No team has ever lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the regular season and went on to win the Super Bowl the same year, but that curse was lifted on Sunday night in Miami, Fla. when the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.
New Orleans came into Sunday's game as an underdog, so if you were betting on party bets, you would have been right to assume they would lose. But after falling behind early in the game, the Saints overcame a 10-point first quarter deficit to come out on top, which tied for the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Touchdown passes from quarterback Drew Brees to running back Pierre Thomas and tight end Jeremy Shockey, along with three Garrett Hartley field goals put New Orleans in position to win the game. Hartley's field goals were all longer than 40 yards and he became the first kicker in Super Bowl history to make three field goals of that length in a game.
The Saints also gained momentum after head coach Sean Payton made a risky decision to open the second half with an onside kick. Payton's call paid off as the kick was executed to perfection and New Orleans never looked back after that.
The defense also helped out, as they did all season long for the Saints, when cornerback Tracy Porter picked off a Peyton Manning pass with 3:12 remaining in the game and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown to secure the victory.
Even though the Colts' offense put up 432 total yards in the game, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and the Saints held them to only seven points in the second half after giving up 10 points in the first half of play.
Indianapolis put the first points on the board after a Matt Stover 38-yard field goal. Later in the first quarter, Peyton Manning connected with Pierre Garcon for the game's first touchdown. The Colts scored their only second half points in the third quarter when Joseph Addai finished off a 10-play, 76-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
The Saints' number one ranked offense finished the game with 332 total yards, and 288 of those yards came from the arm of Brees. Brees also completed 32 passes and added a pair of touchdowns to compile a 114.5 QB rating. After this impressive performance, Brees was named the Super Bowl MVP.
Although this year's Super Bowl was played in Miami for a record-breaking 10th time, it was a game of many firsts. The Saints victory in Super Bowl XLIV was the first of the franchise's 43-year history. The come-from-behind win also marked the first time that a team took a three-game losing streak into the playoffs and came out as a Super Bowl champion.
The second loss of the Saints' three-game skid at the end of the regular season was a 20-17 overtime upset to the Bucs. Tampa Bay's win over New Orleans was one of their three victories of the 2009 season.
PEWTERREPORT.COM 2009-10 FINAL STAFF PICK STANDINGS
Jim Flynn 178-88
Kim Roper 174-92
Charlie Campbell 172-94
Scott Reynolds 172-94
Hugh MacArthur 163-103