On paper, the matchup was one that bookmakers and sports enthusiasts alike salivated over. The first time since 1994 that two #1 seeds faced off in the Super Bowl. Two of the game’s most prolific offenses and two of the game’s most accurate quarterbacks duking it out for one of the most coveted prizes in all of sport: The Lombardi Trophy.
On paper it appeared that the Indianapolis Colts were the better team. Led by 2009 league MVP Peyton Manning, and well-rested after a 14-0 start the Colts seemed poised to win their second title in four years.
Outcomes are not decided on paper, and that my friends is why we play the game.
For the first 15 minutes of the game the New Orleans Saints, the laughing stock of the NFL for many seasons, the expansion team that hadn’t reached a Super Bowl in its first 43 years of existence looked every bit less experienced than their counterparts from Indy.
New Orleans could have rolled over at the end of the 1st quarter when they were down 10-0 and didn’t show any signs that they were capable of slowing down Peyton Manning’s methodical passing attack. New Orleans could have rolled over in the 2nd quarter when Indy stopped back-to-back runs on 3rd and 4th and goal, but they didn’t.
A wise man once told me that “a true champion prevails despite the circumstances,” and that is what the Saints did coming out of halftime. Despite being a slight underdog, and facing a 10-6 deficit at the half, the Saints put together an impressive 30 minutes of football; starting with a recovered onside kick to begin the second half.
That play, the first time an onside kick was attempted in a Super Bowl before the 4th quarter, was a game-changer and the catalyst the propelled the Saints to a 25-point second half and their first ever Super Bowl title.
It’s hard to not to root for a team like the Saints. There’s no way to measure what a Super Bowl title does for the spirits and emotions of the city of New Orleans, and the surrounding gulf region that is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I think sports fans around the league won’t mind yelling out a resounding “Who Dat!??” in honor of the Saints’ tremendous season.
Any successful person will tell you that winners take risks, and the New Orleans took the necessary risks in Super Bowl XLIV to be crowned World Champions at games end. To the victor goes the spoils. Swagger!