Congratulations goes out to the New Orleans Saints today who, as I’m sure you are well aware, won Super Bowl XLIV last night at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. Props go out to the Indianapolis Colts for playing a strong game and for taking an early lead (making it look like they were going to blow out the Saints) but, in the end, the New Orleans Saints pulled off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history and ended up winning their FIRST Super Bowl Championship ever by a final score of 31 – 17:
The New Orleans Saints almost left when their city flooded and their stadium had been turned into a shelter, a disaster seeming to provide the perfect escape route for a team in search of a better stadium and a bigger market. Displaced and disheartened, the Saints haltingly returned to a repaired Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. And a team so awful that its fans used to wear bags on their heads came to symbolize and be embraced by a battered but rebuilding community. On Sunday, with a quarterback who had hitched his career to resurrecting the Saints and with a team that played nearly flawlessly, the Saints gave New Orleans a reason to do what it does better than any other American city: celebrate. In the franchise’s first Super Bowl, the Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17, sending New Orleanians into the streets for a party. “Who Dat?” Saints fans ask about which opponent might beat their team. Now they have their answer: nobody. The Saints are the N.F.L.’s champions, after 42 seasons of futility. Confetti fell on the Saints here, but back in New Orleans, where Mardi Gras begins in less than two weeks, Bourbon Street erupted in joy, four and a half years after the city was nearly engulfed by despair when the levees broke. “Louisiana, by way of New Orleans, is back,” said the Saints’ owner, Tom Benson, clutching the Lombardi Trophy. “And it shows the whole world.” The play that sealed the victory, a comeback from a 10-0 deficit, came with a little more than three minutes to play at the expense of a New Orleans native. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, a son of the beloved former Saints quarterback Archie Manning, was intercepted by Saints cornerback Tracy Porter — a Louisiana native, too — when the Saints blitzed. Porter jumped in front of the intended receiver and returned the interception 74 yards for a touchdown that gave the Saints their winning margin. “Four years ago, whoever thought this would be happening?” quarterback Drew Brees said. “Eighty-five percent of the city was under water. All of the residents evacuated across the county. Most people not knowing if New Orleans could ever come back or if the organization or team would ever come back” … Brees was the M.V.P. of the game, but Saints Coach Sean Payton made the most valuable — and the gutsiest — decision. With the Saints trailing by 4 points and kicking off to the Colts to open the second half, Payton called for an onside kick. The Saints call the play “ambush,” and that was what it was. Colts players admitted after the game that they did not see it coming. Thomas Morstead, the kicker on the play, said: “I wasn’t worried. I was terrified” … At long last, the Saints have arrived, and they brought New Orleans back with them.
What a game, eh? As I said yesterday before the game got underway, I was not rooting for any particular team because I didn’t have a vested interest in either side winning but you gotta admit, it’s pretty sweet to see the people of New Orleans cheering in the streets just 4 years after their city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The Saints‘ win was well-deserved, they played hard … make smart moves … and, in the end, proved they were the best team of the year. After the jump, check out some of the celebs who were in the hiz at Super Bowl XLIV last night … More »