Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Saints overcome early deficit, stop Colts late to seal victory

From ESPN:

Many football fans, leading with their head, viewed the Indianapolis Colts as the better team coming into Super Bowl XLIV.

But when all the multi-colored confetti had rained down on Sun Life Stadium, after the New Orleans Saints took down the favored Colts 31-17, the game turned out to be about heart.

After the Saints won their first National Football League championship -- 43 years after they played their first game -- they talked about the once-ravaged city they represent.

"We play for so much more than ourselves," said Saints quarterback Drew Brees with his brown hair matted to his forehead. "We played for our city. We played for the entire Gulf Coast region. We played for the entire Who Dat nation that has been behind us every step of the way."

Brees referenced trying to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina -- and a football franchise, too. Burn those bags. Put the S back in front of those Ain'ts. These Saints, finally, are Superb.


I write so much about culture here at Real Art; I've written a lot about New Orleans and its culture: it only seems fitting that I would have some insight into what this win means to the city. Well, I'm right in the middle of it all, and it appears I'm unable to have any perspective on that at the moment. That is, apart from pointing out the obvious, that this is fucking big, I'm not really sure what the Saints' Super Bowl victory means. All I can say is that everybody, everybody, was in a good mood today. You can feel it in the streets, this sense of "Yeah, alright, we did it," a sense of knowing, finally, that good things really do happen to people, a sense of understanding that the Saints won it on the field, but that we all share in the triumph.

I got to relish the Texas Longhorns' national championship win a few years back, and belive me, it was good, but this is different. It is as though the city and its people have been, at last, delivered from evil. Seriously. This,
like the floods of Katrina, is Biblical.

And then there was the game itself.

It was weird to me, watching the Saints play in the Super Bowl. I've never had a team in the big one. The Oilers, for all their hard work, never did manage to kick the son of a bitch in. The Texans only recently posted their first winning season. I tried supporting the Raiders for a while after Bud Adams cornholed his home town, but it just wasn't the same when they played Tampa--I had never even visited California at that point, and they never really did feel like they were actually my team.

But I've been following the Saints since Katrina, and it's virtually impossible to not become a fan once you move here, so I finally had my team in the Super Bowl. It's just not the same as rooting for a team you like from some other city. Each and every play takes on a weird significance that you can only imagine if you haven't had your guys actually play there.

I remember a conversation I had with a friend at work after the Saints struggled to defeat some team mid season after totally dominating everybody else up to that point. My buddy was worried that they were losing their edge: I told him that I really liked what I saw, that their "messy" win meant that they knew how to struggle when their game plan just wasn't working, that they knew how to find a way to win. And that's the team I saw Sunday night. I mean, in the end, the Saints won by a couple of touchdowns, but it was anything but certain until Porter picked off Manning late in the fourth. In short, like the above excerpt asserts, it was about heart, and the Saints, like the city they represent, had more.

A couple more thoughts.

After the Saints beat Arizona in the divisional round, I told my buddy at work that I think Sean Payton is a football genius. My buddy disagreed, telling me that Payton is good, but he's no Bill Belichick. I've really got to ask him what he thinks now. Also, everybody realizes that Drew Brees is a Texas boy, who went undefeated as a starter for Westlake High School in Austin, right? Well, he is. Texans, hear this: have some pride for your native son; a little piece of this victory is yours, too!


SCOTT THRELKELD / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Tracy Porter intercepts the ball
intended for Reggie Wayne for a TD during Super Bowl XLIV.

TED JACKSON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Saints Drew Brees during Super Bowl XLIV.

MICHAEL DeMOCKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A dejected Peyton Manning walks
back out on the field after it's clear that the game is out of reach. during Super Bowl XLIV.