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Press-box notes and observations from the Saints' 31-17 win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV ...
1. It's surprising one of the most pass-happy Super Bowls of all time could be one of the more boring ones of this past decade. Nothing inspires less imagination than a 4-yard pass and 4-yard run after the catch. Bring back the days of Lynn Swann catching long bombs. The 8-yard pass play is just too easy right now. That’s one of the reasons why this Super Bowl would have been more fun with Brett Favre in it.
2. On the surface, Sean Payton's decisions to go for it on fourth down and try an onside kick seemed like two of the gutsiest calls in Super Bowl history. But not for the NFL's No. 1 offense. Payton knew Dwight Freeney was basically done and he'd be able to rack up points against the Colts. Payton's risks were very calculated. He always knew he could score points and didn’t mind playing from behind.
3. Drew Brees ran a clinic in how to neutralize a pass rush with quick passes in the second half -- evidence that quarterbacks are mostly responsible for sacks. Every time you hear an offensive line can't protect a quarterback, that's probably not an accurate statement. Whether it's the David Carr-run Texans or the Steelers' offensive line in front of Ben Roethlisberger. "Brees makes everyone look better by getting rid of it quickly -- receivers, running backs, linemen," Reggie Bush said after the game. "You just know what you have to do and it’s easier."
4. Bush showed he was a nice player this postseason, and had a nice game in the Super Bowl; but the Saints don't need him moving forward. Just like the Colts, they can fill in tons of parts as long as they have Brees. Bush, who is due a lot of money from New Orleans, might be better served in a more featured role in a place like Seattle or San Francisco. He'd have a better chance to be a real star elsewhere.
5. The Colts' Jim Caldwell clearly lost the emotional battle to Sean Payton. This was not a night for Caldwell's unflappable style. Would have been nice to see him kick a speaker or something in the postgame press conference. But he was as steady as always ... and not in a good way.
6. Before long, a coach will arrive that will go for it on fourth down a considerably higher percentage of the time than anyone else in the NFL. Bill Belichick probably overdid it this year, although his strategy was still valid even if the execution wasn't there consistently enough. Caldwell's decision to have Matt Stover try a 51-year-old field goal was unwise.
7. A first-time Super Bowl-winning coach has captured the last five titles. (In order: Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Tom Coughlin, Mike Tomlin and now Payton). No head coach with a Super Bowl ring is a lock to get another one in today's game. Makes me wonder if Washington really struck gold with Mike Shanahan.
8. The Saints' Tracy Porter said he knew exactly what play was coming before he jumped Reggie Wayne's route for a pick-six. The Colts offense seemed surprisingly predictable at times. How can that happen with such a creative coordinator in Tom Moore and the cerebral Peyton Manning?
9. Several reporters asked Brees if the Saints' win paralleled New Orleans' recovery as a city. Brees and the Saints have bought into this emotional wave and it gave them an edge. But to honestly believe a sports team's success can have a sustainable positive effect on a community seems naïve. Not to dampen the party, but Brees efficiently running the Saints' offense has nothing to do with real urban renewal. How many people's lives is this really going to affect in a meaningful way for more than a few weeks?
10. The Saints will not repeat. They won't even get back to the Super Bowl. Disagree? Hit the "Comments" below.