It all started with Carrie Underwood’s rendition of the National Anthem (a great one, I should add). This started one of the greatest coaching performances in the history of the Super Bowl.
Sean Payton, head coach of the New Orleans Saints, led his team through the season looking to not only reach their first Super Bowl, but to win it. Drew Brees proved victorious by overcoming an early 10-point deficit, and leading his Saints past the favored Indianapolis Colts.
With the confidence of the quarterback and his offensive line, the consistency of Garrett Hartley and his key field goals, and the courageous coaching decisions by Payton, the Saints were destined to win. In the first quarter, the Colts led by 10, and looked to stretch that lead until two field goals (46 and 44-yarders) in the second quarter got the Saints’ adrenaline pumping.
Payton started the second half with the most unexpected play: an onside kick. The kick bounced off Hank Baskett’s arms and was recovered by the Saints. This play got the Saints a touchdown and a 13-10 lead. A Joseph Addai 4-yard rushing touchdown made it 17-13 Colts, and then Brees decided to kick it in to high gear.
Hartley kicked a 47-yard field goal, which was very key and made it 16-17. The confidence was rushing back to the Saints, and the fourth quarter started with a Jeremy Shockey touchdown. A gutsy two-point conversion was ruled as incomplete on the field, but then challenged by Payton and the Saints. At first glance, the refs seemed to have it right. But thanks to the glory of instant replay, the call was overruled and the Saints led 24-17 with 5:42 left.
Peyton Manning, known for being “clutch,” tried to lead his team down to tie the game. But cornerback Tracy Porter jumped the route, intercepted the ball, and ran for a touchdown. This sealed the Saints’ victory, and crushed the Colts’ so-close dreams of tying the game.
After holding the ball, the Saints were declared winners of Super Bowl XLIV. Brees said: "We played for so much more than ourselves. We played for our city.” Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans spirit, and the Saints have just restored them.