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."
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
Latest in Sport
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer talk: Juan Cuadrado Chelsea move imminent; Manchester United eye Nathaniel Clyne; Andre Schurrle medical at Wolfsburg
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...
£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...