The New Orleans Saints put the finishing touch on an unimaginable season with 3:12 left in the game as CB Tracy Porter picked off a Peyton Manning pass and sprinted 74 yards for the back breaking and game sealing TD. After the Indianapolis Colts couldn't score from the five yard line with under a minute to play, the Saints just needed to take a knee for one play in order fo rthe victory to become official. Then the celebration began, in Miami and on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
You got to give the Saints credit for not packing it in when the Colts jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and then were ahead 17-16 and in field goal range. However, after a missed 51 yard field goal attempt by former Baltimore Ravens' Matt Stover, the Saints marched down the field for the go ahead touchdown and never looked back. I was sort of surprised that the Colts would even go for the long field goal, knowing that Stover's range hadn't been close to that for years now. Despite the fourth and 11, the punt would have been a bad call as well, but I could have easily seen Manning and the Colts going for it with pretty much nothing to lose on the play. Had they went for it and not gotten the first down, New Orleans would have taken over at their own 34 yard line, instead of where the field goal attempt was spotted, which was the 41 yard line.
Most likely it would not have made a difference and after Porter crossed the goal line with his pick-six, the party started on the Saints' sideline. The French Quarter was primed for a drunk-fest regardless of a Saints win or loss, but with the win, the liquor will flow a lot faster and longer into the wee hours of the morning. Mardi Gras in a couple of weeks might end up looking tame by the time the partying stops in the French Quarter.
Major congrats to the Saints as a team and New Orleans as a city. No place in America needed or deserved the opportunity to celebrate like New Orleans. No offense to the Indianapolis Colts but tonight the New Orleans Saints were "America's Team." Drew Brees earned his "Most Valuable Player Award" but the entire Saints team contributed to this victory with their never-say-die attitude and commitment to winning and playing like the team that started the regular season 13-0.
More will follow all week long throughout the football world as this game is dissected apart, but the simple fact that the Saints beat three of the better quarterbacks in the league, all certain Hall of Famers in Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and now Peyton Manning. As Reggie Bush said after the game, "no one can say we didn't earn this Super Bowl trophy with the road we traveled to get here."
Geaux Saints Geaux!