We watched the Super Bowl live from France, so the game ended at about 4:30 in the morning.  It was a very good game to watch.  I used to be a huge fan of the San Francisco 49ers and knew a lot about professional football.  Today, I watch very few games.  This year,  I saw only the two conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

The color commentator on ESPN America was Joe Theismann.  The Wikipedia article about Theismann identifies him as “the most hated announcer in National Football League history” and goes on to give examples of questionable things he has said in the course of a long announcing career.

Theismann was very vocal in opposing the decision of the Saints’ coach to go for the touchdown on fourth down at the Colts’ goal line towards the end of the first half.  It seemed obvious to me at the time that the coach had made the right decision.  At the time, the Saints were trailing 10-3.  Assume that the Saints successfully attempt a field goal.  The score is then 10-6, but they have to kick off to the Colts, who would have had about 1:45 left in the first half to score.  The likelihood that the Colts would get at least a field goal at that point was pretty high.  There was also a strong possibility that they would drive for a touchdown.  The worst-case scenario in attempting to score the touchdown was that the Colts would get the ball at their goal line.  The likelihood of driving for a score from that position is low.  As things turned out, of course, the Colts got the ball at their goal line, went three and out, punted, and the Saints drove for a field goal of their own.  They were much better off than they would have been had they kicked a field goal when Thiesmann wanted them to, because the Colts had their final possession and did not score.  The Saints had therefore netted three points at the end of the half when, if they had kicked a field goal, they might well have netted nothing (had the Colts driven for a field goal on their final possession of the half) or have been –4 at the end of the half, if the Colts had driven for a touchdown.  Theismann made no comment at any point in the game to indicate that his initial reaction to the Saints’ attempting to score on fourth down might have been overstated, or even a miscalculation.

Drew Brees was very impressive, obviously.  His completion percentage was off the charts.  The onsides kick to begin the second half was a stroke of genius.  Clearly, the coach of the Saints thought that his team deserved to be underdogs in the game and that he had to take risks in order to win.  That’s what he did, and it worked out well.

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