualities I could list here, but this one is my main point:
On any given Sunday. an unknown commodity off the bench can make an impact so great that he will be fondly remembered for his contributions by his team and their fans for years to come.
Sunday's surprising Super Bowl victory by the New Orleans Saints will be remembered through the annals of time not because of the exploits of Drew Brees but for the exploits of two under the radar players, Chris Reis and Tracy Porter.
I don't mean to say that Brees wasn't the superstar of the game, for his 32 completions tied him with Tom Brady for the most ever by a quarterback in the big game.
Thus, he was well deserving of the MVP award.
But when you measure the impact of what Reis and Porter did as it related to the game, Brees's performance pales in comparison.
Reis's recovery of an onside kick to open the second half was arguably the biggest play of the game, for it allowed the Saints to keep Peyton Manning off the field even longer than he expected and served notice that the Saints were no slouches.
And then there's Porter, who's quickly becoming the Mr. Clutch of the Saints.
His fourth quarter pick for six iced the game, and began a full scale party on Bourbon Street.
The good people of New Orleans have finally been rewarded for their never ending loyalty to their franchise.
At least for the next year, when someone asks a rabid Saints fan "who dat" they can confidently reply "They da champs!"
Idle thoughts on the big game:
- I think the thing that really killed the Colts besides the Porter interception was the failed third down conversion at the end of the first half. It gave the Saints momentum and allowed them to get a late field goal to cut into the Colts already slim lead.
- I don't know what was more surprising, the onside kick to start the second half or the fact that Leno and Letterman reunited for a commercial.
- I know some people are still not that fond of him, but I say good for Jeremy Shockey for making a contribution to the Saints victory and for being able to mellow his personality to fit the good guy image of his team.
- Kudos to Dwight Freeney as well for guting it out and even recording a sack in the second quarter.
- Joseph Addai should have been utilized more on the Colts last two drives. He was the offensive star of the night for the Colts.
- I'm always fascinated by the rituals some players have to prepare for games. For instance, Colts wideout Austin Collie told The Sporting News that he always eats a bowl of Lucky Charms the night before the game. That sure beats praying in my book.
- Speaking of Lucky Charms, I bet the entire Colts team could have used them in the second half.
- I don't expect the Colts to stand pat and take their chances with the roster they already have in place. Knowing Bill Polian, I'm sure he's already looking forward to the scouting combine so he can find another youngster willing to make an impact.
- What I love about Sean Payton is that he's a risk taker. The onside kick was a gamble, and so was taking a pay cut so he could bring Gregg Williams aboard as his defensive coordinator. They both paid off big time.
- The effort of Saints RB Pierre Thomas should not be overlooked either. His touchdown reception on a screen pass came at a critical in the game. I was also seriously considering voting for him for game MVP honors at one point.
- There's always a first time for everything in a Super Bowl, this year Garrett Hartley became the first kicker to kick three field goals of over 40 yards in the same game. I wouldn't have been surprised if he got some MVP consideration as well.
- I didn't think that Lance Moore broke the pylon when he scored his two point conversation in the fourth quarter. However, the ensuing interception by Porter made that play a moot point.
- When all is said and done, Peyton Manning will probably be the greatest quarterback ever to play the game from a statistical standpoint. However, his inability to get it done Sunday combined with the fact that Joe Montana went four-for-four in all his Super Bowl appearances, hurt his chances to be the greatest of all time.
- I'm a huge fan of the Who, but I have to say after watching them at halftime, their best days are far behind them. That was awful!
- I'm willing to bet that for next year's halftime show, the NFL Will continue its downward spiral of getting musicians that are past their primes by booking either the Beach Boys or Hall and Oates.
- As far the commercials go, i was unimpressed. However, I do think that Betty White + Abe Vigoda = comic gold.
- I was touched by the moment before the trophy presentation when the cameras showed Drew Brees holding his infant son. Sharing your triumph in anything in life with the ones you love is another reminder that football is just a game.
And so, another year of this football column has commenced. Thanks for your continued support, your edits, and your comments I appreciate them.
I'll be back with some general columns in the spring.
However, because of my growing job prospects, and the demands this column places on me, I cannot guarantee that this column will return in September but I'll keep you posted.
Thanks again for your continued interest in my writing, and I'll talk to you soon (:.