Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saints March To History


MIAMI GARDENS----Going into Super Bowl XLIV, this writer did predict that the New Orleans Saints would score 31 points. The problem is he also thought the Colts would win by a 38-31 margin.

Oh well, I'm not alone because there were many others who expected Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to walk away with his second Super Bowl Championship.

But destiny is the key word as to what transpired Sunday Night at Joe Robbie Stadium.

The New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 and despite the fact that there were two small market teams playing, that didn't matter as far as TV Ratings were concerned.
According to the Nielsen Ratings, this was the most watched program in US Television History as 106.5 million tuned in.

We had the hometown boy in Manning facing a city that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Is there any doubt that the Saints have become America's adopted team? As I spent time at the Media Center talking to radio show hosts along with other national media members from around the world at Radio Row, there were plenty of these people who were hoping that the Saints would come marching out of Miami with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

As it turns out they did. The celebration has shifted from South Beach to Bourbon St. But while this victory does bring joy to New Orleans, even when I was there two years ago, the devastation of the storm was still quite evident. That's what many of us in the media talked about at the various functions throughout the week especially throughout Sunday's game.

This was more than a football game, it was a human interest story in every way possible. That's what made it such a thrill to be a part of. There could be no better hype leading up to this game then listening to the players, coaches, media, commissioner, etc., talking about the significance about what a win would mean to New Orleans.

Despite being 13-3 and being the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Saints were still underdogs to the No. 1 seeded Colts who were 14-2.

Last year in Tampa, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the underdog Arizona Cardinals 27-23 but needed an eight play, 78-yard drive capped by a six yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes to earn the win. Pittsburgh also had a Super Bowl record 100-yard interception return from James Harrison at the end of the first half.

There were a lot of critical plays in this contest. But the only interception Manning threw resulted in a 74-yard touchdown return by Tracy Porter that gave New Orleans the 14 point lead. But Manning did throw for 333 yards while New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has folks in San Diego scratching their heads by letting him leave as a free agent as he threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

Nevertheless, this was history at its best and to be part of a crowd of 74,059 yards was a tremendous experience watching the Saints win their first ever Super Bowl Championship.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsportss3.com.

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