Time to put on the coaching hat and break down some of the big calls Jim Caldwell and Sean Payton made in Super Bowl XLIV.
- With time ticking in the first half, the Saints had 3:52 on the clock and 1st and goal from the Indianapolis 3 yard line. 1st down was an incomplete pass. A false start penalty moves them back to the 8 but Pierre Thomas runs for 7 yards to give the Saints 3rd and goal from the 1. Sean Payton decides to run to the right again, for no gain. I don’t like the call. Stick to what you’re best at. Give the ball to Brees, double-team Freeney to give him time and put Reggie Bush in the game to dump it off to if no-one gets open in the endzone.
- The very next play, 4th and goal from the 1. Sean Payton decides to run it… off right tackle… again. Once again, stopped for no gain. No play-action pass, no Reggie Bush. I don’t like the call and it cost them 3 points. But not to worry…
- On the next drive, the Colts ran it three times and punted it back to the Saints. I don’t like the call from Jim Caldwell not to try one pass here, to try to get the first down to see out the half. This effectively gave back the 3 points that the Saints missed out on due to the failure on 4th and goal.
- The Saints opened up the second half with a surprise onside kick which found its way back to their possession via Hank Baskett’s head. I love the call because it was gutsy, it shifted the momentum that was already starting to swing the Saints’ way at the end of the 1st half, and it helps that it worked…
After that, there weren’t many controversial coaching calls in the 2nd half. One thing I did note was that the Colts were very conservative in their offensive play calling, only going deep once of note, to Collie in the endzone which was such a bad decision by Manning that Collie had to play some defense to stop Vilma getting the pick. The rest of the Colts’ loss for me had a lot to do with Reggie Wayne, he wasn’t where he needed to be on Tracy Porter’s pick six, and he dropped the ball on 4th and goal to effectively end the game.
Congratulations to the Saints!