Probably the most beautiful thing about basking in on the "Scoreboard" as a Saints fan is to hear the accolades and respect that this team is earning from peers and pros alike.
A close second, though, would be the moaning, groaning, and outright crying of the more insufferable of Colts Fan, attempting to make excuses for why their supposedly superior team ended up on the losing side.
Of course, it would probably be the same on our side if the Saints had lost...but you'd think that even the most jaded Who Dat would be willing to give at least some respect to the winning team with the minimum of "sour grapes".
But, just as victory is bringing out the best in Saints fans, it has brought out some of the typical stages of denial in Colts Fan; the notion that since their team wasn't supposed to lose this game, there must be some conspiracy theory afoot to deny them what was supposedly theirs for the taking.
What I am about to fisk, though, goes beyond mere denial, and crosses the line over the cliff into sheer lunacy.
Allow me to present the latest in lame excuses by a disgruntled Colts fan for losing Super Bowl XLIV: "The Great Referee Fix"....as produced by Charles Kellett of The Bleacher Report, a Colts fan page powered by both Facebook and CBSSports.com.
I have been a Colt fan and an NFL fan for almost forty years. I don't know if I will be watching the NFL next year. I know that I probably will, but that Super Bowl really gave me reason to question the integrity of the league.
Ahhhh, yeah...because your team lost, the whole NFL is tainted. Get in line with the other 30 teams not with a championship this year, Mr. Kellett. I suppose you weren't saying that after Indy won in 2006, right??
I did not understand that scowl that Peyton Manning had on his face when he walked into the stadium. I thought maybe he was tired of the cameras in his face, or that it was a put-on, however, in hindsight, I think he was told that the fix was in for the Saints to win.
Told by whom?? Jim Caldwell?? Roger Goddell?? The officials themselves?? Considering that Peyton always seems to scowl before a game, perhaps you misread this as something other than pregame face??
So, we ask...just how was the fix put in for the Saints?? Kellett elaborates:
The first two receptions by the Colts had a very clear defensive hold and a pass interference. No Flag was thrown. I had a bad feeling when I saw that. Even with the Colts up by ten I knew something was wrong. A defensive lineman for the Colts (unnamed) twittered after the game that he went to the refs to report that he was being held consistently and the ref would not even make eye contact with him. "Usually when I tell the ref that I'm being held he will ask his number. Tonight I got no response, not even eye contact. He would not even look at me! That makes me think." A previous post was "I guess America wanted the Saints to win." I think the NFL wanted the Saints to win.
Of course, the fact that the Colts managed to secure a 10-0 lead and overcome these supposed "blown calls" probably doesn't register too well with Mr. Kellett. I guess that Pierre Garcon's critical drop of a third down pass was part of the fix, too?? Or, the goal line stand by the Colt D at the end?? Or Mike Bell slipping on the turf due to having the wrong cleats on the third-and-goal run?? Or, Marques Colston dropping a sure pass in the first quarter?? Yeah, that would be some conspiracy against the Colts.
Oh...and great journalism, Mr. Kellett, to rely on the tweet of "an unnamed lineman" who complained about being held. Gee, as if the Colts weren't holding consistently, too?? And perhaps the "let them play" attitude of the officiating crew which is standard fare for most Super Bowls wasn't merely a ploy to keep the Colts bottled up?? It sure kept Dwight Freeney from getting to Drew Brees, didn't it?
The turning point in the game was really the on-side kick to start the second half. It was not shown during the game, but a day later they released the replay that showed Baskett with both hands on the ball and he and the ball were on the ground in contact with an opposing player. That is a recovery right there. Give Peyton the ball at mid-field and that is a guarantee for at least 3. 13-6 or more likely 17-6. That changes the game big time.
Ahhhh...nice try, but most replays I've seen clearly show the ball going off Baskett's hands, then off his helmet, then bouncing backwards towards Chris Weis, who then got the ball wedged between his legs above the kneecaps. And then, after the proverbial scrum, it clearly shows a Saints player coming up with the ball. The rule on recovery requires not just both hands and contact, but also POSSESSION... and Baskett had neither.
Now, if the Colts had regained possession of the ball, chances are pretty likely that they would have gone down the field and scored at least a field goal or a touchdown...but you just never know in a Super Bowl, don't you? The fact remains that the Saints did recover...but still, recovery didn't automatically translate into a score; the Saints still had to convert their "lucky break" into points. Perhaps the Colts D were as in on the Great Fix by refusing to stop Drew Brees as the officials apparently were, Mr. Kellett???
Also....you do know that the Colts responded to the ensuing Saints TD with a drive of their own that produced a touchdown that allowed them to regain the lead..right?? Don't you think that if there was a fix against the Colts, there would be something that would happen during that drive??
I watch the replays of the Saints highlights and in virtually every one of their big plays there were obvious holding calls that were not made. Penalties: Saints 3-19 Colts 5-45. The Colts had only five in their other two post season games. I think this is why Tony Dungy retired after the loss to San Diego. That game was stolen by the officials and this one was to. NFL politics. The integrity of the NFL is a really big question to me now. I have in the past, but this one really was blatant and a lot of people had to know to cover it up. All the analysts were in too. The TV people were clearly in to cut away and not show certain replays to cover for what the refs were doing.
Oh, really?? I mean, it's not as if Drew Brees didn't have such a quick release to throw the ball before the D could get to him, or that the Saints O line happens to have no less than three All-Pros who have been consistant in protecting their franchise QB. Or, maybe, it was the bad tackling of the Colts defenders against the Saints receivers (no less than three missed tackles on the Robert Meachem screen alone). Or, maybe Freeney's ankle just couldn't hold up for 60 minutes of football...or was the lenghty halftime show of The Who part of The Great Fix, too??
I'm surprised that Kellett didn't attempt to say that Tracy Porter's game clinching Pick-6 was invalid because he chucked Reggie Wayne illegally before jumping on the "smash" route and returning it to the house. (OK, so Bobby McCray may have blocked Manning behind the back on the runback. Some calls you miss...too bad.)
I will probably watch next season because I love me some Colt football, but I think that I have made up my mind as to what the NFL is about, and I think that it is AWFUL.
Oh, waaaaaahhhh!!! Just because your beloved team just got beat by a team you don't particularly like, you're ready to give up on the NFL.....but not your team?? Dude...you have a ring already. No one dictated that your team should win the Super Bowl every single year.
The only conspiracy that I see is in Charles Kellett's mind. For everyone else with a working brain cell, there is just clear fact. The New Orleans Saints BEAT the Indianapolis Colts through superior play, better and more aggressive playcalling, and timely plays when it mattered. Scoreboard sucks when you are on the wrong end of it, but sometimes you have to learn to accept it and move on. Goodness knows, Saints fans have had to accept it for the last 43 years.
To Charlie Kellett and Disgruntled Colts Fan: Chill out, grow a pair, accept your loss, and prepare for next year. I'm sure Sean Payton has more than enough cojones to share.