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Katrina tragedy inspired Saints' Super Bowl win - Brees

Drew Brees

Highlights - Saints 31-17 Colts (UK users only)

New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees claimed the Hurricane Katrina disaster inspired his side to a 31-17 Super bowl win over Indianapolis Colts.

Four-and-a-half years ago, the hurricane left a trail of death and destruction along the Gulf Coast.

And Brees, who threw a record-equalling 32 passes for 288 yards to earn the Most Valuable Player award, said: "We played for so much more than ourselves.

"We played for our city and we played for the entire Gulf Coast region."

It was the Saints' first Super Bowl appearance after 42 years in the National Football League.

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And Brees, who moved to the Saints from San Diego as a free agent less than six months after Katrina hit New Orleans, described the victory as a triumph over adversity - both on and off the field.

"Four years ago, who thought this would be happening?" said the 31-year-old.

"When 85% of the city was under water, all of its residents evacuated to places all over the country, most people were wondering if New Orleans would ever come back or if the team would ever come back.

"But not only did the team come back and the city come back, so many players that are our core group of players came in that year as free agents and looked at one another and said 'we're going to rebuild together; we're going to lean on each other'.

We played for our city and we played for the entire Gulf Coast region

Drew Brees

"That's what we've done here for the last four years and this is the culmination of all that belief and that faith."

Brees' team had trailed 10-0 at the end of the first quarter, however, they hit back with 13 unanswered points before an audacious gamble from Saints coach Sean Payton paid off when he opted for a short kick-off to start the second half.

New Orleans came out with the ball from the ensuing melee and Brees hit Pierre Thomas for the go-ahead score as Saints seized the initiative.


And Brees, who also hit Jeremy Shockley with a two-yard touchdown pass to give the Saints a 22-16 lead with six minutes remaining, was quick to pay tribute to his coach's aggressive decision-making.

"Our coach is unbelievable," Brees said. "Not only as an offensive guru, an aggressive, confident play-caller who can instil all that into his players, but as a guy who has to manage so much.

"He does it with class and there's nobody that I wanted to win this championship for more than Sean Payton."

Colts head coach Jim Caldwell saw his team's chances of victory effectively ended when a pass from quarter-back Peyton Manning was picked for a 74-yard interception touchdown by Tracy Porter in the fourth quarter.

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However, he refused to pinpoint that moment as the key to defeat, saying: "I don't think it boils down to just one play.

"We were missing a little bit and weren't quite as sharp as we would have liked but we've got to give all credit to the Saints."

Payton, meanwhile, echoed Brees' sentiments as he hailed his team's resurgent home city: "I'm proud of this team, these coaches and everybody back in New Orleans."

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see also
Saints upset Colts in Super Bowl
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New Orleans parties after NFL win
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Super Bowl XLIV as it happened
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Super Bowl XLIV photos
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Saints march to Super Bowl
05 Feb 10 |  American Football
Saints and Colts reach Super Bowl
25 Jan 10 |  American Football
Super Bowl semi-finals as they happened
24 Jan 10 |  American Football
American football on the BBC
18 Jan 10 |  American Football

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