WAY BACK WHEN
Feb. 7, 2010.
On that date in history, you could still rent a movie from a Blockbuster video store, Justin Bieber was a no-name Canadian teenager, and popular social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and TikTok didn’t even exist yet.
Despite the vast technological differences, that day will be remembered by New Orleans Saints fans as the greatest day in the team’s history.
Four years, five months, and nine days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast region, the city’s cherished NFL franchise defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17, in Super Bowl XLIV at Sunlife Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
It was the team’s first and only Super Bowl win in its then 43-year history since the team launched in 1967. Before the 2009 season, the Saints had only recorded six winning seasons and two playoff wins.
Ironically, the Saints, led by quarterback Drew Brees who would be named the game’s MVP, defeated New Orleans native Peyton Manning in the contest. Even more, ironically, Petyon is the son of Archie Manning, who was the Saints’ quarterback from 1971 to 1982.
Manning settled in New Orleans while playing for the Saints and his three sons, Cooper, Peyton, and Eli, played football at Newman High School in New Orleans.
Archie Manning told the Indianapolis Star newspaper that “blood is thicker than water” when asked who he would be rooting for in the days leading up to the game. He said during the interview with the newspaper that he would be pulling for his son, Peyton, as he chased his second Super Bowl win in four years.
Archie and 74,058 other people would be in attendance at Sunlife Stadium on Feb. 7, 2010, with an average of 106.5 million people watching from home, according to Nielsen. Although not official, it’s likely almost the entire state of Louisiana was watching or listening to the game.
THE KICKOFF SAINTS FANS WAITED 43 YEARS FOR
Both teams were on a 13-game winning streak entering the game. The Saints would win the coin toss to start the game but went three-and-out on their first drive. They would fail to score during the first quarter and the Colts would lead 10-0 at the beginning of the second quarter.
Garret Hartley, who kicked the Saints’ game-winning field goal in overtime of the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings two weeks prior, would hit a pair of field goals in the second quarter to cut the Colts’ lead to 10-6 at halftime.
THE SECOND HALF
The Saints would make history at the start of the second half when punter Thomas Morstead attempted an onside kick. It was the first onside kick attempt before the fourth quarter in Super Bowl history.
Morstead’s kick traveled 15 yards before bouncing off the face mask of Colts wide receiver Hank Baskett, who failed to recover the ball, and was recovered by Saints safety Chris Reiss on the Saints’ 42-yard line.
The onside kick recovery energized the team and Brees led the Saints down the field on a 58-yard scoring drive in which they never faced a third down. Running back Pierre Thomas would score a touchdown on a 16-yard pass with blocking help from six fellow Saints, taking the lead, 13-10.
Manning and the Colts would respond with their own 76-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession, reclaiming the lead, 17-13. It was the second time in Super Bowl history both teams had scored on their initial possessions of the second half.
Hartley would kick a 47-yard field goal to cut the Colts’ lead to one. The 17-16 score at the end of the third quarter was the second closest Super Bowl after three quarters, second only to Super Bowl XXXIX five years earlier.
The Colts would miss a 51-yard field goal on the first drive of the fourth quarter. Brees and the Saints would start with good field possession at their own 41-yard line and end with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey.
Sean Payton would dial up a gutsy two-point conversion that would initially result in being an incomplete pass to wide receiver Lance Moore at the goal line. The call would be overturned after Payton challenged it, giving the Saints the lead at 24-17.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED
On the Colts’ ensuing drive, Saints cornerback Tracy Porter would ease the heart valves of Saints fans by intercepting Manning’s pass at the Saints 26-yard line and returning it 74 yards for a touchdown to extend the Saints’ lead to 31-17 with 3:12 left in the game.
However, Saints fans would remain on their feet in their living rooms or bars and restaurants for the remainder of the game.
Manning and the Colts, armed with all three timeouts at the start of the ensuing drive, marched all the way down to the Saints’ three-yard line.
A pass interference call against the Colts would back them up 10 yards. Two incomplete passes and a two-yard loss on a running play would seal the Saints’ victory.
Minutes later, Saints fans would witness the moment they had waited all of their lives for as the team hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The celebration would start immediately in New Orleans and across the state of Louisiana. A few days later, the city of New Orleans would honor the team with a Mardi Gras-style victory parade.
RELIVE IT ALL OVER AGAIN
You can relive the Saints’ iconic Super Bowl XLIV win, when WAFB-TV airs the game in its entirety, on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.
WAFB will also be replaying four other historic Saints games, including the 2018 Monday Night Football game in which Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning’s all-time passing record of 71,940 yards.
The Saints’ 2006 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, in which coach Sean Payton beat his mentor Bill Parcels, and the Saints’ 2006 victory over the New England Patriots will also air on WAFB.
Saturday, Aug. 22: 2010 Super Bowl Saints vs Colts (7 p.m. on WAFB)
Saturday, Aug. 29: 2018 Saints vs Redskins (7 p.m. on WAFB)
Saturday, Sept. 5: 2006 Saints vs Patriots (2 p.m. on *WBXH)
Saturday, Sept. 5: 2006 Saints vs Cowboys (7 p.m. on WAFB)
WAFB will also air four historic LSU football games. Click here for the schedule of LSU replays.
See more photos from the Saints winning Super Bowl XLIV in the gallery below.
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