DMN: Saints think outside the box

QUOTE: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” -- Theodore Roosevelt

All season, Saints head coach Sean Payton loved to bring in different people to give pregame speeches to his team — people with a unique flair, a unique message and a unique perspective. Had Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, been alive, he clearly would have given the Saints their Super Bowl XLIV pregame speech. To beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in the Super Bowl, Payton knew his team needed to think unconventionally. He learned that from the Patriots’ failure and all the other teams that had leads in the fourth but who thought conventionally and were unable to put the game away. The Saints had the wisdom to try something unconventional, to reach for victory, to leave it all on the field, to dare mighty things.

On defense, the Saints made the one play when it counted. They never really pressured Colts quarterback Peyton Manning with their blitz package, but the real pressure of the Saints came from their offense. With Drew Brees playing “lights out,” Manning realized he had to score every time he got the ball, and for the first time all season, the Colts faced a team that could match them yard for yard, play for play, point for point and, most important, were willing to take chances. The unconventional opponent is always the most dangerous opponent.

The Super Bowl was tremendous from start to finish. It had me on the edge of my seat all game until Saints cornerback Tracy Porter made the play to put the game away. It was the kind of game that will provide much to talk about all offseason. But for today, here are my thoughts:

What I learned from Super Bowl XLIV

Drew Brees had seven incomplete passes the entire game. One was a drop and one was a spike to stop the clock. He played incredible with his pinpoint accuracy and his sense of timing in the pocket. For once, the opposing quarterback made Peyton Manning nervous….

Did you realize that Brees didn’t throw an interception through the entire playoffs? His ball placement Sunday was rare….

Once the Saints got used to the speed of the Colts defense, they were able to move the ball at will. Both of their punts came in the first quarter, and after that, they never punted again….

Both teams had 50 rushes and completions combined, but the Colts committed two turnovers -- one on the missed field goal and one on the interception….

Did you know that Matt Stover hadn’t made a 50-yard kick since 2006? When he went on the field to attempt it, I wasn’t feeling it, nor would I have attempted it had I been the head coach. That miss changed the game….

The Saints were the best fourth-quarter team in the NFL this season in terms of points scored and points allowed. Sunday, they proved once again they can dominate the fourth….

Sean Payton realized early in the game that the seam passes were not available, so instead of forcing his calls, he went to his short passing game, and Brees never forced the ball down the field. The big-play Saints’ biggest play of the day was just 27 yards, and they had only one other play of more than 20 yards….

Saints corner Tracy Porter made a great read on the blitz adjustment route, but I keep watching the play, and it appears to me that Reggie Wayne was stuck in his cleats and never got out of his cut….

I thought the Saints should have deferred the coin toss, but by winning the onside kick, they got the ball to start the second half, so they accomplished the same thing. Gutsy call — I wonder if this was planned all along….

Jonathan Casillas of the Saints amazingly recovered the onside kick that was a struggle like none other I have ever seen. He fought hard in that pileup to secure the ball and will be the answer to a great trivia question in years to come….

Saints kicker Garrett Hartley was incredible, making three field goals of 40 yards or more, and will forever be the unsung hero of the game. Those kicks were huge….

Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney tried hard, but the longer the game went, the less effective he became. Without him on the field, the Colts had no pass rush. Without his pressure, the Colts couldn’t play zone defense, nor could they match up man to man against the Saint wideouts….

Both teams combined for 84 passing attempts, yet no pass interference was called in the game….

Colts coach Jim Caldwell is going to regret sending Stover on the field for that kick for a very long time….

Super Bowl commercials I liked

Everyone has their favorites, but here are my top five. What are yours? Here’s the link to follow to check them out...

1. ETRADE…Milkoholic — the kids are great.
2. Snicker/Betty White/Abe Vigoda — nice to see Tessio back in action.
3. Brett Favre/Hyundai — so true.
4. Doritos Smack/Go Daddy -- both very good.
5. Bud light Lost — so funny.

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Super Bowl accommodations in Miami have been provided to the National Football Post by the beautiful Catalina Hotel and Beach Club. Click on the link to learn more about this stunning boutique hotel in the heart of South Beach.

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