Early on in youth sports after we learn the purpose of shaking hands in the team line & sportsmanship, we pick up the next lesson of never pinning a loss on the back of one team member. There will always be heroes and oftentimes obvious goats. But we’re taught never to single out one play or player as the cause for a loss.
Forget the fact that had the Colts won, Peyton Manning* would have been celebrated, his every word and action further venerated. We’re not supposed to talk about that. Don’t talk about the momentum swing that occurred as a result of pickoff that he threw in the fourth quarter.
Don’t focus on the negative; see the positive.
Note how Tracy Porter (and his hair) was a one-man show. How he (and the Saints defense) thwarted Peyton’s heroes on their quest to a second title in a matter of years. With his interception return of 74 yards for a touchdown, Porter sucked the wind of the Colts’ collective sails. Also remember that he had a key interception against Brett Favre two weeks prior and perhaps helped to write the final chapter in another storied career, inserting himself as a footnote there as well.
With Porter’s interception, he wasn’t exalted by himself. A whole city was given vindication…at least for a moment. Make no mistake about it: New Orleans did not magically recover from the devastation of Katrina because of a sporting event. Nobody’s that delusional, even though the media’s trying their best to sell the idea. But everybody who suffers deserves to be given a ray of hope to cling to and many Americans invest quite a bit of emotional energy into this business of sports. The revelry in the NO (which David D can attest) is all the way turnt up © Travis Porter, no relation, and may not come down with Mardi Gras right around the corner.
So don’t worry about the goat. Focus your attention on Tracy Porter, the Saints – the team formerly known as “The Aint’s” – and the city of New Orleans.
And two final things.
1. Tracy, be careful. As quick as the media attention and momentum have built to a swell, the fall from grace can be swift and brutal. Ask one of their most recent victims, Plaxico.
2. Detroit, there’s still hope. 2011 could be very well be yours.
*By and large, Manning is still the league’s best QB. Name another who’s had a higher trajectory over the course of his career. And when he puts down his pads for the final time, his name will likely be said with all the greats.