What are the best moments for each NFL franchise? Yahoo Sports provides our opinion, which you are free to disagree with (and we’re sure you will).
5. Tracy Porter picks off Brett Favre
Two Tracy Porter interceptions in the top five? Well, yeah, dude had a hell of a few weeks. Two weeks before picking off Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLIV, Porter and the New Orleans Saints were on the ropes against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game. Tie game, 19 seconds remaining, Brett Favre had the Vikings driving for the winning score. All he needed was to pick up a few more yards, putting Ryan Longwell in comfortable field-goal position and the Vikings would be on their way to Super Bowl XLIV. Only it didn’t work out that way. Porter stepped in front of Sidney Rice, picked off Favre’s cross-body pass, sending the game to overtime, where the Saints won on a Garrett Hartley field goal sending them to Super Bowl XLIV … where Tracy Porter clinched victory with his pick of Peyton Manning.
4. Tom Dempsey’s kick
For years, Tom Dempsey’s 63-yard winning field goal against the Detroit Lions way back in 1970 remained a cultish sort of record, partly because making a field goal from your own 37-yard line is insane but mostly because Dempsey did it with half of a foot. A kicker with no toes? It’s like a one-handed pitcher throwing a no-hitter. (Yeah, humans are resilient beings.) For the Saints, Dempsey’s kick was for years about the only positive NFL record the organization held.
3. Steve Gleason’s punt block
For a large number of Saints fans, the greatest play in Saints history is Steve Gleason’s punt block in Week 3 of the 2006 season against the Atlanta Falcons. The block came on the fourth play of the first game back at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina, and for residents of the city, it signaled that New Orleans was back. Outside the Superdome there is but one statue of a Saints player – it’s not of Drew Brees, not of Archie Manning. It’s of a laid-out Steve Gleason blocking a punt with the singular message underneath: Rebirth.
2. Tracy Porter’s pick six in Super Bowl XLIV
Here’s the situation: Peyton Manning has the Indianapolis Colts on the move for a game-tying touchdown with just over three minutes to go in Super Bowl XLIV. Manning’s got his favorite formation – three wide left, shotgun, single back – and his favorite target, Reggie Wayne, lined up at the Saints’ 31-yard line. It’s all looking good for the Colts … until Tracy Porter, not fooled by the zig-zag motion, jumps the route, intercepts Manning’s pass at the 26 and is off to the races. Touchdown. 31-17. Ballgame. Saints are Super Bowl champions.
1. Signing Drew Brees
No Drew Brees, no Super Bowl appearance. No Super Bowl appearance, no Tracy Porter interception. Via the transitive property, that makes the gamble the Saints took in 2006 on Brees and his supposed busted shoulder more important than the most important play in the organization’s history. And why not? Brees is arguably the greatest free-agent signing in NFL history. The Chargers were done with him. The Dolphins, after a six-hour physical, balked because of health concerns, leaving only the Saints, who out of the deal … got a Super Bowl victory, became perennial playoff contenders and, maybe most important, found a cornerstone which helped keep the Saints staked in New Orleans. That’s all.