I play in a lot of poker tournaments and it didn't take me long to figure out that the person who has the best chance of winning is the one who plays the most aggressively.
That's what happened on Sunday in the Super Bowl.
The New Orleans Saints were the more aggressive, creative team.
They were willing to take chances. They weren't afraid to lose.
Start with coach Sean Payton's decision to shun a field goal with his team down 10-3 with less than two minutes to go in the first half.
The Saints were at the Colts' 1-yard line. It was fourth down. A field goal would have been a virtual certainty and would have cut the lead to 10-6.
But the kicker didn't come out. The Saints went for it.
They ran the ball and they came up short. But the strategy ended up working out as they held the Colts on downs, got the ball back and got a field goal anyway.
By halftime, the Saints had chipped away more than half of their early 10-0 deficit.
One could sense this was going to be a ball game and that the most important possession would be the Colts' opening drive of the second half.
If Peyton Manning could take Indianapolis down the field and go up 17-6, life would get difficult for the Saints.
But Manning didn't get that chance. Payton called for an onsides kick.
It surprised the Colts. It surprised everybody, probably even including the Saints.
What's more, it worked.
It may have been the most aggressive call in Super Bowl history and it turned into a game-changer.
The Saints needed just six plays to score. Quarterback Drew Brees completed all five of his passes on the drive. It was 13-10 New Orleans and the momentum had changed.
Without that onside kick, the Colts might well have won and won big.
Credit Payton. He's been around the NFL long enough to know that any unconventional piece of strategy will be dissected over and over. That going for it on fourth and 1 and trying an onsides kick to open the second half would be viewed as panic moves by a coach not ready for the pressure of a Super Bowl.
But Payton was more than up to the task. He outcoached Jim Caldwell. The Colts stuck with what had been successful all season long, but that wasn't near enough.
Not against Brees, who after a miserable first quarter, was by far the better quarterback. Not against the Saints, who by being more aggressive and creative, looked like they wanted it more.
What better story than a city that could have died rising back from the rubble and celebrating its first Super Bowl win?
It seems appropriate the Saints fell behind. That they showed an undying spirit. That they were willing to gamble and lose everything.
Next time I?play poker, I hope Sean Payton's not at my table. He's got game.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org