American Football: Saints show few signs of super hangover
Saturday 11 September 2010
The New Orleans Saints opened their Super Bowl title defence with a 14-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings that epitomised head coach Sean Payton's "back to business" mantra.
To celebrate the team's first NFL triumph, the opening night was marked with a rock concert in the city's Jackson Square and television viewers were treated to lengthy build-up. However, despite all the razzmatazz, inside the Louisiana Superdome, it was all about getting that first win.
It was clear though that the Saints were not going to be overawed by their first game since their emotional victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Miami in February.
"Anytime you're in a game like that where there are festivities and everything beforehand, you have got to remain calm," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said.
The occasion carried extra spice given that it was a win over the Vikings in New Orleans that clinched a berth in the Super Bowl and, while the game did not live up to high expectations, for Brees and company it was clearly "sweet to repeat".
"We talked about it all week long and obviously it was extremely exciting to prepare for a game like this," said Brees, who noted the improved display from a defence that struggled against the Vikings in last season's 31-28 overtime win. "Our defence took it personal. We gave up a lot of yards but we got some turnovers. Coming into this game we knew we would have to play better and obviously the defence played very, very well," he added.
Tight-end Jeremy Shockey added: "It's good but it's just one game. I know the fans have been waiting for this since Miami and I'm glad we got the win. The fans were great, they helped us out and made them jump offside a few times."
The only disappointed face in the Saints locker room belonged to kicker Garrett Hartley, whose overtime field goal sealed last season's Super Bowl triumph. This time he had a harder time of things, missing two field goals – mistakes which could well have proved costly.
"Things like that are inexcusable at this level," he lamented. "I just need to go back to my technique and understand what I did wrong. I need to come out next Monday night against the 49ers and put some points on the board."
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...
£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...