Well, the team of destiny won. Congratulations to all the Saints fans and the city of New Orleans. Since most of my friends are either Pats or Jets (or Giants) fans, none of them wanted Indy to win. So that's good for them too.
First thought for tonight is that all the commercials were horrible. I think the only really funny one was the Doritos gym ninja. It was just a really bad night of commercials. Does Go Daddy even hire an ad agency? Every commercial is the same thing.
The opening theme song choice of Run This Town was good, thought it was pretty clear as soon as I saw them performing it that Kanye wasn't going to be in it. Carrie Underwood's Star Spangled Banner was very good. She can really belt it. I did not like Queen Latifah's America the Beautiful. Too much changing of the song for my taste. The Who was pretty good overall. I really liked the circular stage with the light show. I was surprised they didn't hire a crowd to run down to the stage this year. Don't know why they didn't do that.
On to the football thoughts. The thing that stood out to me was that this game was so incredibly clean defensively. No defensive penalties that stopped the clock or kept drives alive by giving up automatic first downs.
The Saints still had problems converting on short yardage, with the goal line stop adding to the woes from the Vikings game. At least they can't draw Eagles comparisons because they actually won the big one.
The onside kick was a good call. The fact that this option was always available for Payton made the decision to take the ball first make a lot more sense.
I don't feel that either team's WRs played well. They all caught well-thrown balls, but there were a lot of balls missed and none of them really made any plays.
The 51 yard FG call by Caldwell was horrible. Stover's a quality kicker, but that is not really his range. How many times this season have coaches gone for bad field goals? I think that was a bigger momentum swing because the Colts answered the onside kick with their own drive very quickly.
Caldwell was clearly outcoached in this game. They got an early advantage with the surprise play of Freeney, but the Saints made all the adjustments throughout the game while Indy made none.
The Saints played not to give up the big play on defense, and this worked really well when their offense was able to dominate the time of possession in the second quarter.
Manning lost his cool at the end, which was very different from his aura of invincibility throughout the season. I don't mean the interception, that was just good defensive play jumping that route. They didn't have that swagger in their final drive. The swagger of inevitability of the Colts scoring just wasn't there. It was clearly important to hold on to 3 timeouts throughout that drive to give them an extra chance to come back, but Manning called that timeout, and knew he made a mistake as soon as he did it.
In the end, Indy lived and died with Manning. With his receivers not making big plays, it was too much for him to do. In the end, New Orleans was the better team, and everyone played pretty well, including Brees, Thomas, Bush, Henderson, Colston, etc.