During the two weeks preceding the Super Bowl, I will be counting down the best Super Bowls I have witnessed in my lifetime, starting in 1988. I created a ranking system and will go game by game reliving each edition until the top Super Bowl is listed.
History repeating this year as the Colts travel to Miami again to compete for a title this year. Three years ago the Colts arrived in Miami on the heels of the biggest comeback in AFC title game history, where they met with the Chicago Bears. Up until this game people were giving Peyton Manning the "can he win the big one?" business which was just as absurd as people asking this year "can he cement his legacy?" Peyton is Peyton. He is the most analytical QB of his generation and will go down as one of the best, if not the best ever when all is said and done. The Bears presented a defensive challenge but proved to be too weak on offense to combat the Colts in South Florida. Monumental Miami Win comes in at lucky 13 on the countdown.
Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17
Semi-Lame Nickname: "The Goal is to Get to the Game"
Historical Significance- 4: The most historically significant fact about the two teams is that this was the first Super Bowl to feature two African-American head coaches. Tony Dungy had hired Lovie Smith as a defensive assistant many years ago and now the two were squaring off. The two teams were the closest teams to ever play for a Super Bowl geographically. It was truly a midwesterner's dream. Also another offensive versus defensive clash. Also this two teams were two of the NFL's first franchises; the teams were originally the Dayton Triangles(became the Colts) and the Decatur Staleys(became the Bears). Bears vs. Colts just does not sound the same as Triangles vs. Staleys.
Game Enjoyment by the Fans- 4: The game was close throughout and came down to the 4th quarter which is what fans ultimately want in a Super Bowl. The Bears jumped up early giving the impression they could win the game, but ultimately Manning did what was needed to win.
High Profile Element- 4: Mannings counterpart was Rex Grossman. The Sex Cannon was not regarded anywhere close to Manning but he did throw for 3,100 yards and 23 touchdowns. However, the same problem that would be his undoing in his Bears' career and this game was ever present. He had 25 turnovers during the 2006 season. Many of the Colts characters were same as we know them today. Marvin Harrison was still in the league but Reggie Wayne had taken over as Manning's deep threat. Rookie Joseph Addai replaced veteran Edge James. Dallas Clark split time with Ben Utecht at tight end. The Colts had also dumped their "idiot kicker" Mike Vanderjagt in favor of Super Bowl hero Adam Vinatieri. On defense Dwight Freen, who had a healthy ankle this time, was their fiercest pass rusher, but Robert Mathis was there as well. Cato June was the Colts ballhawk and Bob Sanders was their helper with the run from the backfield. Fortunately Sanders was not injured for the Colts at this time, he saved that for the regular season where he only played four games.
The Bears were third in scoring defense and scored 65 points on defense and special teams. Ogunleye, Tommie Harris, and Mark Anderson put fear in opposing QBs. Brian Urlacher was in his Pro Bowl form and Lance Briggs was flying around the field like a runaway Lamborghini. Ricky Manning Jr. took time away from meals at Denny's to record 5 picks as did Charles Tillman. Devin Hester was only a rookie and used as a returner where he set a record with 6 returns. Grossman had two solid receiving weapons in Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian. Chicago also had both Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson as RBs, and now they have neither.
Venue/Atmosphere- 3.5: Once again the white people flocked to South Florida to enjoy its riches. However, as does happen in the region from time to time, it rained for the Super Bowl, making it the first rainy big game in history. Billy Joel sang the anthem, joining Aaron Neville as the first performer to do it twice. Marlee Matlin signed the national anthem, quality. Halftime belonged to Prince, who wore some kind of babooshka to shield his hair from the rain. I know he is a musical genius but I am kind of lukewarm on him, but the performance was better than his Vikings song.
Personal Enjoyment- 3.5 I make no secret that I was pulling for the Bears in this game because the Colts had knocked off my Patriots, but I was not burning with heathen fire in rage at the Colts. If they won they won, and they did. Despite what Catfish believes I don't have vicious enmity for the organization or Peyton Manning. In fact, I was rooting for the Colts to go 19-0 this year until they bitched out on it.
Cleet's Rating Index: 19
Where I Was: I was in my first year of grad school, bartending and catering to pay bills so I was in full bum mode. I literally woke up at 3 PM and went to sleep at 6 AM. Catfish was nice enough to invite me over to his then-girlfriend's new house. A short side story: I watched the AFC Championship Game at our apartment by myself drinking leftover Modelo from my friends' engagement party weeks earlier. I was in such a celebratory mood at the Patriots 21-3 lead I about passed out at halftime and only regained clarity in time to watch the Pats piss away the 4th quarter, good times.
Anyway, watching the game was fine and relaxing since neither of us had a huge rooting interest. Of course, I had to make a move in bad form. While wolfing down nachos I dropped a chunk of salsa on the girl's brand new white rug. Awkward and sad, I scrubbed the best I could with a moist paper towel.
What Happened in the World: Two days before the game the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report that global climate change is "very likely" to have been caused by humans. Since then the definition of "very likely" has been debated. Note to everyone, stop making global warming jokes when it is freezing outside, you're an idiot.
Record of Note: Devin Hester set a record when he returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a TD. Here is a Cloverfield version of the play:
Later in the quarter Reggie Wayne caught a 53-yard TD pass from Manning. This marked the first time in Super Bowl history two players from the same college scored consecutive TDs. What was the school you say? U already know.
Game MVP: Pey-Pey went for 247 with a TD and a pick, but his big moment was in the 2nd half when he led the drive that gave them the lead 16-14, a lead that they would not relinquish(said in Facenda voice).
LVP: Sex Cannon. He fumbled a snap and with the Bears down 5 and needing a big drive he threw a pick-6 to Kelvin Haden that put the game out of reach.
Most Memorable Play: For me it is still the pick-6 that put the game out of reach.
NFL Fallout: The Bears were never able to regain their defensive prowess from this season. Urlacher began getting hampered by injuries and Lovie was nearly dragged into oblivion by sticking with Grossman for so long. They traded Thomas Jones and eventually released Benson. They traded their second-round pick for Gaines Adams(RIP) and acquired Jay Cutler in a huge deal with the Broncos. It did not work out so well this past year but the Bears brought in Mark Martz, which may make things much better or much worse.
The Colts continued their success and while there are many reasons, Bill Polian among them, it is #18 that drives the train. Manning has brought along new receivers to replace the old and repeatedly comes up big in big games. In a few days he will try to get the Colts their second title in 3 years.