Until Sunday, it looked as if the return of Brett Favre to the NFL would have a storybook ending and propel the Minnesota Vikings to the Superbowl. Instead, the New Orleans Saints will be heading to the Superbowl for the first time in franchise history. Garrett Hartley nailed a 40 yard field goal in overtime to give the Saints a 31-28 victory in the NFC Championship game after Brett Favre was intercepted deep in Saints territory during the final seconds of regulation. Favre may be headed back to retirement, while the Saints are headed to Miami to play the biggest game of them all.
The Vikings did reward NFL betting fans who took them as +4 underdogs with a pointspread cover. Minnesota finished the season a solid 11-6-1 against the NFL pointspread while the Saints head into the Superbowl with a 9-9 ATS mark. The 59 combined points scored went OVER the posted total of 53′.
After the game, head coach Sean Payton drew an analogy to the city of New Orleans’ recovery after Hurricane Katrina:
“This is for everybody in this city. This stadium used to have holes in it and used to be wet. It’s not wet anymore. This is for the city of New Orleans.”
Winning quarterback Drew Brees extended that same metaphor:
“In reality, we had to lean on each other in order to survive and in order to get where we are now. The city is on its way to recovery, and in a lot of ways has come back better than ever. We’ve used the strength and resiliency of our fans to go out and play every Sunday and play with the confidence that we can do it, that we can achieve everything we’ve set out to achieve.”
Place kicker Hartley was low key despite securing the victory with his overtime field goal:
“Just helping my team get to Miami. Just doing my part.”
Brett Favre didn’t have much to say in defeat:
“I’ve felt better. It was a physical game. A lot of hits. You win that and you sure feel a lot better.” Mississippi native Favre did throw his support behind the Saints:
“I would have loved to represent the NFC. But, as I told Sean throughout the year when we talked, if it’s not us, I hope it’s you guys.”
The Vikings gave up a total of five turnovers including three fumbles. That, said running back Adrian Peterson, was the game:
“We really gave those guys the game. Too many turnovers. It’s eating me up inside.”
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on price per head. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and bookie software sites. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.