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Saints March to NFL Title
Photo - QB Drew Brees - Saints
The New Orleans Saints finally reached NFL heaven with a thrilling victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints marched in to NFL history with a dramatic second half comeback to defeat the Colts 31-17 in Miami. It was the Saints first NFL title in the wild 43-year history of the franchise that included the loveable Aint’s of yesteryear to the team that rallied a city to recover from the horrors after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Brees rallied the Saints to upset the Peyton Manning directed Colts with some late game heroics.
“We just believed in ourselves and we knew that we had an entire city and maybe an entire country behind us,” said Brees, the game’s MVP. “What can I say? I tried to imagine what this moment would be like for a long time, and it’s better than expected.”
“Four years ago who ever thought this would be happening when 85 percent of the city was under water from (Hurricane) Katrina,” Brees said. “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.”
Brees tied a Super Bowl record with 32 completions, the last a 2-yard slant to Jeremy Shockey for the winning points with 5:42 remaining in the game. He went 32 for 39 for 288 yards and 2 TDs while completing 29 of his final 32 passing attempts in a brilliant clutch performance. Head coach, Sean Payton, managed to boil it down to three words: “Brees was magnificent.”
Brees was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV after completing a Super Bowl record 32 passes. Of the seven incompletions, at least one was dropped while another was a spike. Two passes went for TDs and he also threw for a two-point conversion. For the postseason, Brees completed 71% of his passes with 8 TD passes and no interceptions while beating three divisional winners – the Cardinals, Vikings and Colts. The Saints trailed in each of those crucial victories by at least 7 points, a first time for the NFL postseason.
For the '09 season, Brees put up incredible passing numbers - a 70% completion rate with 4388 yards passing and 34 TDs and 11 interceptions. His leadership can not be measured as he has become the leader of a team that rallied around him and a city in pursuit of NFL history.
Saints’ coach Sean Payton deserves applause for several gutsy calls over the game especially the onside kick that opened the 2nd half that sparked the Saints’ comeback. The much maligned Saints defense made several key stops with Tracy Porter’s 74-yard TD interception return off an errant pass from Manning clinching the victory for the Big Easy.
For the '09 season, the Saints finished 16-3 overall and won three postseason games after winning only two in their previous 42 year history. They beat Arizona, Minnesota and Indianapolis (16-3) — all division winners — for their first title, scoring 107 points and allowing only 59.