This is one of the few plays in the top 50 countdown, and it deserves the ranking. The play was historical in Super Bowl history as well. No team has ever attempted an onsides kick before the fourth quarter until Super Bowl XLIV.
To set this up, the Saints were trailing 10-6 at halftime. The courageous decision was made by Sean Payton to change the momentum starting the second half. This gamble no doubt changed the whole feel of the game. These little nuggets give the insight.
"“We started working on that kick with Thomas Morstead in December thinking we’ll put some more tools in his tool belt for the playoffs and he picked it up really well. Very talented player who also kicked field goals and kicked off in college so it was not hard for Thomas to learn that kick” former kicker/consultant John Carney said."
Put yourself in Morstead’s shoes for a second. The play was called in the locker room to have Morstead come out and possibly make the biggest play in Saints history. The pressure was immense as told by Carney as it played out.
"“We told Thomas Morstead that and Thomas Morstead sat in his locker with his helmet on, his chin strap buckled and didn’t move for 30 minutes. We checked on him from time to time to see if he was ok. We couldn’t tell if he was comatose or in shock, but he would nod, he wouldn’t speak, he would just nod that he was ok."
Imagine the city of New Orleans have waited for years to get to a Super Bowl, now waiting for you to try an execute a very risky play. There were no guarantees. The one thing that was for sure is that Sean Payton gave Morstead the reigns to activate his call. Jim Henderson made the call.
"Steps into the football and it’s an onsides kick and it’s going to be covered up by Chris Reiss. I believe he had it momentarily, they’re still fighting for it, no indication yet. And it’s Saints football. They recover the onsides kick! What a fearless start for the second half, really unbelievable decision by Sean Payton.”"
This play changed everything as far as the game that day. The Saints would of course win their first Super Bowl 31-17, but that play put Sean Payton in history forever. The label as being the gutsiest play ever will always be there. There will never ever be such a confident gamble that turned out grand for the Saints that day. The whole team fed off that enthusiasm the second half.