If EA Sports is right, the Indianapolis Colts will hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl XLIV.
Using a video game simulation of Super Bowl XLIV with their football franchiseMadden NFL, the publisher predicts the Colts will defeat the New Orleans Saints 37-31 thanks to a crushing Drew Brees interception returned for a touchdown in the final minute. The turnover will be the fifth and final one by the Saints in a game that seemed destined they would lose, no matter how well they played.
"The Saints put forth a valiant effort with some flawless play-calling and outstanding execution," said EA spokesman Brian Noll. "But it seemed the computer had it in for them. You know how that is sometimes."
Brees' first interception of the game came on New Orleans' opening drive when the Saints went 64 yards to the Colts' 18-yard line in four plays. On the very next play, Brees spotted Marques Colston breaking open on a post pattern near the end zone and let the ball go. But, seemingly out of nowhere, Colts linebacker Gary Brackett leaped high into the air and caught the ball one-handed even though it was being thrown 12 yards downfield past him.
"A very impressive play. Almost inconceivable," said EA's Noll. "But guys step up in the Super Bowl."
The Colts responded three plays later. After being shut down for a total of two yards on their first two plays, Pierre Garcon caught the ball on a slant pattern and bowled over five Saints defenders on the way to an 86-yard touchdown.
The Saints then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting the Colts up for a 14-0 lead on a Peyton Manning touchdown pass that was lasered in to Reggie Wayne between three Saints' defenders in blanket coverage. Manning also appeared to have been hit a good second before he released the ball, but the blow did not affect the ball's perfect flight. New Orleans stormed back after that thanks to some determined play and eventually tied the score 31-31 but it was not meant to be.
"They had to know the computer wasn't going to let them win," said Noll. "It was that kind of game."
Brees' final interception came as New Orleans was driving into field goal range for a game-winning kick. At Indianapolis' 33-yard-line, Brees rolled out to his left and hit a wide open Reggie Bush on a screen pass. But the pass unexpectedly caromed off Bush high into the air, where it landed in the arms of Indianapolis' Jerraud Powers, who ran it back 70 yards for the game's decisive score as time expired.
"Even for a classic Madden computer screw job, it was hard to watch," said Noll.