the new orleans saints defeated the indianapolis colts 31-17 to win their first ever vince lombardi trophy as the 44th super bowl champion of the national football league. saints all-pro quarterback drew brees completed 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards, two touchdowns & no interceptions. he was unanimously awarded the game's most valuable player. brees' 32 completions tied a super bowl record, held by new england patriots all-pro quarterback tom brady. the exciting game, played in front of 74,059 fans, made history as the most watched television program, ahead of the last episode of m*a*s*h.
most of the pundits expected a shootout between brees & colts all-pro quarterback peyton manning. not many expected the saints defense to hold the high-powered colts' offense to just 17 points. in fact, the game was a tale of two halves as indy led 10-6 going into the 3rd quarter, yet were outscored 25-7 the rest of the way - matching the biggest comeback in super bowl history. the colts made an impressive goal-line stand just b4 the 1st half ended, as the saints came up short on a surprisingly conservative 4th down running play. however, the saints got the ball back quickly & ended the 1st half with a long field goal - one of three, 40+ yards by placekicker michael hartley - a super bowl record.
saints head coach, known for his bold, aggressive play-calling, decided to open the 2nd half with an onside kick. it worked. brees then calmly picked apart the colts interior with the precision of a surgeon, charging the saints to a 13-10 lead behind running back pierre thomas' touchdown scamper. another saints field goal increased their lead to six points until manning engineered one of his textbook drives, giving the colts a 17-16 edge. brees' goal-line touchdown pass to tight end jeremy shockey, coupled with his two-point conversion to lance moore gave the saints a 24-17 lead.
it seemed we were headed for a thrilling overtime game with manning at the helm. but with 3:12 left in the 4th quarter, safety tracy porter, shadowing manning & his target, all-pro wide receiver reggie wayne the whole play, intercepted his pass & ran 74 yards for a score, the 3rd longest in super bowl history. the crowd erupted. the saints sideline went wild. the colts fans were stunned. porter's pick, equally as dramatic as his interception of brett favre in the nfc title game, was the game's only turnover; one manning will always regret.
perhaps the four-time nfl mvp colts qb is human, after all.
the people of the city of new orleans & the state of louisiana, who continue to suffer the devastating aftermath of hurricane katrina, amidst the contemptuous indifference of our government, will be partying on bourbon street for days to come, as mardi gras officially begins sometime next week. the saints, whose maligned fans once wore bags over their heads during home games, played with tremendous determination, heart & pride. all of the players, veterans & rookies alike, felt their victory was for the people, who needed something to feel good about after being betrayed, displaced & neglected.
after the game, brees said, "four years ago who ever thought this would be happening when 85 percent of the city was under water from hurricane katrina...most people not knowing if new orleans would ever come back or if the organization and the team would come back...this is the culmination of that belief and that faith." added porter, "we weren't the aints...we were a team of destiny, a team that can make big plays." finally, saints linebacker scott fujita remarked, "look around the stadium...it was like six or seven-to-one (saints fans)...the black and gold just poured into miami...the whole world was behind us...this was bigger than just a game for the saints...we are the world's team."
who dat, who dat, who dat say gonna beat dem saints?
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.