Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Five Stars: Saints Are World Champs

While you've digested nearly just about enough Super Bowl XLIV you can handle, we've got a little more for you. Congrats to the New Orleans Saints and the 'Bayou football faithful. LynchyRightNow is handing out it's five stars . . .

(*) Saints wide receivers Marques Colston & Devery Henderson. A combined 14 catches for 146 yards for the two receivers with just a handful of playoff experience heading into the 'Big Dance.' While Drew Brees will receive every bit of his deserved glory, Colston & Henderson showed up to play in Super Bowl XLIV as well. The measuring stick for how important their catches were can immediately be seen on the other side of the coin. Colts receiver Pierre Garcon made a huge drop in the first half halting a Indianapolis drive and turning the ball over to New Orleans, anyone else want to argue how crucial the hands of Henderson and Colston were? Throughout Super Bowl evening we saw how Drew Brees stretched the middle of the field hitting his targets for big chunks, Devery Henderson for 19-yards, Marques Colston for 27-yards, reaching big first downs for the New Orleans offense. You won't hear much about the Saints receivers, but they came up huge when it counted most.

(**) Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and tight end Jeremy Shockey. Both chased from The City That Never Sleeps, both former collegiate National Champions at The U, and now both can add Super Bowl Champ to their resume. An injured Jeremy Shockey had to witness his former team, the New York Giants, win a Super Bowl with him on the sideline and then landed in New Orleans in the following off season. His time in The Big Apple was one of controversy and disappointment, much like that of current and former teammate Jonathan Vilma. After a exciting start playing for the Jets, a rookie season which he was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2004, Vilma would find himself outcast to New Orleans following an injury plagued 4th season. For both banished stars, the a change of scenery to the Bayou was just what was needed. Jeremy Shockey came up big with a go ahead touchdown score on the largest of stages. Captain of the Saint defense, Jonathan Vilma, played phenomenal against a Colt offense that torments middle linebackers. Vilma is the anchor of a Gregg Williams lead defense that stopped Peyton Manning, and Jeremy Shockey is a huge, capable, aggressive target for Drew Brees. These two former Miami Hurricanes National Champs are now Super Bowl Champs, and leaving New York has been a dream come true.

(***) The Football Gods. It isn't said enough, winning that ring requires all the right cards to fall in the right places. For the '09-'10 Saints, Sunday night was proof of that. The Saints completed their run on an interception from the greatest quarterback in the game. They escaped the NFC Championship with Brett finally making that crucial mistake, he saved that moment in New Orleans for it. The huge comeback victory against the Dolphins, proved to get them home field throughout, without that ask yourself if they'd be the champs. Winning a championship takes amazing plays, takes gutsy calls that turn out in your favor, takes great opponents losing in dramatic fashion. The '01 Rams losing as big favorites, the '07 Patriots losing THE ONE and only one , and now the '09 Colts watching the coronation crumble. Give thanks to the football gods, who watched all the cards fall in the right places for the New Orleans Saints, they've made America's second favorite team Super Bowl Champs. They made us feel this coming for the better part of four years. Would we be feeling what we feel today if not for six doctors in Miami failing Drew Brees on his medical exam? The football gods granted fans what they wanted to see, the City of New Orleans finally celebrating in a way we've wanted them to for years. 1,000 Thank Yous to the football gods.

(****) Ball Coach, Sean Payton. You know what? I'll ignore the onside kick and 4th down calls. Sean Payton straight up feared nothing. Payton took on the best offense in the league and turned them on their head. Pushing Peyton Manning on the sideline and allowing his quarterback to chunk by chunk move down the field and put quality drives together. That was the game plan, take risks when you have to and refuse to trade shots with the Colts. Down 10-0 early, his plan wasn't to methodically come back and grind it out, it was to surprise Indianapolis, show them different looks and make them beat his team, they weren't going to beat themselves. My high water mark for head coach Sean Payton, when his first quarter reverse call halted a New Orleans drive, that was it, no more trickery we're going to march with the toughest QB in the game and beat this team. Here's a former assistant turned head coach who has done the improbable and put this team and this city back on the map in a positive manner. Payton's ability to realize a need and take a pay cut to bring on Gregg Williams to run his defense, a match made in Super Bowl heaven. One of the games most brilliant defensive coaches lining up next to easily one of the most talented offensive minds. Between Sean Payton's ability to coach with guile and intelligence and his toughness to make a seemingly tough decision in the coaching game, not many can compete.

(*****) The Fans of New Orleans Home field advantage seriously took on new meaning this postseason. From the opening around retirement party of Kurt Warner to the Super Bowl party on South Beach, the Saints fans were wired and wall to wall jacked up! You know how badly these fans deserve it? Next to the "cheeseheads" no fans are as connected to the city and to the team than the New Orleans faithful. I'll do you one better, they're possibly the new America's Team, and I'm a Cowboys fan! America's second favorite team played a virtual home game in Miami, fans chanting Who Dat?!?! Laced in gold and black beads and any costume they can find, the New Orleans Saints fans had their team and their city rocking like no other. Sure they were rocked by Hurricane Katrina, but that isn't the only we cheer for them. We cheer for players like Drew Brees who is the ultimate comeback player, and as of right now sits as the NFL's most popular player. Players like Scott Fujita who chose New Orleans because of it meant more to play there than just football. The Saints have a fan base that is rabid for this team to win, rabid for this team to do anything, and with that said, there is no one I'm more happy for than those fans. Five stars in my book!

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