The League

Les Carpenter
Staff Writer

Les Carpenter

Yahoo! Sports reporter and former NFL writer for The Washington Post.

Katrina not enough


This will be remembered as one of the more entertaining Super Bowls, played by two great offenses and two excellent quarterbacks. The Saints comeback was wonderful and it was great to see something good happen in New Orleans where the rebuilding after Katrina has been so challenging. All of these factors helped to make the game the most watched television event ever.

But it's not the most significant Super Bowl. Not even in the top five. It doesn't rise to the level of importance of the Jets victory over Baltimore in Super Bowl III that gave the game a significance it lacked in the first two games and also led to the eventual NFL-AFL merger. It's also hard to see it as meaningful as the Dolphins capping an undefeated season in Super Bowl VII or Rams victory in Atlanta that took Kurt Warner from unknown stockboy to Super Bowl champion. Tom Brady's first Super Bowl victory in New Orleans the year after 9-11 was memorable, as was the Giants upset of Brady's Patriots three years ago.

Sunday's game had its own sense of drama but a two-touchdown victory does not make a Super Bowl great. And the Saints, while pulling off an upset, did win 13 games this year and have been one of the league's best offenses since 2006. It was a good game, a fun game and set off the biggest party the NFL has ever seen, but it wasn't the greatest ever.

Or most significant.

By Les Carpenter  |  February 10, 2010; 12:17 PM ET  | Category:  Indianapolis Colts , NFL , Super Bowl Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Cool story, bro.

Posted by: elm5 | February 11, 2010 12:00 AM

It may not be very significant in the grand scheme of things, but to those of us who live in the city and region it is.

Posted by: vicknair | February 11, 2010 12:20 AM

Wow, this is a "newsworthy" story?? It reeks of something written by an angry fan and NOT something written by a genuine sports journalist.

First off, to the Saints fans in the New Orleans area as well as the Gulf Coast region, it most certainly WAS the most important Superbowl ever. AND the most significant. You're not going to be able to take that away from us, sorry Les.

We have hosted nine Superbowls in our fine city, and we've seen some incredible games over the years. What makes for a great superbowl is a matter of opinion, and you obviously have YOUR opinions and everyone else has theirs.

It amazes me that a terrific publication like The Washington Post would even *publish* a non-story such as this. It amazes me that your editor(s) would permit your fandom to override your sense of journalistic professionalism. Are you still stewing over the game the Saints stole from your Redskins this past season? It sure reeks of it.

Articles like this will keep you way down as a sports writer. I love the Post, read it all the time, and this piece sticks out like a t*rd in a punch bowl...

Posted by: Catman63 | February 11, 2010 12:27 AM

Is this journalism or a page from your Manning Fan Love Journal? Sorry Les but the Mash record was broken because record setting numbers of people loved the game, the matchup, New Orleans, and the Saints, an aggressive and exciting risk taking high energy team that is FUN to watch. A team that beat Eli, Tom, Kurt and Brett before dethroning Peyton, by ball stripping and gutsy interceptions, by a high flying aerial show and top 5 running game, by reminding us how nice it is to have a team that is really a TEAM, and by reflecting the rise of a great city after a disaster brought on by epic federal engineering disaster (not a hurricane). It's like gumbo versus chicken soup, and it seems people prefer the spicy over the bland.

Posted by: Litigator | February 11, 2010 8:20 AM

Not even in the top five? Wow, amazing and disappointing perspective. This game was easily the most important and inspiring Super Bowl ever, that is why it holds the record for being the most watched television show in history! That is why people who are not even football fans wept, and wept in many parts of the country, not just the gulf coast. The same cannot be said about the games you mentioned. The Jets/Colts game was good for business, that pales in comparison to the Saints Super Bowl, it was about life and the inspiration to pick yourself back up and succeed, and America sorely needs that kind of inspiration right now! No Jets/Colts game driving up league revenue and popularity can ever compare to that! Kurt Warner the stock boy overcoming Brady is more inspirational than the Saints,laughing stock of the league for almost its entire history, a team who had 2 playoff wins in their entire history prior to this run and had their city devastated from under them only to come back and become world champions? Really? Kurt Warner, the stockboy is a more powerful image? You must be joking. The quest for a perfect season by the Dolphins is more inspirational and epic?! You sir, are thankfully in the minority! The games you mentioned as more important were about trophies and personal gain and making a league more popular, those games were in the end just! This Super Bowl was far more than just a game, it was symbolic of what the human spirit is capable of when faced with adversity, this Super Bowl showed that sports can rise above being "just a game" and can become a powerful and inspirational symbol for the struggles we deal with in our own lives. It validates the need for sports in society, too many times people put sports down for being trivial and unimportant in the grand scheme of things, most of the time, they are right. That is until a game like Super Bowl XLIV comes along! This also helps to make the NFL even more popular than it ever has been, which again trumps the Jets/Colts Super Bowl.

Posted by: lang1927 | February 11, 2010 9:16 AM

Dear Mr. Boo Dat Les,

Clearly, you are out of touch with reality. I find it disconcerting that you have failed to truly grasp the meaning of this win. It so far beyond a top ten, that not even words are able to describe its complete meaning and impact. Sportsman have the ability to make others feel larger than life, and the Saints did just that, both individually and collectively. It demonstrated to the WORLD that nothing is accomplished single handedly, yet collectively, it needs the individual parts. The Saints relied on the fans and the fans on the players. This was a group effort that is only witnessed as greatness. The games you mentioned, well, are worthy of athleticism, but I have yet to see a superbowl team pay tribute to its fans as the Saints did and continue to do. I never heard Brady, Kurt, Brett, Kurt, or Manning adulate over their fans. As pointed out earlier by another writer in his critique of your piece, the Saints, as a team, handedly annihilated them. If this game was not one of the most significant games, then you need to rewind to 2005 when Katrina hit and watch the Saints from that point....maybe you will get it, but I am not having much faith you will....GEAUX SAINTS!!!!! WHO DAT!!!

Posted by: hmznyc212 | February 11, 2010 11:30 AM

I don't know what it is with the east coast, and I don't know what the deal is with you guys in the DC area but you have bagged on the N.O. all season. OK, so maybe it wasn't the "greatest" Super Bowl, it's not like a David and Goliath story where there is one QB held on a pedistool and considered one of the "greatest ever" with like 4 MVP's and its not like the other QB is an NFL success story and is CONSTANTLY under-rated and snubbed (no MVP, too short, will never play again because his throwing shoulder was completely ripped out of its socket)..... and this unflappable goliath of a QB threw a pick six to end the Super Bowl! (even as a fan I didnt think it was real)..... OH WAIT, IT WAS, exactly that. So yeah doesn't even rank in the top 5, whatever. Let me tell you something, the Giants had been to a Super Bowl before they beat the Pats, a few for that matter and they play in NY for Christ sake, they wake up in the morning with media mics in thier face. I bet if you were given a map you couldn't point out New Orleans and you definately couldnt point to another city in the state. My point being we are the smallest of small market teams.... so small we almost lost our franchise. So dont even talk about "significance" with your team owner being a bajillionaire with an NFL franchise as a play toy. This Super Bowl wasn't just significant to the gulf coast but to anyone that had dirt kicked in thier face and was told you're never gonna make it..... THAT Les is why it was the most watched TV event in history, because we are a nation struggling and we all sat down in front of a television and cheered for the biggest underdog in NFL history. So you can take your best ever tag and your significance and cram where the sun dont shine. So maybe it wasn't significant to Les Carpenter the trust fund baby, but to anyone who has busted their @$$ to put food on the table or maybe missed a few christmases because they lost thier job due to a recession this was pretty significant. Look at that, never even mentioned Katrina!

Posted by: davidstutes | February 11, 2010 1:25 PM

Wow, sounds like we have a lot of arrogant and sanctimonious Saints fans in here.

It was a decent game, an upset victory and an inspiring story for the city of New Orleans. But both Steelers-Cardinals and Giants-Patriots were more exciting games. As far as the underdog knocking off the golden boy, the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl is a much better example, and a better game to boot.

I fail to see how this game was significant at all except for Katrina.

Posted by: josh_ff8 | February 11, 2010 2:30 PM

From a societal point of view, no question that this game tops them all. The Namath game would be a distant second from that perspective.

But from a purely football standpoint, you can't possibly beat that game of two years ago. A Patriots team with a chance to be the first team to go 17-0, against a wild card Giants team that had won 10 straight games on the road. A defensive battle for 3 quarters that opened up at the end, and was effectively won by what was arguably the greatest clutch catch in NFL history. That game had everything going for it. It was the greatest win in Giants' history, and if the Patriots had won, it would have been the greatest game in THEIR history. How can you top that?

All that said, I'm glad that New Orleans pulled it off, and I'd love to see them do it again next year. Great team, great city and great fans. They deserved it in every way.

Posted by: andym108 | February 11, 2010 2:56 PM

Josh, even without Katrina in the mix you have completely missed the fact that the Saints who had won 2 playoff games in 43 years before this season actually won the Super Bowl and fans of woeful teams like the Browns, Lions, Bills have new hope that maybe they too can rise above mediocrity and that translates into a powerful symbol for everyday life as well. There are plenty of rich successful teams in the NFL with arrogant and obnoxious fans, the Saints aren't one of them, many years of losing breeds a certain amount of humility! From a purely technical standpoint sure you could argue that many other Super Bowls were more exciting but then again this one had arguably the gutsiest call ever made by a coach in a Championship, that counts for something in my book!

Posted by: lang1927 | February 11, 2010 3:21 PM

That was one of the dumbest things I've ever read . . . but on the other hand, it was one of the MOST IMPORTANT!!

Posted by: DrZin | February 11, 2010 6:32 PM

Les, I understand that you're trying to produce a contrarian point-of-view, but you're missing the point. From the standpoint of significance of a Superbowl WIN to a city, a region and fanbase, yes, it IS the most significant in Superbowl history and will be for a long, long time.

Nice try in your attempt to be different.

Posted by: whodatnation4life | February 12, 2010 12:28 AM


You are an idiot - You hit the bullseye on the wrong target.

For years to come, 5'11" dads will toss the ball with their sons and say, "He's the next Drew Brees."

Undrafted free agents will walk into football training camps a little taller because Pierre Thomas made the team.

Seemingly washed-up veterans will look to Darren Sharper as a model of what can be rather than what could have been.

This game transcended the NFL. Super Bowl 44 made football accesible. We felt like we could touch the emtions of every player, coach, and equipment manager on the field.

Colts and Saints - thank you for a great game.

Posted by: marcelivan | February 12, 2010 11:24 AM

what strikes me most about this article is that someone with such an obvious lack of vision could he writing for such an esteemed publication as the Washington Post?!?!

Posted by: ejluvsnola | February 12, 2010 1:54 PM

Dear Les "Clueless Twit" Carpenter -

NO football game, regardless of the shape of the ball is "significant". It's a bloody GAME!

It was an outstanding game and never has a town been more ready for one monster party than New Orleans after Katrina.

I repeat, football is not ever significant, but the joy that it can bring can be. This was a case where it was. The fact that it was an outstanding game was a bonus - has an prior SB been as well played (5 penalties, 1 turnover, 4 punts and only 48 points (WAY below the over-under))?

I guess I can only wonder whether a dumb-***ed sportswriter can ever be significant?

Posted by: fr3dmars | February 13, 2010 1:01 AM

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