Sunday morning I woke up with a lot of nervous energy. The Saints playing in the Super Bowl was finally going to happen later in the day. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I watched some soccer, the SB pregame, and I played around on the internet. I had taken care of some grad school stuff on Saturday, so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting anything done Sunday morning. Things were moving so slowly, much like the last two weeks since Garrett Hartley’s kick split the uprights to beat the Vikings.
Finally, it was time to leave for my friend Melanie’s house. On the way there, I had a frightening thought the game started an hour earlier than I thought, and we’d miss the teams running onto the field. Thankfully this was not the case. We arrived with our High Life and appetites in plenty of time to see the team introductions, crisis averted. I honestly didn’t know that many people at the party other than the people I came with and the hosts. We all had one thing in common, we were all Who Dats. The setup was having the game projected outside onto a screen hung on the side of the house. Best setup to watch a Super Bowl ever! We all had camping chairs and blankets to keep warm.
Once the game started, it didn’t feel like watching a Super Bowl, it felt like watching a Saints game. That may not make sense, but it was the first time seeing MY team in the Super Bowl, so after the initial shock wore off of the teams running onto the field, and seeing the end zone painted black and gold, it was just like the other 18 games I had watched so far this year. The first half was so nerve-wracking. Peyton Manning seemed to be able to work the ball down the field, and he was making some PERFECT throws. A lot of people I read or saw talk about the game kept building up Manning as this unbeatable Superman of a QB. I knew he was good, but not that much better than Warner or Favre, who the Saints had beaten. The 4th and 1 at the goal line that the Saints did not convert made me really nervous, because the Colts could have come down and made it 13-3 or worse 17-3. Fortunately the defense was able to hold, and the Saints made up for the missed opportunity with another FG. I was encouraged at the half that it was 10-6 Colts, esp considering how sluggish the Saints offense looked, but how they had started to break out of their shell at the end of the first half. Still though, Manning didn’t seem to be too rattled.
After watching the two remaining members of The Who struggle through halftime, the 2nd half was set to begin. Everyone was back in their seats when the onside kick happened. Seriously, an onside kick in the Super Bowl! WHAT?!? The Saints TD that came after made me start thinking “this might actually happen, the Saints might do this.” The rest of the game until the famous INT was a blur. I remember Stover missing the FG (honestly, never thought he was going to make it and wondered why the Colts went for the kick). I was so happy for Jeremy Shockey to get a TD. I follow him on Twitter, and I watched his interview at Media Day. He gets a bum rap IMO, so I was glad he was able to make a big play in the Super Bowl. Lance Moore’s 2 point conversion was good when we watched the replay. I’m glad Sean Payton heard us screaming to challenge it. We also noticed Peyton Manning looking frustrated on the sideline, so maybe the Saints weren’t sacking him or getting INTs, but they were still getting to him in other ways. Advantage Saints!
So here we go, Saints leading by 7 and the Colts have the ball. I thought at worst, they tie the game and we go to OT. What I wanted though was to finally get a turnover and put the game away. I had been yelling for a turnover hoping it would actually happen….and then, it did. Pandemonium ensued when the play happened. I had not been sitting down since the TD to go ahead 24-17, and I started hollering, and I could not yell loud enough. I could not jump around enough. There was so much emotion that I could not express it all. People hugged, cried, and high fived. It was crazy. Fireworks went off in the distance. Two people from a party across the street ended up coming to our party. When the final whistle blew, more fireworks went off, a nearby church was ringing its bells, and the party across the street moved to our party, including their keg. I remember thinking “this moment is perfect.”
I got a phone call from my friend Jim, who I work with. He’s not from NOLA, yet he was excited for everything that had happened. I thought that was cool. I was yelling into the phone. The excitement was just incredible. I talked to my friend Jacob by phone and realized while talking to him, that the Saints, a team I love, a team my family loves, and a team my friends love, won a title. It’s the greatest sporting event ever, in the history of our lives. Nothing could ever top this. I told people it didn’t feel real, like in Back to the Future II, Marty sees that ad for “Cubs Win World Series”. That’s how it felt almost when we saw the headline on the news “Saints Win Super Bowl”.
I might have slept 3 hours on Monday night. I stayed up late watching every video I could, then woke up at 4 am and watched more video and Sportscenter over and over. I ventured out to get a paper at 6 am. It’s incredible. It actually happened. I’ll never forget Sunday night. I’ll never forget that feeling I had when Porter made the INT. The flood of emotion in that moment was incredible. The Saints are Super Bowl Champions! WHO DAT!