Monday, February 8, 2010

More Super Saints- Who Woulda Thunk It?

The World Champion New Orleans Saints.

Who woulda thunk it? I suppose after the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino and the White Sox finally did their time in purgatory for the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, then all things shalt be possible.

Especially for Saints.

This game will dissected and analyzed for the next day or so by sports talk media, print writers, and bloggers. But at seems clear that there were three key moments that won the game for the Saints.

(1). The 3 and out by the Colts with with 1:49 left in the 1st half. The Colts stopped the Saints on the previous series at the Indianapolis one yard line and the score 10-3 Indy. What looked like a bad to decision to go for it on 4th down by Saints coach Sean Payton to tie the game worked out in the long term. The Saints didn't tie the game but turned the ball over to the Colts, who had to be conservative to get out of the shadow of the goal line. At that point the Colts had only three plays in the entire quarter, holding the ball for only 1:20. The Saints defense buckled down bigtime, and held the Colts to only nine yards on the drive from the Colt one yard line, taking 1:03 off of the clock. Had the Colts gotten a first down, maybe Peyton Manning opens up the offense a bit with 35 seconds left, perhaps getting into field goal range, or hitting one of his receivers for a TD. Instead, the Colts punt, the Saints take over at their own 48, they run five plays in 35 seconds to get into field goal range, and score on Garrett Hartley's 44 yard kick as time expired. Halftime Colts 10, Saints 6....but the Saints seized the game's momentum from Indianapolis.

(2). THE Onside Kick And it will forever be known in Saint's lore as "THE Onside Kick", if not in the annals of NFL history. This might have been the gutsiest play in the history of The Super Bowl, and it was quite a call by Coach Payton. The onside kick was executed to perfection by punter/kickoff kicker Thomas Morstead, who spent an agonizing extended halftime thinking about the plan when told of it by Payton. At halftime The Who sang "We Won't Get Fooled Again" as part of their medley....but this gem of a special teams play fooled not only the Colts, who were expecting the Saints to kickoff deep, but just about anybody in known universe who was watching the game.

Again....who woulda thunk it?

So the Saints recovered the ball on the their own 42 yard line to start the second half, and then go 58 yards in 6 plays for a Drew Brees to Pierre Thomas touchdown. New Orleans took a 13-10 lead. On the following possession by the Colts answered with a 76 yard 10 play drive that resulted in a Joseph Addai touchdown run....but you got the sense that the Colts knew they were in a dogfight and had met their match, even though at that point they regained the lead, 17-13. The Saints would get another field goal to close to 17-16 in the third quarter, and then took the lead for good at the 5:42 mark of the 4th quarter on a 2 yard pass to Jeremy Shockey, and then a Saints two point conversion was ruled good on review after initially being incomplete. It was then 24-17 New Orleans, with the final bit of drama to be played out.

(3). The Pick Six. How many times in his Hall of Fame career has the Colts' Peyton Manning won a game in the fourth quarter? The Saints are leading 24-17 with 5:42 left in the game. After a five yard false start penalty, Manning hit Pierre Garcon for a 17 yard game and a first down. Then on second and ten Manning hits Garcon for a 10 yard gain to the New Orleans 48. Then its Manning to Reggie Wayne for 12 yards to the Saints 36, another first down. Next play, Manning to Wayne for five yards, at the Saints 31 with the clock ticking under four minutes. A Manning to Austin Collie pass is incomplete. Its 3rd down, the ball on the New Orleans 31 yard line, with the Colts needing five yards for a first down, and only 31 yards to tie the game at 24 with a touchdown and a PAT.

And then came the dagger.....Manning tries to hit Reggie Wayne, who had been hobbled all week with a knee problem. The Saints' Tracy Porter stepped in front of Wayne and picked Manning's pass and took it 74 yards for a touchdown, Saints. It was then Saints 31-17 with 3:12 left in the game.

Manning's interception was the only turnover of the game for either team....and it sealed the win for New Orleans.

Who woulda thunk it?

Almost immediately after the game some of the sports pundits started chiming in about this being a Colts loss and a failure by Peyton Manning rather than a great team victory by the Saints, who won all three phases of the game.....Skip Bayless, of ESPN, what the hell are you smoking? There are others of course, but those pointing a finger at the Colts are in the minority.

This was a complete win for New Orleans, who deserved it. This win was theirs, and their city's, and their region's. The irony of the New Orleans Saints having to beat the scion of the First Family of New Orleans sports to achieve their first ever Super Bowl win is amazing- perhaps its something that author Squire Rushnell would call a "God wink"; something that seems like coincidence, but has almost a divine stamp on it.

Who woulda thunk it?

Final thoughts- The commercials- the E-TRADE commercial with the babies was hysterical, with the "ladies man" being questioned about "that milk-aholic". The BUD LIGHT ad with the house made of beer cans was amusing, as was the BUDWEISER spot with the horse and the calf, and the Betty White/Abe Vigoda ad was funny as well- even though I can't remember what they were selling. Also, that controversial "Focus On Family" ad with Tim Tebow and his mother was much ado about nothing- it was so quick it doesn't really register with the casual viewer.

But the funniest ad, even though it was really a CBS promo, was the one with Letterman, Oprah, and was SURREAL! The best.

And the halftime I said before, I love the Who. But they really are part of "MY Generation"- though they are a bit older than me. The show was well done, with great lighting and effects, and was performed perfectly, but predictably. Nothing new. I guess I was waiting for Pete to dislocate his arm doing a windmill on guitar, or seeing if Roger could hit the high notes (he was straining). Here's a clue- when your lead singer plays Ebeneezer Scrooge in a stage version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (as Roger Daltry did a few years ago), your not just getting old-er....your getting old- as I am as well.

I agree with the younger people out there.....its time for the halftime shows at the Super Bowl to get younger.

Dat's it....Congrats, "Who Dat Nation"!!!!

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