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|Saints pulled it off...|
I didn't believe the Saints could pull it off. Not on this kind of stage against a team that was used to the spotlight. Not with a bend-but-not-break defense going up against what many feel is the best quarterback to play the game. And certainly not after spotting the Colts 10 points.
I actually thought Joseph Addai was going to have a field day going against a porous Saint run defense. He finished with 77 yards on 13 carries, although after the first quarter it appeared he was on his way to a 177-yard rushing game.
But the Saints showed poise. That's right, the team making its first appearance on the biggest NFL stage there is showed poise.
And Sean Payton showed the most poise of all.
While Drew Brees and Jeremy Shockey certainly got their just dues, I was most impressed with a kicker named Garrett Hartley, who was signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He played college football at Oklahoma.
Hartley's season did not start out well.
Hartley was given a four-game suspension after testing positive for a banned stimulant.
He said he was unaware that the stimulant was on the NFL's list of banned substances.
Hartley said he obtained Adderall prescription pills from a former college friend and used them to help himself stay awake while driving from Dallas to New Orleans for an offseason workout.
He certainly appeared to have a deer-in-the-headlights look before kicking the game-winner against Minnesota to enable the Saints to reach the Super Bowl.
But that was certainly no awe-struck 23-year-old kicking for the Saints Sunday.
That was a young kicker showing a lot of poise. I guess it really does start at the top.
On another note, I'm always intrigued by irony, no matter how small or large the irony is.
In Super Bowl XLIV (maybe they should rename it Super Bowl WHODAT), New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was facing Peyton Manning, the son of former Saints quarterback Archie Manning, who was born in Drew, Ms.
Brees was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round, the same team that drafted Archie's other son, Eli, in the first round. before trading him to the New York Giants.
Brees came to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Archie almost decided to give up his football career after a tragic moment in his life the same time Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast.
Archie had just completed a semester of summer school after his sophomore year at Ole Miss. He and his family went to a wedding, but his dad, Buddy, stayed home. Buddy, who had suffered a stroke earlier, shot himself and Archie was the one who found him on his bed.
"I cleaned up the house before they got home and did all the things you have to go through I didn't want my mother to have to do," Archie said in his book, "Manning."
Manning said he told his mom he was going to quit Ole Miss and stay home.
"And that's when she told me she wouldn't have it," Archie wrote. "That I was going to get my college education, period. And play football, period. And 'after that, we'll see.'"
Obviously after that was a great collegiate and pro career. He finished third in the Heisman voting in 1970.
Brees' NFL career seemed to be over when, in the last game of the 2005 season against the Denver Broncos, he injured his shoulder while trying to pick up his own fumble after being hit by Broncos safety John Lynch. Denver tackle Gerard Warren hit Brees while he was on the ground, causing the injury. Brees underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder on January 5, 2006. Subsequent reports mention additional rotator cuff damage.
Nick Saban, then with the Miami Dolphins, did not want to take a chance on Brees, but Sean Payton rolled out the red carpet for the quarterback.
My niece was wearing a shirt last week that said "Peyton Who?" in black and gold. I had to tell her that some 40 years ago there were purple and gold shirts that said, "Archie Who?"
So there was Drew, Archie from Drew, Peyton, Eli and Sean Payton, all together for one big event on Sunday.
And the rest is history.