Porter, Roby Celebrate Super Bowl Championship
Feb. 7, 2010
MIAMI - Tracy Porter picked off a Peyton Manning pass and returned it 74 yards for a score with 3:12 remaining to clinch the New Orleans Saints 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Porter celebrated the franchise's first championship with another former Hoosier, Courtney Roby, on Sunday evening.
The interception, which was the third-longest in Super Bowl history, marked Porter's second INT in as many playoff games. He forced overtime in the NFC title game when he intercepted Vikings quarterback Brett Favre with seven seconds remaining. The Port Allen, La., native finished the game with four tackles and limited Reggie Wayne to just five receptions and 46 yards.
Roby returned four kicks for 102 yards with a long of 34. He also downed a punt at the Indianapolis 4-yard line and made one tackle on special teams.
When asked how it felt to make a huge interception against a quarterback such as Manning in such a big game, Porter had already been there.
"I got the same question when I picked off Brett Favre. Peyton, he's a phenomenal quarterback, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, such as the previous two quarterbacks we played in the playoffs," he said, also referring to Arizona's Kurt Warner. "I've been watching (Manning) since my time at Indiana put up points on the scoreboard."
Growing up in Port Allen, across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, Porter watched the Saints every Sunday with his family and friends. He remembers bags on the heads of embarrassed fans during the lean years.
"This is a moment he could really use to build off of and really elevate his status," Saints safety and active NFL interception leader Darren Sharper said. "I tell him all the time, 'Tracy, if you wanted to be, you could be one of the top cornerbacks in the league the rest of your career' because he has all he intangibles, all the talents to do that. And days like this in big-time games are what catapults guys to the upper echelon of players."
Porter said it was a case of film study paying off. He recognized the formation, with Austin Collie going in motion, and knew Manning would be looking for Reggie Wayne right around the needed distance for a first down.
"When I saw Austin Collie go in motion I said, 'Oh yeah, this is the route they've been running all year,' and yeah, I had it in my mind I was going to jump the route," Porter said. "It was just like I was watching it on film and I made the break on it and here comes the end zone."
He followed a couple of blocks, made one cut, and there was nothing but open field in front of him. He knew he was going to score and pointed to the stands, where Saints fans were jumping out of their seats with delight.
"I was pointing at the Who Dat nation out there," he said.
Manning called the interception a "great play."
"Porter made a heck of a play," Manning said.
In addition to Porter and Roby, Mike Mallory is a member of the Super Bowl champions. Mike, the son of IU's all-time winningest coach Bill Mallory, spent the 1986-87 seasons as a graduate assistant in Bloomington. He just completed his second season as the Saints assistant special teams coach.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Check back soon