In 2009, New Orleans Saints punter and kickoff specialist Thomas Morstead had one of the best rookie seasons imaginable. Morstead, along with his teammates, defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV. At the young age of 23, Morstead executed one of the best, and most memorable Super Bowl plays in NFL history.
Onside surprise. Ambush. You know the play. You can almost recite the exact details of the formation, the key players, and the images of all of the players and coaches on the Saints sideline. You might can even recall the exact words you said to yourself as you waited for what seemed like an eternity for referee Scott Green to signal ‘Saints ball’.
The onside kick was recovered by Chris Reis, and the Saints would march down the field to take the lead 13-10. The rest, you all know.
No other team in the then 43-year history of the Super Bowl had ever attempted an onside kick prior to the fourth quarter. No one. Sean Payton and company changed everything on February 7, 2010 in Miami, Florida.
It’s nearly been five years since the New Orleans Saints and the faithful fans have arguably experienced ‘the best day of their life’. I had the absolute luxury of connecting with Thomas Morstead this past week, and asked him some questions relative to the magical 2009 New Orleans Saints season, specifically Super Bowl XLIV.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the play. ‘Ambush’. What went through your mind when you had to kick the ball? When did you know Coach Payton was planning on going with the call? Lastly, how much preparation did you guys spend on the play?
To be honest, my initial reaction was a panicked one. After I had a chance to mentally digest what was going on, I felt very good about the play once I entered the field for the start of the second half. Coach Payton called the play immediately when we got in to the locker room at halftime. So, I had a good 30 minutes to mentally prepare for it because of the extended halftime during the Super Bowl. We had only spent about two weeks practicing that specific onside kick.
So many reactions to Tracy Porter ‘sealing the deal’, what was yours? Who did you embrace? How did it feel to accomplish so much in your rookie season?
I was standing next to my long snapper, Jason Kyle. I just remember him punching me in the arm and saying we are going to win the (bleeping) Super Bowl. I just couldn’t believe that this was happening.
Holding the Lombardi Trophy the first time, what did that mean to you?
To be honest, it probably didn’t mean as much to me as it did a lot of the older players on the team. Being a rookie, there was no way I could truly appreciate how difficult it was to achieve such a feat as a team. That being said, it was still an incredibly exciting time.
What do/will you remember most about the 2009 Super Bowl team?
I will just remember the bond and brotherhood we had as a team. It was made up of so many interesting people with different backgrounds… We all had a true love for each other and that will last forever.
On behalf of Who Dat Dish, I’d like to sincerely express my thanks and gratitude to Thomas Morstead for taking the time out of his busy schedule to connect with me.
Morstead was named the Saints ‘Man of the Year’ in 2014, and there was none other that would be so deserving of the prestigious award. He’s extremely active in the community, making New Orleans his ‘home’. He visits numerous schools and hospitals. There has been no bigger impact than the What You Give Will Grow Foundation. Along with his wife Lauren, Thomas started WYGWG in 2012. Morstead’s foundation has raised over $100,000 with the help of many fans, especially Who Dat Nation.
What You Give Will Grow looks to inspire action behind the idea that giving back makes a difference. The mission of WYGWG is to support causes, organizations, small businesses, artists, musicians, and the entire Who Dat Nation throughout the community. Whether it’s random acts of kindness, or donations, this type of generous behavior helps spread the ultimate mission and purpose.
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