Super Bowl XLIV
Super Bowl XLIV was one of the more exciting NFL Super Bowls in recent history, and featured two of the best teams in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints. The Colts finished the season with an NFL best 14-2 record, while the Saints finished with a 13-3 record. This game featured a match-up between two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Drew Brees of the Saints and Peyton Manning of the Colts. Brees went on to complete 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns, and his 32 completions tied a Super Bowl record which was set by Tom Brady five years earlier. The game was played on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, and this would actually be the first time in 16 years that both number one seeds from the two conferences made it the Super Bowl.
This was the Saints only Super Bowl appearance in history, and they reached the big game by knocking off the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings. The Colts were playing in their fourth Super Bowl, and made it there by beating the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets. While this was the first Super Bowl ever for the New Orleans Saints, they made the most of it with a 31-17 win in the end; putting them in a select group of teams with the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as teams to earn a victory in their only Super Bowl appearance. Drew Brees ended up winning the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player Award with his impressive performance, but the biggest play came late in the fourth quarter as Peyton Manning and the Colts were driving to get a game tying score with just over 3 minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the Colts, Manning was intercepted by Tracy Porter, and it was returned 74 yards for a touchdown, to give the Saints a 31-17 lead with 3:12 left in the game.
This Colts team is widely considered to be one of the best all around teams to date during the regular season, as they started off 14-0. Their first loss came to the New York Jets when head coach Jim Caldwell decided to sit his starters in a close game to rest them for the playoffs (as they had already clinched the top seed), instead of attempting to go for a 16-0 undefeated season. The Colts then went on to lose their last game to the Bills, as they rested the starters once again. Even more impressive than the Colts overall record, was their ability to win in close games; as they won seven games by less than a single touchdown. The team was led by an incredible season from MVP quarterback Peyton Manning, as he threw for 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns, and held an incredible 99.9 passer rating as well. Manning was sacked just 13 times throughout the entire season, which led the league for the fewest in the NFL.