Monday, February 8, 2010

I admit it. I was wrong; the Saints were Super

Well, that's why I warned you that it can be hazardous to your wealth to bet based on my predictions.

I clearly thought Super Bowl 44 was going to be Peyton's Place, as in Peyton Manning.

Instead, it wound up being Payton's Place, as in Sean Payton.

The New Orleans Saints coach showed no fear, going for it on fourth-and-one and calling for an onsides kick at the start of the second half, which set in motion the momentum that led to the undoing of the Indianapolis Colts and their superstar quarterback.

And let's give Payton's defensive coordinator - Gregg Williams - some props, too. The former Buffalo Bills head coach had his unit extremely well prepared against Manning, limiting the cerebral QB to just one touchdown pass and intercepting him on the crucial play of the game when the Colts were marching toward the tying touchdown.

The pick six by Tracy Porter turned what could have been a 24-24 deadlock heading toward overtime into a 31-17 Saints victory.

Good for N'orleans, which has suffered through so much heartbreak through the years, and good for Payton, the young coach who, unlike many of his peers, showed what can happen when you're intrepid and believe in your players and assistants.

Good, too, for Williams, who failed in his first go-around as a head coach, but might be ready for a second chance after his defense's brilliant performance in holding the high-scoring Colts to just 17 points.

* Funny, how quickly people turn on someone. Take the case of Manning. Before the Super Bowl, many columnists were writing that he had a chance to stake a claim as the greatest quarterback of all-time. But after losing, the tide had turned with several labeling him a choke-artist and a guy with gaudy numbers but only one ring.

The truth is that Manning is not Joe Montana - then, again, who is? But neither is he a choke-artist. And he's much more than just a numbers guy. He's clearly one of the 10 best to ever play the game, and maybe even a top-five quarterback.

Yes, he's had his struggles in the post-season with his ledger now 9-9. And, yes, Manning came up small in the biggest moment of Sunday night's contest, and he should be criticized for that. But to trash his legacy on the basis of Sunday's night performance and the fact he has just one Super Bowl ring seems a little harsh and premature to me. He still has several more years to play, so let's wait till it's all said and done before trying to assess his legacy.


Unknown said...

Scott, You are so correct when you take the "talking heads & twitter heads" to task for labeling Manning a choke artist. That's just dumb!!
His is a body of work that can't be denied. And football is a team game - something they need to remember.
And how about giving kudos to Tracy Porter for making a great play on the interception. That's what he gets paid for.
It was a very exciting game!

Mary O'Brien said...

Hi Scott,
I have to say I was cheering for the Colts, the choice was more of a loyalty to my daughter-in-law, Cory, who went to Tenneesee U. with Peyton. She has outfitted Kevin and I with an ample amount of "orange". So whenever there is a question - it is Manning all the way. He is a class act athelete.
Having said that I was impressed by the Saints and Drew Brees. Their ability to believe in themselves and perfectly execute gutsy plays made me stand up and cheer and even shed some tears when Brees shared the moment with his baby son.
Another Great Superbowl