Saints Super Bowl Parade Features Mardi Gras Floats, Mass Crunk-ness

The Saints are your Super Bowl champions. Check here for reaction and commentary from Dave Halprin of SB Nation's Blogging The Boys and Joel Thorman of SB Nation's Arrowhead Pride who was on site all week long, with quotes, photos, and insights from the Super Bowl circus.

More: Super Bowl 2012 coverage.

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Get Crunk: Saints Parade Today, Featuring Floats, Bands And The Ying Yang Twins

The New Orleans “Black and Gold Super Bowl Parade,” set for 5 p.m. local time today, will look a little something like this:

From NOLA.com:

More than 250 Saints players, coaches and staff members will be throwing beads from a dozen of the area’s premiere Mardi Gras floats.

"I think that this is the first time that you’ll ever see all these floats together at one time, and very well could be the last time you ever see all these floats together," said Barry Kern, president of Blaine Kern Studios, which is overseeing the event.

Included will be the signature floats of Endymion, Bacchus, Rex, Zulu, Alla, Caesar, Tucks, Muses, Orpheus and Babylon, he said.

Hey man: Zulu AND Orpheus IN THE SAME PARADE. Unprecedented. And if that wasn’t enough (and it wasn’t), the parade route will also feature dozens of local marching bands and the Ying Yang Twins. Seriously. They’ll be performing this:

We’re certain Indy would’ve had a similar celebration had they won.

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Dwight Freeney's Ankle: Fine In The First Half, Not So Fine In The Second

The big storyline for this year’s Super Bowl, besides all the Peyton Manning stuff, was defensive end Dwight Freeney’s ankle. Was he going to play? How effective would he be? How big would the swelling be? Would it ever be as bad as this?

In the end, Freeney played, but he clearly wasn’t himself. He showed flashes when he sacked Drew Brees on a key third down play in the first half that held New Orleans to a field goal, but otherwise, he was invisible. As it turns out, according to ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill, Freeney’s ankle got worse during the extra-long halftime break.

Blame it on The Who — or long Super Bowl halftimes, in general. Freeney showed shades of his Pro-Bowl self early in the second quarter, when he bull-rushed Saints quarterback Drew Brees, snagged the shoulder of his jersey, and dropped the eventual game MVP with one arm. The Saints, who knew immediately that Freeney wasn’t a decoy, had already started double-teaming the defensive end by the second possession of the game.

But then came halftime, all 30 minutes of it, and Freeney’s ankle began to stiffen.

“I don’t know if you saw me on the sidelines,” Freeney said of warmup attempts early in the second half. “I kept on running back and forth to get it going again. I re-taped, and tried to figure out ways to keep it warm. The problem is, once it gets stiff, it’s tough to bring it back.”

I thought The Who’s halftime show was only painful for viewers. I didn’t realize it was also painful for the players.

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Reggie Bush To City Of New Orleans: 'No One Can Take This Away From Us'

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I was standing just a few feet from Reggie Bush when he walked to the podium following the Saints 31-17 victory over the Colts. He sat down, breathed a sigh of relief and smiled.

"Now, New Orleans can exhale a little bit."

"They needed something to be proud of. 30, 40 years plus of terrible seasons in New Orleans, now they can be proud of the Saints."

Bush was asked what was on a lot of people’s mind after the game. Will the parties in New Orleans be bigger than Mardi Gras?

"I’m sure it will. It’s going to be the craziest Mardi Gras, as it should be. It’s well deserved and the City of New Orleans deserves it. No one can take this away from us."

Wow. I can’t imagine how a city like that will party, especially considering they had a parade scheduled for Tuesday, win or lose.

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Saints 31, Colts 17: New Orleans Wins Franchise's First Ever Super Bowl

Plenty more on Super Bowl XLIV in this StoryStream, as well as our Colts blog, Stampede Blue, and our Saints blog, Canal Street Chronicles

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Who Dat? Those are the Super Bowl champions - the New Orleans Saints - for the first time in the history of a franchise and city that has witnessed tough times.

Drew Brees connected with Jeremy Shockey for the go-ahead two-yard touchdown pass with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter, lifting the Saints to a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

Tracy Porter then sealed the fate of the Colts, picking off four-time MVP Peyton Manning and returning the ball 74 yards for a touchdown with 3:12 left, thwarting Indianapolis' chance for a second title in four years.

A team that went through several years of seeing fans hold paper bags over their heads due to losing seasons, the Saints finally rewarded the Crescent City with a championship. It was more than a healing process, it was the feel-good story building over a period of several years since the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"New Orleans is back and this shows the whole world. It's back!," Saints owner Tom Benson exclaimed, holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy above his head.

The Saints rallied from a 10-0 deficit behind a sparkling performance from Brees, who tied a Super Bowl record with 32 completions, going 32-of-39 for 288 yards and a pair of scores. The Saints outscored the Colts, 15-0, in the last quarter.

"We just believed in ourselves. We knew that we had an entire city, maybe an entire country behind us," Brees said. "I'm trying to imagine what this moment would be like for a long time. It's even better than expected."

Manning finished 31-of-45 for 333 yards with a TD and the costly interception. Dallas Clark had seven receptions for 86 yards, while Joseph Addai accounted for a big portion of the Colts' offense. He had 13 rushes for 77 yards and a TD and caught seven passes for 58 yards, but Indianapolis couldn't gain a second title in four years after topping Chicago following the 2006 season, in this same stadium.

"We just didn't play well in certain times and certain phases," Manning said. "The Saints definitely deserve the win."

Instead, Brees, the MVP of the game, became a hero to the city of New Orleans and its fans who suffered through an incredible amount of pain, losing 10-plus games from 1996-1999. He tied Tom Brady's mark for completions in a Super Bowl game.

"It was all meant to be. It was all destiny," Brees said.

Indianapolis' Matt Stover was barely wide left on a 51-yard field goal try with 10:39 left in regulation as the Colts failed to build on a 17-16 lead.

Brees then guided the Saints with precision passing, completing all seven of his passes during a nine-play, 59-yard march. He had 10 straight completions through that drive, finishing it with a quick two-yard strike to Shockey, who got in front of defensive back Jacob Lacey to make the scoring grab.

Brees' two-point conversion pass to the right side for Lance Moore was initially ruled incomplete, but reversed after a challenge from the Saints. Moore reached for the ball and made a diving grab, while stretching the ball backward, across the plane of the goal line - all while his helmet was planted in the grass. Lacey then knocked the ball away with his legs as the Saints wide receiver was on the ground.

Manning moved the Colts to the New Orleans 31, but on 3rd-and-5 Porter jumped in front of wide receiver Reggie Wayne and darted the other way, passing the Colts QB on the way for the fourth-longest interception return in Super Bowl history.

Indianapolis moved from its own 14 to the New Orleans three in the final minute, but on fourth down Manning's pass feel incomplete in the end zone with 44 seconds left.

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Freeney Was On The Field Warming Up, Heads Back To Lockerroom

Colts DE Dwight Freeney is schedule to start this evening against the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.

He was just out on the field warming up and stretching with the rest of the Colts defensive line but just walked back into the locker room.

Doesn’t look to be like any sort of story but he did go back in a little early. The rest of the Colts are huddling up together.

We’ll keep you updated on his status leading up to game time.

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SB Nation Arrives At Sun Life Stadium For Super Bowl XLIV

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SB Nation has officially arrived at the Super Bowl for Super Bowl XLIV.

BigBlueShoe from Stampede Blue and Saintsational from Canal Street Chronicles are sitting next to me as we settle in.

The above shot is from my seat.

Great view, Great weather. Great game.

Must be the Super Bowl, huh?

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SB Nation Is En Route To Sun Life Stadium For Super Bowl XLIV

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Our contingent of SB Nation bloggers are en route to Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium.

Representing SBNation.com is myself. For the Colts, we’ve got BigBlueShoe from Stampede Blue and for the Saints we’ve got Saintsational of Canal Street Chronicles.

Expect an outpouring of content from those three places. Pictures, commentary, analysis…the whole deal.

There will be an SBNation.com open thread posted around 5:00 (EST) with thousands of football fans in one spot.

See ya then!

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NFL Announces 2010 Hall Of Fame Class

SB Nation's Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride is on the ground in South Florida, providing reports, commentary and impressions from Super Bowl week.

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The NFL announced at a press conference this evening the 2010 Hall of Fame enshrinees:

  • Guard Russ Grimm
  • Linebacker Rickey Jackson
  • Cornerback Dick LeBeau
  • Running back Floyd Little
  • Defensive tackle John Randle
  • Wide receiver Jerry Rice
  • Running back Emmitt Smith

Little and Lebeau were senior canddiates.

Notable misses are Shannon Sharpe, Tim Brown and Cris Carter.

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Stampede Blue: Two Part Interview With Peter King

Brad Wells of Stampede Blue has been a critic of Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in the past few years.

On Thursday, he went right to the source and sat down for a beer with King to discuss blogging, how he responds to personal insults and his view of Brett Favre. Here’s a snippet from their discussion:

PK: But, it’s also a little bit of a phony life. You know? When si.com first came in, first it was cnnsi.com in 1997, and when that came in, I mean, that was really a little bit more up my alley because I’m not Gary Smith or Rick Riley. I can’t write like that, and I’ve never been able to do that. So, I’m more of a newspaper guy. And so, you know, I just, I think this fits me a little better. I think this world fits me a little bit better because the emphasis in Monday Morning Quarterback is on what I call “quality volume.”

BBS: It almost reads like a blog.

PK: Yeah, that’s what it is.

BBS: It almost reads like a blog.

PK: Dick Ebersol calls it a blog.

It’s fascinating stuff and an unfiltered look into King’s view of the sports world and blogging.

Here’s part one. And here is part two.

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Stampede Blue: All The Super Bowl Interviews You Could Want

SB Nation Colts blog Stampede Blue has been busy talking to everybody in Miami about the Super Bowl.

They have must-read interviews with guys like Peter King. Big Blue Shoe, our correspondent in Miami, talked with King for an hour and has part one of the interview posted. Football fans need to check it out, Big Blue Shoe asks King about taking criticism from the fans, his supposed man-crush on Brett Favre and other interesting topics. Do yourself a favor, go read it.

The interviews don’t stop there. Stampede Blue interviews:

Colts punter Pat McAfee.

Colts defensive coordinator Larry Croyer.

Colts cornerback Tim Jennings.

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NFLPA Leader On Lockout: 'On A Scale Of 1 to 10, It's A 14'

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SB Nation's Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride is on the ground in South Florida, providing reports, commentary and impressions from Super Bowl week.

As I was walking out of the media center this afternoon, I noticed quite a bit of security nearly pushing me out of the way and escorting a short man into the building and up the stairs.

That man may be short but he’s a major power player in the future of the NFL.

DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL Player’s Association, conducted a press conference this afternoon and painted a bleak picture regarding the possibility of a lockout effectively stopping the games starting in 2011.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 14."

(Note: That question was asked by none other than Chad Ochocinco of OCNN)

Smith also called going back to a salary cap system "virtually impossible" should a new deal not be done by March 5th, the start of a new league year.

In other words, the business of the NFL as we know it will more than likely be completely different one month from today.

Roger Goodell will likely respond at his press conference tomorrow afternoon. I will be in attendance and plan on reporting back in this space immediately following the conclusion.

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Wrapping Up Day Three In South Florida For Super Bowl XLIV

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SB Nation's Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride is on the ground in South Florida, providing reports, commentary and impressions from Super Bowl week.

Wednesday at Super Bowl XLIV was relatively light compared to the previous two days.

The day started off with about an hour and a half with the Saints players. This session was a little different than the zoo called Media Day. With the exception of a few, all the players were hanging out at a bunch of tables lined across the room.

They were all very approachable and willing to talk. Some of the lesser names were hanging out in the back.

Then I ran into this guy talking to the Saints defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

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Yeah…next topic.

After the Saints media session was finished, I moved onto an event in South Beach featuring the NFL and Telemundo. It was a flag football game that had quite the number of stars in attendance.

Coaching one team was Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons and on the other side was Greg Camarillo of the hometown Dolphins.

Players included Marcus Allen, Doug Flutie, Warrick Dunn, Tim Brown, Martin Gramatica and Warren Moon.

There were some good moments in this event as well:

  • Someone yelled to Dunn, "What do you think of Jimbo?" and he shook his head. They were referring to the new FSU coach. The fans were yelling "Bobby Bowden forever!"
  • Warren Moon said at the coin toss, "We want the ball, we’re gonna score!" (Seattle and Green Bay fans know what that means).
  • Miami Dolphins cheerleaders…
  • One of the rules of the game was that one female must be on the field at all times.
  • Someone yelled at Gramatica, "Can you throw? Who you going to kick it to?"
  • Marcus Allen was showing the women how to block on the offensive line.

And that was a wrap on day three at Super Bowl XLIV.

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Stampede Blue: Freeney And Brock Key Names

Over at SB Nation’s Colts blog, Stampede Blue, they pass on a report from the Indy Star that speculates there’s no way Dwight Freeney won’t try to at least play. Agreed, no way Freeney doesn’t try to go.

But if he can’t get it done, his replacement will be Raheem Brock. All eyes will be on the defensive end spot on Sunday.

Raheem Brock at media day, courtesy of Stampede Blue. More pics available here.

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Canal Street Chronicles: Super Bowl Podcast Tonight



Over at SB Nation’s Saints blog, Canal Street Chronicles, they’ll be producing a two-hour podcast tonight starting at 9 PM EST. That’s two hours of Saints coverage for the Super Bowl with guest appearances. You can tune in here.

From CSC:

Come join us at 8pm Central for the last pre-game podcast we’ll ever have during this magical 2009 season. This one’s gonna be good. We’ve got two full hours blocked off to talk about nothing but Saints and the Super Bowl. Special guests, besides myself, include SB Nation writer Joel Thorman, who has been a credentialed member of the media in Miami and will tell us about all the behind the scenes action. There is also the possibility we will have enemy blogger BigBlueShoe from Stampede Blue, to talk about the competition this week.

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Wrapping Up Day Two In South Florida For Super Bowl XLIV

SB Nation's Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride is on the ground in South Florida, providing reports, commentary and impressions from Super Bowl week.

The "organized chaos" theme continued Tuesday with the Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and hundreds of media members gathering in the club level section of Joe Robbie Pro Player Dolphin Land Shark Sun Life Stadium.

Because of the weather (which actually turned out to be nice), media day was moved inside. From what I can gather, this is the first time it's been moved indoors.

Logistically, it was expected to be a problem but after going through it, I can’t imagine a more organized chaotic scene.

The way it works is that 10-15 of the bigger names on each team have their own booth and the media sets up camp in front of each booth.

For the Colts, Peyton Manning had far and away the most people and cameras in front of him. After him, it was Dwight Freeney, whose sprained ankle is the hot topic of discussion down here. For the Saints, Drew Brees and Reggie Bush were swarmed as was head coach Sean Payton. I had a front row view for Payton (something about Mike Freeman’s article made me want to hear him up close in person).

While the big names get their own booths with microphones and the whole bit, the other players on the team are just walking around the club level area like everyone else. Some had video cameras taking in the scene while others were keepin’ it real, like this group of Saints players.

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Several media folks commented, "Wow! Look how relaxed they are!"

(They were really shocked that the players were relaxed.)

If the Saints players weren’t talking to the press or laying low off to the side, then they were singing karaoke on Super Bowl Idol.

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As media day at Sun Life Stadium began to shut down, we made our way back to the media center in Fort Lauderdale, where I took a few minutes to write about my media day experiences.

Meanwhile, my partner in South Florida, BigBlueShoe from Stampede Blue, made his way over to the CBS folks and got some time with the broadcasters.

One minute I’m asking questions of Joseph Addai. The next, I’m sitting down with a one-on-one interview with Shannon Sharpe. I also had the opportunity to chat with Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher, and Phil Simms. Listening to Simms rant about the "Wildcat offense" was priceless. Cowher rooted for the Jets over the Colts because they played "tough, physical" football. Shannon Sharpe might not make many Colts fans happy with his on-air rambling, but I must admit the guy was very courteous and kind to answer questions. He also offered some funny stories about his playing days.

I’ve heard the audio and it’s great stuff. Look for that to be posting over at Stampede Blue in the next day or so.

After that, it was off to dinner with BigBlueShoe, at which point I reminded him of the crushing playoff losses his Colts delivered to my Chiefs. Things got a little awkward after that and we drove home in silence.

Ah well, it was probably for the best.

Tomorrow we are up bright and early for some time with the Colts coaches and players. The Saints will be mid-morning then we’ve got a few other things lined up for the day.

While you've got the time, check out a more in-depth recap of the Saints day over at Canal Street Chronicles.

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Canal Street Chronicles: The Truth About Peyton Manning

We all know Peyton Manning is a Football God, right? Manning is celebrated as one of the best QBs of this generation and even thought of as among the best to ever play the game. There’s no debating it, and it’s one of the reasons the Colts are thought of as favorites in the big game. So that much is settled. Wait a minute, we’ve get a last-second point of disagreement.

Saints blog Canal Street Chronicles is taking the negative on this debate, and while praising Manning as one of the most dangerous players in the game, he does have a small chink in the armor.

Manning actually plays worse, statistically, in the playoffs than he does in the regular season.

CSC has put together a table of Manning’s regular season stats and post-season stats since 2003 and found that the arrow points down in every major category. Some stats go down a little, some go down quite a bit. Manning’s interception to TD ratio is not as sterling come playoff time.

Conversely, Drew Brees’ playoff performances have been better than his average regular-season games. Of course, Brees has a much smaller sample size in the comparison (5 games to 14 for Manning), but at least it’s something for Saints fans to hang their hat on.

To view all the stats and analysis, head over to Canal Street Chronicles. For a summary, we’ll go with this:

So, what can we expect from Manning and the Colts? Well, 25 points, for starters. But also, consider this: Manning has won a Super Bowl ring. One ring. Only one ring. That means that in eight postseason campaigns, only once has he managed to avoid having that one bad game that was sufficient to knock his team out of the playoffs. That exception came, ironically, in 2006—by far his worst offseason statistically, other than the lone disaster in 2002. That year, the Colts’ defense carried the team into and through the Super Bowl—even though Peyton picked up the MVP for his 81.8-rated game. Had the defense not played so well, the Colts might have lost in the opening round to Kansas City, when Peyton had a 71.9 rating. More likely, it would have been the following week against Baltimore, when his rating was 39.6! Manning’s worst game since his playoff debut came in his Super Bowl year!

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Wrapping Up Day One In South Florida For Super Bowl XLIV

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Photo of Colts RB Joseph Addai comes courtesy of my Sprint Palm Pre

SB Nation's Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride is on the ground in South Florida, providing reports, commentary and impressions from Super Bowl week.

Ray Lewis has described the Baltimore Ravens defense as "organized chaos" and that’s exactly how I would characterize Monday’s Super Bowl Events in South Florida.

From the rain causing delays and practice schedule changes for the Saints to the media blitz that is radio row to our own Big Blue Shoe talking to the Colts players front and center….it’s been a whirlwind.

The day started off with some logistical things like finding out where the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center is, picking up credentials and finding a place to write stories throughout the day.

Every media outlet you can think of is here. Yahoo! Sports, CBS, Sports, Sports Illustrated (Curiously I only saw one ESPN guy today). Heck, I even saw a table for the local radio station back in my hometown of Kansas City.

Shuttles are available to take you everywhere but timing is tricky because multiple sources have told me that not one thing in the history of Miami has ever started on time. Nope. Nothing. Ever.

I had to move out of a room so a bomb sniffing dog could make way for the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. I bumped into Peter King. I huddled outside in the rain with ESPN’s John Clayton while armed military personnel escorted the Colts into their hotel. I listened to the Bill Polian radio show from 15 feet away and confirmed in person that Peyton Manning has a large forehead (I kid, I kid Colts fans!)

I also saw our own Big Blue Shoe from Stampede Blue make his way to the front of the interview stands to get his questions in.

And tomorrow we’ll do it all again.

Make sure you check out first-hand reporting from Stampede Blue all this week. Canal Street Chronicles is holding down the party in New Orleans until the day of the Super Bowl so make sure you check them out for on-site reaction immediately following the game. For now, gets your Saints fix from CSC’s radio appearance on Monday morning.

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