Dumb Call Helps Saints' Payton Beat Colts' Peyton in the Super Bowl

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIFebruary 10, 2010

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 08:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during Super Bowl Champion Coach Press Conference at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center on February 8, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Now that I've had a chance to peruse all of the post Super Bowl articles, I'm shocked to see how many scribes have gone out of their way to shower Saints coach Sean Payton with the genius label.

You could say it took guts to call for an onside kick to start the second half with his team trailing 10-6. I call it just plain dumb.

Fortunately for Payton, he had dumb-luck and his team recovered the kick after Hank Baskett couldn't hold on to the ball

He was willing to give Peyton Manning the ball on the Saints forty-yard line. That would have been suicide, because the momentum of recovering the kick would have likely meant a touchdown for Indy and an eleven point lead.

It would have been like a punch in the gut to the Saints, and the game could have  turned into a rout because of that decision.

Would the Saints have been disheartened after that 'gutsy call' backfired?

Would they have been looking at their coach cross-eyed, wondering what the hell he was doing?

If you answered yes to all of the above, you're on the right track.

A successful outcome does not take away the stupidity of calling that play.

According to Wikipedia, between 2003 and 2006, an onside kick in the NFL was successful about 20% of the time. (41 times out of 206 attempted)

Was he also showing a lack of confidence in his defense that they could hold the Colts if he kicked the ball off to them?

He made the right call later in the game going for the two point conversion to put his team up by seven, but that was no genius move either.

NFL teams have a cue card that tells them when they should go for the two-pointer, and this one was in the cards.

How different would the legacy of Sean Payton be if the onside kick backfired?

Would those same sportswriters be calling him a genius, or would they say that was the dumbest call that they have ever seen?

Everyone likes a risk-taker. It was an exciting and unexpected move.

But was it a smart move?

Is there anybody out there that can tell me why it was?

I would love to hear from you.

Because if the move did fail, instead of Sean Payton clutching the Lombardi trophy like his life depended on it, he might have been heading out of town as fast as he could because his life really did depend on it.