Super Bowl week is a magical time of year. The world rings with the sounds of hyperventilating fanbases and the ever so subtle scent of desperation wafts over you. So does the scent of the overabundance of alcohol that you will inevitably be drinking. The outcome/nature of the game will decide when. I remember the last time I hyperventilated for an entire week before the big day, that sting of desperation for that long escapable big win. I wasn’t old enough to drink at the time but by the end of that game, I was desperate for an elixir. This is my nightmare story of the last time my team, the Indianapolis Colts, were in the Super Bowl.
The Bowl Build Up
The year was 2010, I was just 12 years old. Years prior I had converted into being a Colts fan after I fell in love with Peyton Manning and that early 2000’s Colts offense and most of you know why. Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Edgerrin James, Dallas Clark were all elite weapons and the Colts were scoring gaudy numbers every week. The ’09 – ’10 season was no different.
Peyton Manning was the league MVP and the Colts were averaging 26 points a game. The difference-maker for the Colts this year was that they had a top ten defense for the first time (and probably the only time) in Peyton Manning’s career. This defense was lead by pro-bowlers Antoine Bethea (ball-hawking safety who had four interceptions that season), Robert Mathis (11 sacks and a nasty strip-sack move) and Dwight Freeney (10 sacks and he had a legendary spin-move). The Colts went 14-0 during the regular season and chose to rest their starters for the final two games of the year. It felt like the Colts hadn’t played a close game all year just blowing teams out of the water. They had no idea what was coming.
The Not So Hidden Super Bowl Storyline
The storyline leading into the Super Bowl was not in favor of the Colts. The entire media was focused on the underdog story that was the New Orleans Saints. The Saints offense was number one in the league but their defense was a mediocre 20th and the Colts were favored by five points going into the game. But the Saints had “destiny” behind them. Just a few years earlier Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the surrounding areas. The hurricane was so bad it flooded most of the city and destroyed most of their infrastructure. Citizens of New Orleans were sent to the Superdome for safety and shelter. Now fast forward a few years and here were the Drew Brees led Saints playing the Super Bowl in Miami. No one wanted the Colts to win, even I felt bad for rooting for them. That was a lie.
I don’t even want to talk about the game. But in case you missed it.
The Colts drew first blood in the first quarter by a 38-yard field goal by Matt Stover. The Colts then put together a 96-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Pierre Garcon. That drive tied the record for the longest scoring drive in Super Bowl history. The Colts led 10 to 0 at the end of one quarter.
The Saints failed to do much in the first quarter but got on the board for the first time in the second quarter with a 46-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley. The Colts then held the Saints at the one-yard line on 3rd and 4th down. Unfortunately, the Colts ended up punting from their own end zone just three plays later. This allowed Brees enough time before the half to sneak back into field goal range and Hartley made it 10-6 at the half with a 44-yard field goal. This was the first time the score 10-6 had ever occurred at half-time of a Super Bowl game.
The third quarter is where everything went to hell. Probably the most famous onside kick in NFL history occurred to start the second half and while I will dispute to this day that the Colts recovered. The Saints were ruled to have recovered. That was all the momentum the Saints needed and they proceeded to drive 58 yards down the field capping it off with a touch down to Pierre Thomas. All of a sudden the Saints led 13-10. But the Colts came storming back following up with a 76-yard drive that finished with Joseph Addai walking in from four yards out. The Colts led 17-13. The Saints would respond, driving down the field and kicking a field goal from 47 yards out making it 17-16 Colts. Hartley became the first kicker to kick three field goals of 40 yards or more in a Super Bowl.
The fourth quarter began with the Colts driving into field goal range. However, Matt Stover missed, giving the Saints great field position. That led Brees to drive down the field and cap off another touchdown drive with a 2-yard pass to Jeremy Shockey. The Saints went for two to make it a 7 point game and were successful. That made it 24-17. It was do or die time for the Colts. Manning began his march down the field, driving into Saints field position. It seemed a foregone conclusion the Colts were going to score and tie the game. Then it happened, Manning took the snap, dropped back to pass, looked left for Reggie Wayne and never saw Tracy Porter. Porter stepped in front and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown losing his mind the whole way.
The Super Bowl Story and Sorrow
I’ve never been so depressed in my life and the worst part is, I knew it was coming. No, I didn’t have a premonition. No, I am not psychic. Not at all. In fact, I had been watching the Super Bowl with my entire family and we had paused it at some point and we were approx. five minutes behind real-time. I was unaware that we were not watching live TV. Well as the Colts began their inevitable game-tying drive I got a text. One of my best friends at the time had sent me a text about Peyton Manning throwing a pick-six. I had no idea what he was talking about, he’s full of it, right? WRONG. Peyton threw that ball to Tracy Porter and I dropped to my knees like I had been shot and this was my dramatic death scene. While everyone else celebrated the underdog Saints winning the Super Bowl. I wept like a child.
Follow me on Twitter @sfgiantsera for more Colt’s news and notes.
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