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Super Bowl aftermath: Payton sleeps like a champ with his Lombardi Trophy

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Sean Payton could use a proper pillow. The day after coaching the New Orleans Saints to a 31-17 victory over Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV, Payton looked happy but bleary-eyed early Monday morning. Maybe it had something ...

Super Bowl MVP
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the team's 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV Sunday night. The game was the most watched program in TV history, eclipsing the final episode of "M*A*S*H" in 1983. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Sean Payton could use a proper pillow.

The day after coaching the New Orleans Saints to a 31-17 victory over Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV, Payton looked happy but bleary-eyed early Monday morning.

Maybe it had something to do with him grabbing a precious few winks in his hotel room with the Lombardi Trophy in his arms.

"This thing laid in my bed next to me last night," the coach said at the traditional victors news conference. "Rolled over (it) a couple times. I probably drooled on it. But man, there's nothing like it."

Especially for the Saints, who had never been to a Super Bowl, let alone won one. But Sunday, their franchise rebirth was on display for the world to see.

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And the world tuned in. According to CBS, Super Bowl XLIV was the most-watched program in television history, with an estimated average of 106.5 million viewers. That eclipsed the finale of "MASH" (106 million) in 1983. It was also the highest-rated Super Bowl since Dallas beat Pittsburgh 14 years ago.

Back slappers

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was named the game's most valuable player, having completed 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. His 32 completions tied the Super Bowl record set by New England's Tom Brady six years ago in a victory over Carolina.

Brees said he received about 500 e-mails and text messages from friends congratulating him on the performance.

"They came from former coaches, high school friends, high school teammates that I won a state championship with, mentors, family members," Brees said. "Everybody's so happy, just talking about how we deserved it.

"Throughout this journey it hasn't been easy, but we've always done things the right way . . . And here we are, Super Bowl champions."

For Payton, a memory he'll savor is sitting in his hotel room with quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi -- grandson of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi -- as well as the younger Lombardi's two brothers and father. They posed for family pictures with the trophy.

"I just thought to myself, 'You've got to be kidding me. If you believe in heaven, and you believe Vince Lombardi's there looking down on his grandson, it doesn't get any better.'

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"(Lombardi) is a guy who coaches our quarterbacks, coaches Drew Brees, and here's a trophy that's named after his grandfather. So you can't get enough of this."

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