Saints bring hope to the people of New Orleans

Nathan Stacken

Nathan Stacken

Welcome to another edition of the Stack Attack. The Super Bowl matchup has been set. It will be the Indianapolis Colts facing the New Orleans Saints on Feb. 7 in Miami. There will be plenty of time to look ahead to that game next week. For now though, here are some things that stood out to me from Championship Sunday last week:

1. Turnovers kill Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings outgained the New Orleans Saints 475 to 257 in yards, seemingly out-playing the Saints on both sides of the ball, but they couldn’t hang onto the football. The Vikings had five turnovers to the Saints’ one, and the Vikings probably should have had more than just those five turnovers. They could not hang on to the ball at all and had two fumbles inside the red zone, including one at the end of the half when Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson muffed the handoff. Peterson had 125 yards rushing and three touchdowns, but he fumbled three times, losing two of them. He must address that in the offseason. Favre himself threw two interceptions including one at the end of the game that cost the Vikings a shot at a potential game-winning field goal. The Vikings had ample opportunities to put the Saints away and they did not. Now they have the entire offseason to think, “What if?” They were the better team last Sunday, and they have only themselves to blame for not facing the Colts in the Super Bowl.

2. Was this the last we’ve seen of Brett Favre?

Favre himself admitted that he does not know if he will come back for another season. He sounded deflated at his podium right after the game taking questions from reporters. Favre just needs to take some time to relax at his home in Mississippi, and let his batteries recharge both mentally and physically before he makes a decision. The Vikings should give him all of the time in the world to let him make his decision. Most Vikings fans would love to have him back for one final season to see if he can get the Vikings over the hump and to the Super Bowl. If we have seen the last of Favre, consider this. His last throw as a Green Bay Packer was an interception in the 2008 NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants? and potentially his last throw as a Viking was an interception in the 2010 NFC Championship Game. Just something to think about.

3. Saint’s win means so much for the city of New Orleans.

Four years ago, the Saints signed quarterback Drew Brees and hired Sean Payton to be the head coach of a football team that was as ravaged by Hurricane Katrina as the city. Together now, they have led the Saints to their first Super Bowl in franchise history and fans are loving it. No group of fans loves their team as much as New Orleans Saints fans. There is just a certain connection they have with this team. The Saints helped the city through Hurricane Katrina and when they played their first game in the Superdome 13 months after Katrina hit, it was a symbol of how much progress New Orleans has made. Bourbon Street was packed with thousands of ecstatic Saints fans minutes after their win on Sunday. The Saints know what this win means for the city, and they know just how much more a Super Bowl title would mean. It’s a little extra pressure, but they say so what. The fans have embraced this team with open arms, and the Saints are embracing the opportunity to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to the Big Easy.

4. Peyton Manning and the Colts look really good.

I know that sounds like common sense, but considering how many people were picking the New York Jets to win last Sunday, I think we need to take a few minutes to remember just how good the Colts are. The Jets had the league’s best running game during the season, but the Colts’ defense did a good job of not allowing the big run and forcing the Jets to beat them through the air. Reggie Wayne, the Colts’ best receiver, was covered by the Jets and the league’s best corner Darrelle Revis for much of the game. So Manning went about throwing the ball to rookie wide receiver Austin Collie and former Division III wide receiver Pierre Garcon who each caught a touchdown. The Colts scored the game’s last 24 points en route to their 30-17 victory and second Super Bowl appearance in four seasons. It is going to be awfully tough for the Saints to beat the Colts.

5. Quick look ahead to Super Bowl XLIV.

I’ll give you key matchups and players and storylines for the Super Bowl next week, but I’ll briefly talk about the Super Bowl. The Saints are appearing in their first Super Bowl in franchise history. The Colts are looking for their second Super Bowl victory in four years. The Saints are a feel-good story in the NFL. The Colts have the best quarterback in the NFL in Peyton Manning. This will be a Super Bowl with two high-powered offenses, so expect a lot of scoring. I sense that this will be a Super Bowl fans will really like, because both teams have likeable players and there is not that venomous hatred like there is for certain teams. Look for more on the Super Bowl next week.