Saints Beat Vikings 31-28

Posted by Zotta Rendevouz

Garrett Hartley kicked a 40-yard field goal in overtime to send the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl for the first time with a 31-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

“It’s all about doing our part,” Hartley said in a televised interview. “It’s surreal.”

The National Football Conference champions will play the Indianapolis Colts in the National Football League’s title game on Feb. 7 in Miami.

The Colts beat the New York Jets 30-17 earlier today in the American Football Conference championship game to reach the Super Bowl for the second time in four years. They won the title after the 2006 season.

The Saints, who led the league in scoring, are headed to the Super Bowl after matching the two playoff wins they totaled over their first 42 NFL seasons.

The Super Bowl will showcase two of the league’s top quarterbacks. Drew Brees of the Saints led the NFL in passing touchdowns this season and Peyton Manning of the Colts won his record fourth NFL Most Valuable Player Award.

The team that had no home five years ago after Hurricane Katrina ravaged its city and the Superdome overcame a slew of mistakes in the biggest game the Big Easy has ever seen.

But the biggest error was made by Favre. The 40-year-old quarterback threw away Minnesota’s chance for its first Super Bowl trip in 33 years with an interception deep in Saints territory in the final seconds of regulation.

New Orleans won the coin toss, Drew Brees(notes) guided it to the Minnesota 22 and Hartley, suspended at the start of the season for using a banned stimulant, split the uprights 4:45 into OT.

“Just helping my team get to Miami,” Hartley said. “Just doing my part.”

Forget the paper bag masks and a long history of losing. Moments after Hartley’s kick, they were toasting their hometown winners on Bourbon Street.

And in the Superdome, once a squalid refuge after Katrina, they boogied in the aisles as confetti covered the field.

The Saints (15-3) will meet the Peyton Manning(notes) and the Indianapolis Colts (16-2) in the Super Bowl in two weeks in Miami.

It’s the first time the top seeds in each conference made the big game since the 1993 season.