No, this is not a post about probable video recording by the now-current Super Bowl champion head coach. We may touch upon the 17-2-ness of the Colts as well, and maybe stop Bed Bath and Beyond, not sure if we’ll have time yet…
In all reality, the thought came to me very early this season as I heard multiple national media members claiming week after week that everything Bill Belichick did was premeditated. “He’s a defensive mastermind”, “The best of our generation”, and others could be heard saying week in and week out and no one here in New England would dare to question it.
However, I think now that we have lived through 4th-and-2 and seen the Patriots pull a completely unstellar 10-6 record on the season, the torch is being passed and in Super Bowl XLIV (or “Extra Large 4″ as El Mustachio likes to call it), Sean Payton took that torch right out of Belichick’s hand and forcefully stated into the microphone aptly branded with the NFL logo, “I’m in charge here!”
As many “Brady vs. Manning” articles as you will read throughout the internet this week and beyond, I think this is the really true story behind this Super Bowl victory for New Orleans when it comes to any regional tie-in for New England fans.
On August 29, 2005, doom was brought upon the region of New Orleans, beyond what they thought they knew, when Hurricane Katrina did the damage that is no news to anyone who is currently reading this. With Coach Jim Haslett at the wheel following the disaster and Saint’s games being played everywhere besides New Orleans, the team went 3-13 that following season playing home games in other teams’ stadiums.
Payton was able to take newly acquired Drew Brees and grow with him in his first head coaching job. Similar circumstances to Belichick’s quarterback commitments here in New England. In fact, it has almost become a regular benchmark in the Belichickian Tree (See: McDaniels, Josh and Cutler, Jay Orton, Kyle).
The Saints are now 42-27 under Payton in his four seasons at the helm and Super Bowl XLIV really was an exhibition of what he could do as a coach.
I am going to assume that most of you watched the game since it was the only thing on television all night besides The Sound of Music or Titanic, and if you watched either of those, you probably got to our site on accident.
The first half seemed to flow along. The Colts got some early confidence going up 10-0 quickly and the Saints seemed to be trying to keep up but things weren’t clicking. They found their way to a field goal and things really started to piece together halfway through the second quarter.
As the Saints were marching down the field nearing the two-minute warning in the first half, they were stopped on a great defensive stand by the Colts at the 3-yard line. Somehow, Payton was able to find a way to use this to their advantage and go for it on 4th and 1 rather than kicking the field goal and planning for a 10-3 deficit heading into the half. Luckily for Payton, they were stopped and the plan worked well in that Peyton Manning ran three running plays and gave the Saints the ball back with just under a minute to go. With those seconds, the Law Firm of Payton, Brees, and Co. went on to get the ball back into Colt territory and get a field goal up to round out the quarter.
Of course this could have gone either way. Had Payton failed the 4th-and-1 and then let the Colts hold the ball the remainder of the quarter or allowed them to score, America would literally be calling him the next Bill Belichick right now with side-by-side comparisons to 4th-and-2. But it did work out and we are getting a glimpse of how the world would have reacted had the Kevin Faulk squeezed over the line far enough that the referee could tell he attained a first down.
Halftime came and went and holy hell, The Who are old as dirt. Good jams but seriously. I even saw a quote on Twitter after the game from Pete Townshend (yes, the guitarist who windmilled like Vince Carter circa 2005) in which he actually stated “You could kind of tell from the stage the crowd is really here for the game.”…
And on to the second half!
On the opening kickoff of the second half, Sean Payton took a huge gamble that he was easily debating over for the entire very-drawn-out 30 minute halftime. A move so inhumanly Belichickian that even the Bill Belichick of 2009 wouldn’t have considered it no matter the game or opponent.
Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints actually kicked off the second half with an onside kick. Luckily enough for them, the ball touched a Colt and bounced around to be recovered by the Saints. This moment was the first realization that I personally had at what would eventually become this article.
Jim Nantz loves throwing out his statistics and random factoids and the best one here was that this was the first onside kick recovered in a Super Bowl outside of the fourth quarter. Crazy statistic seeing whereas this is the 44th Super Bowl and there have been teams that are very good on all sides of the ball in each big game.
Clearly, this event really put a push on viewers to look at the Saints and believe that they are here to play and that they want to win this game. This move was really one that we don’t see anyone in the league pull besides our very own Double B.
Although an onside kick to open the half certainly got my attention quickly, I would say that Nantz releasing a little bit of an earlier conversation that he had with Payton at the mid-way point of the fourth quarter was the deal that struck this post into existence. Nantz stated that in an earlier interview, Payton had advised him that they had a very specific plan for Peyton Manning in which they would run a certain defense for the first half, then a third quarter defense, then a fourth quarter defense.
Seriously?! This is genius and probably the only way to get to a quarterback like Manning. Indy put up 10 points in the first quarter and 7 in the third. The second and fourth quarters were zilched. However, the Saints had their numbers increase overall from 0 points in the first, 6 in the second, 10 in the third, and 15 in the fourth.
Clearly Manning had a chance to rock some damage back upon the Saints at the end of the fourth quarter as we have seen him do time and time again but Sean Payton, in all of his new found Man-Glory stood on the sidelines with the smug look of the kid who was coming into a playground fight to stick up for the little guy. His “we’re not going to take this anymore” attitude followed up by Peyton’s Manningface certainly helped to blow his case wide open and make him the next mastermind of the NFL.
Not the next Bill Belichick, but the first Sean Payton.