Saints Celebrate First NFL Title
ALAN RAY (Host): As if Mardi Gras weren’t enough, New Orleans now gets to celebrate its first NFL title this month. Joining us on Morning Edition live from Fort Lauderdale is North County Times columnist Jay Paris. Good morning, Jay.
JAY PARIS (North County Times, Sports Columnist): Good morning, how we doing?
RAY: Doing alright. Hey, SuperBowl XLIV in the record books. The Saints overcome an early 10-point deficit beat the Colts 31-17. This seemed like a really good football game.
PARIS: It was good, and in the manner as you said. They fell behind 10-nothing and they were trailing by four in the fourth quarter. And when you’re trailing in a big game and Peyton Manning is on the other side of the ball and you’re in your first Super Bowl, which many find hard to believe, the odds look pretty long. But, this is a gritty Saints team and there’s no more grittier than Drew Brees, the former Charger’s quarterback who had a day he’s going to long remember.
PAMELA DAVIS (Host): Yea, he was voted MVP. Tell us about his performance.
PARIS: He was. 32 out of 39. Great accuracy as always … you know, he doesn’t throw the ball 100 yards, he doesn’t wow you with laser passes. All he does is get the path to his receiver’s hands. He’s a special player, and that’s special coach too Sean Payton, the Saints’ coach. Going for it on fourth-and-1. He didn’t get it but he kind of sent a message, “We’re here today, we’re here to win.” And then the onsides kick to open the second half just changed the entire game.
RAY: Well, you know, this was supposed to be the Chargers’ Super Bowl and now we have Running back Ladanian Tomilson saying he thinks the Chargers’ will be letting him go before they get to one. Do you think it’s over between LT and the Chargers?
PARIS: I think so. I think the way his contract is structured he’s certainly it wasn’t productive for him to earn $5 million next season. The writing’s kind of been on the walls, if he leaves with him saying, he’s going to move on and the team’s going to move on as well. These things can be sticky. There’s no really good way to do it. You just hope for the sake of the Chargers and all their fans and LT that the organization can send him out with one last victory lap or a press conference or something that shows how much he’s meant to this franchise.
DAVIS: Well, it’s clear that LT still thinks he can play, would he suit up for another team, or?
PARIS: Oh, absolutely. He’s a competitor and he’s healthy. He wasn’t used all that much this past season. He did miss a couple games with an ankle injury. His knees are fine. He might think he still has more left in that tank than others, but all it takes … there’s 32 teams and all you’ve got to do is convince one of them that you can still be productive and I think he’s going to be able to do that.
RAY: Two-years left on the contract and a $2 million bonus early in March. You think the team will buy him out for a million bucks? What do you think the Chargers will do?
PARIS: Yea, I think they will. This is a see change in this organization under Norv Turner in how they approach things, in how they want to move the football and how they want to build a championship team. So, I see them getting younger and cheaper here.
DAVIS: Real quickly, Don Coryell? Up for enshrinement in the Pro-Football Hall of Fame and once again, came up short.
PARIS: Yea, fell a little short, passed over if you will, and it’s really a shame. Not making a Super Bowl during his illustrious coaching career is really the black mark on that resume. And, I can understand that, but if you look around at his impact on all the other teams, and how the league throws the ball. You know, everyone passes now and that’s directly related to Coach Coryell. He was doing all this stuff back in the 70’s and 80’s and everyone else has now caught up. They need to get Don in there.
RAY: He was actually West Coast offense before they had a name for it, right?
PARIS: That’s what kills us. He never won a Super Bowl but you’ve got seven or eight coaches that took his system and went on to win a Super Bowl. So, while Coach didn’t win it himself, certainly his DNA and his fingerprints are all over a lot of Super Bowl trophies.
RAY: That’s North County Times Sports Columnist Jay Paris.