The New Orleans Saints were the underdogs going into Super Bowl 44 in Miami, Florida.
But after the clock hit double zero, the Saints were champions. Led by Drew Brees, who outplayed the regular season MVP, Peyton Manning, the Saints secured their first Super Bowl win in their 43-year history.
Brees ended up as the game’s MVP by breaking a Super Bowl record for completions with 32. He went 32/39 passing completions for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns.
“We played for so much more than ourselves — we played for our city,” said Brees to USA Today.” We played for the entire Gulf Coast region. We played for the entire ‘Who Dat Nation.’ ”
The Saints overcame an early first quarter deficit of ten points to seal the deal late with a Tracy Porter 74-yard pick six with a little more than three minutes left in the game.
Porter told ESPN: “I saw it (the opportunity) over and over on film the past two weeks. On third down, the route they ran there was always big for them to convert third downs on. Through numerous amounts of film study we’ve done all week, when the route came, it felt like I was watching it on film. When I saw the ball coming, I knew I was going to be in the end zone.”
A Matt Stover field goal and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Pierre Garcon put the Colts up early.
That was until the second quarter when Garret Hartley hit a 46-yard field goal and a 44 yard-field goal to end the first half.
The second half started with some trickery from Sean Payton, head coach of the Saints. The kickoff was an onside kick recovered by the Saints. This kick may have been the turning point in this amazing game.
“I wasn’t worried,” said Thomas Morstead. “I was terrified.”
Morstead reflected on the onside kick after the game. He never thought they were going to use it but practiced it a lot in the past week.
After only six plays the Saints had their first lead of the game off of a 16-yard pass to Pierre Thomas.
But Peyton being Peyton, led the Colts down field with Joseph Addai who capped off the drive with a four-yard run to put the Colts back on top.
Garret Hartley made a 47-yard field goal to bring the Saints within one point and the kick made him the only kicker in Super Bowl history to make three field goals from beyond 40 yards.
Indianapolis moved down the field converting on a fourth and two. But Jonathon Vilma made two terrific plays to make the Colts attempt a 51-yard field goal, which Stover hooked to the left of the goal post.
With great field position, the cool Brees led a masterful drive down field that ended with Jeremy Shockey grabbing a two- yard touchdown pass from Brees.
New Orleans then went for two and after a Sean Payton challenge and the ruling on the field overturned, Lance Moore just extended the ball to break the plane of the end zone resulting in a Saint’s seven-point lead.
With Manning on the reigns, the Colts drove down field but were halted by the play of the game.
Tracy Porter jumped a pass intended for Reggie Wayne. Porter pointed out the block then took it back 74 yards for the game clinching score.
The colts still showing some life went for it on fourth down but a catchable throw from Manning sailed off the hands of Reggie Wayne.
With a couple of kneel downs by the MVP to be, Brees, started the celebrations. Even 700 miles away from Sun Life stadium, Bourbon Street had a Mardi Gras atmosphere. Although Mardi Gras doesn’t start for eight days, the party started early this year as a rehearsal, perhaps, for the most festive Mardi Gras ever for New Orleans.
The Saints will hold their Super Bowl parade at 6pm ET Tuesday in front of the Superdome.
Super Bowl 44 was the most watched TV show ever by an estimated 106.5 million viewers. Thus beating the finale of MASH.
By Sam Valentin