In what was probably the best Superbowls I've seen, the New Orleans Saints overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17. The forward pass was the rule of the day as both teams filled the Miami skies with footballs. Brees and Manning combined for a total of 63 out of 84 passes for 621 yards. The Colts, favored by 5 points at game-time, took an early lead 10-0, behind the superb passing of Peyton Manning. Then in the second quarter, the New Orleans' defense stiffened, while their offense added two field goals to cut the score, 10-6 at half-time. The second half started with what has one of the most gutsy coaching calls ever, an onside kick--which, after an unbelievably long dog-pile and subsequent unpacking by the referees, worked, New Orleans taking possession of the ball. From there, they marched down the field to score a touchdown and take the lead, 13-10. Saints quarterback Drew Brees seemed on the verge of being sacked for much of the game, but managed to pull off a Houdini act and escape, usually with a completion. The real star of the game, however, was the Saints defensive unit who held Manning and the Colts to only 7 points in the second-half, even adding seven points late in the final quarter--clinching the game--on a Tracey Porter interception and subsequent 74-yard return down the field for a touchdown. Final score, New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17.
I'm pleased the long-suffering Saints won the game, being the first NFL championship in the team's history. If polls are to be believed, most of the country was pulling alongside me for the Saints. Whether it was related to hurricane Katrina and the rescue aftermath angst, or perhaps just good old rooting for the underdog, the approximately one-hundred and fifty million viewers around the globe were treated to one hell of a football game, American-style.
The country needed this game. Superbowl XLIV comes at a time when deep recession is causing more Americans to do without, while two wars and the continuing threat of terrorism are eroding our national confidence. At a time when our political system seems incapable of governance as vital legislation and much-needed reform are stalled by congressional bickering and partisan politicking, perhaps something as simple as a game of football will do for the country what a reboot will do for a hung computer program: get things moving again. From Carrie Underwood's embarrassingly off-key rendition of our national anthem to the sentimental scene of Drew Brees holding his young son on the field at the game's conclusion, we had three hours of blissful amnesia. During our time of immense national tribulation, we became transfixed by the pigskin spectacle of it all.
So maybe, just maybe, like a recovered onside kick, our pride, teamwork, and drive will be rekindled.
Perhaps this three hour escape, like a mini-minivacation, will allow us recover our national momentum and send us sprinting down the sidelines en route to a new beginning. A beginning where peace, prosperity, and the good will of all mankind, is right around the corner. The American spirit has created miracles when we all pull together. Lets take these three hours and resolve to turn that corner, all of us together.