Let’s Go Saints, Let’s Go!

As a newbie to American football, and to be fair, mainly watching more so for The Who’s halftime show, I am by no means an expert heading into Superbowl 44 (XLIV if you insist).

So starting with what I know best, let’s skip straight to the aforementioned halftime show; which surely couldn’t hope to equal, let alone surpass Springsteen’s phenomenal outing in 2009. And unsurprisingly it didn’t. But what was surprising was how drastically The Who failed. Other than the actual songs picked for their 12 minutes of glory – rightfully showcasing only their best moments;  ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Baba O’ Reilly’, ‘Who Are You’, ‘See Me, Feel Me’ and closer ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ – sounding somewhat like a bizarre CSI montage, everything else just felt wrong. From not having the fans on the pitch and around the stage, to Townsend’s often shouty backing vocals, the whole set lacked both the heart and soul Springsteen brought.

Moving onto the actual game itself; and despite knowing virtually nothing about the sport before, I was pleasantly surprised by the classic David / Goliath match-up that brought together the underdogs New Orleans Saints with favourites the Indianapolis Colts. Whilst the age-old preconceptions about American football are true; too many stoppages and adverts; the four quarters built to an increasingly exciting and suspense finale; which after the Colts took an early lead with their clinical and efficient drives; it was the Saints who persevered and managed to take the momentum in the second half, which climaxed with a missed field goal attempt by the Colts, and a superb interception from Tracy Porter giving the Saints a two score lead of 31 – 17 with only minutes to spare.

Of course, much is being made of the Saints win; a team which was central to the rebuilding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and with a fittingly strong comeback here it’s hard not to be carried along in the emotion of it all. The NFL might not have made a dedicated follower out of me just yet, but I will look forward to Superbowl 45 with much anticipation.

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