1. THE FOOTBALL GODS:
Was there anybody on the planet other than Colts fans and the sharp guys who laid down their money on Indianapolis who really wanted the Colts to beat the Saints? No way. There was a little thing like Hurricane Katrina, the devastation of New Orleans and the way that the city fought its way back that seemed to be pointing to nothing short of a Saints victory to put an exclamation point on the 2009 season. The Saints and their high scoring, high octane offence had been the darlings of the NFC throughout the season and the football gods weren’t going to disappoint their once shattered city and their fans in the their initial Super Bowl appearance. So it was written, so it shall be.
2. COLTS PUNTED THEIR MOJO
The Colts didn’t lose the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, they lost it back on Dec. 27 when head coach Jim Caldwell had the goofball idea of sitting out a bunch of his regulars after the team had gone 14-0 and secured a playoff spot and thumbed his nose at the idea of going for a perfect season. The Colts, of course, lost that day 29-15 to the Jets to their eternal shame and followed up by being a no-show in their regular-season finale at Buffalo. Did they really think the reward for such a controversial and misguided decision would be a Super Bowl victory? Well, think again.
3. SAINTS HAD THE SWAGGER
Teams that historically win the big one are the teams with the swagger and the players who are a little less rigid and possess some flair. If hard work, preparation and dedication to craft were the main ingredients in Super Bowl victories then Tom Landry and his Dallas Cowboys of years gone by would have never lost a game. Teams that are a little loosey-goosey tend to perform well at crunch time. The Saints had colourful players such as Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey and a roll-the-dice coach in Sean Payton. That counts for something.
4. DREW BREES
Sorry all you Brett Favre fans but Drew Brees was the feel good story of the season. And wasn’t that the picture of the year, the post-game shot of Brees and his little boy wearing the gigantic earphones. Brees epitomized everything that was right and just about post-Katrina New Orleans and in the big game he came up big. And the Brees off the field was a better performer than the All-pro on it. “I feel like I’ve been given a platform to really make a difference in a lot of people’s lives,” Brees said before the Super Bowl. “I’ve wembraced the community of New Orleans just because it is a special place and they’ve embraced me and my wife in a way that I can’t even describe. There is nothing more than I want for them then a championship.” Both Brees and New Orleans were rewarded.
5. ANY PORT-ER IN A STORM
Talk about your nail-in-the-coffin play. When New Orleans cornerback Tracy Porter picked off Peyton Manning’s pass to Reggie Wayne and ran it back 74 yards for the TD, that was all she wrote. Said Porter after the game: “When I saw Austin Collie go in motion I said, ’Oh yeah, this is the route they’ve been running all year,’ and yeah, I had it in my mind I was going to jump the route. It was just like I was watching it on film and I made the break on it and here comes the end zone.” And there go the Colts.
6. ON DESTINY’S SIDE
The BIG play of the game, of course, was the decision by Saints coach Payton to try the shocker of opening up the second half with an onside kick. Talk about a gutsy call or what — gutsy because it worked. It was just about the last thing the Colts expected as witnessed by the outcome. The ball went to Colts receiver Hank Baskett but he clanked it and the Saints recovered and eventually marched into the end zone. “As the special teams captain, I felt like we didn’t do the little things right,” safety Melvin Bullitt said. “If we do, we’re getting the ball there at the (Saints’) 40 and it might have been a totally different game.” They didn’t and it wasn’t.
7. DROPPING OUT OF SIGHT
You can’t win if you don’t make some clutch catches and the Colts didn’t, especially in the second half. And just how did Reggie Wayne drop that ball? Crikey!
8. HISTORY RULES
Don’t the Colts almost always come up short? Isn’t that the history of this franchise in the Peyton Manning era? Yes, the Colts did win it all in 2007 when the beat the Bears but every other season for the past decade it seems as if they come up short of expectations in the playoffs after a marvelous regular season. They are the Atlanta Braves of the NFL.
9. COLOUR ME A WINNER
If you don’t believe in history, then how about the colour of the jerseys of the two teams? The Colts had the home team designation and wore their blue jerseys with white pants. The Saints wore white jerseys with gold pants. Teams that have worn white jerseys have now won six consecutive Super Bowls. The Colts are 0-2 wearing their blue jerseys. You can look it up.
The chant of Saints’ fans is: “Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints.” They are the ‘Who Dat’ nation. OK now, just which rock group performed at halftime? Ah, yes, The Who. Say no more.