Oh My Miami. This year’s Super Bowl features a match up of two teams that play a mere 181 miles away from each other right in the heart of the northern Midwest. However, instead of the frozen land of Lincoln this game will be played at Sunny South Florida.
For the Bears it is the first time in the ultimate game since Super Bowl XX, when the Bears true Monsters of the Midway did the Super Bowl Shuffle all over the Patriots. So dominate was that team when they won in January of 1986 many thought they would be back two, three, maybe even four more times. However, they took 21 years to make it to the big game, while the Colts wait is even longer as the last time they were in a Super Bowl Richard Nixon was in the White House. Since that January day in Miami, and day is key word as the Super Bowl still in it’s infancy was played early in the afternoon. Back then there was not much glitz and the Colts actually called Baltimore home as they avenged their stunning loss in Super Bowl III by beating the Cowboys 16-13 in a blunder filled game on a last second Field Goal by Rookie Jim O’Brien. In the years since the Colts have traded owners, and moved to Indianapolis in the dark of night like a delinquent tenant still owing 5 months back rent.
The game has changed considerably since both teams last stood on this stage, and just stands as interesting side notes as we play this year. Like many Super Bowls it’s a strong Defense facing a High Scoring Offense, as the two stand out stars are the Colts QB Peyton Manning and Bears LB Brian Urlacher who have each graced the last two issues of Sports Illustrated thus eliminating any talk of an SI Jinx, if you believe in such a thing. Another jinx that could be looked at is Peyton Manning’s Jinx from when he was in College, as the Tennessee QB didn’t win a Bowl game and never beat Florida, the Alma matter of Bears QB Rex Grossman. Gators have been successful lately too on and off campus, as the NCAA Basketball and Football Champs have also swelled with pride as David Eckstein a one time Gator won the World Series MVP.
So what does that all mean, absolutely nothing. Fact is there is a new Peyton Manning, and he goes in to the Super Bowl a winner, and not a loser. To overcome a 21-3 deficit against the Patriots a team that is much better then the Bears, and lead the Colts to a classic win in the AFC Championship Game shows us times have changed. The days of Peyton Manning being compared to A-Rod are over, as the QB that was once the best in the regular season now knows how to win when the games matter most.
It just is difficult to imagine any way possible the Bears win this game, the defense is strong, but missing two key components in Tommie Harris, and Mike Brown. Sure they didn’t have them in the NFC Playoffs, but that’s the NFC. The NFC is an inferior league compared to the AFC which had the four top teams in the entire league this year. Also the Colts have already beaten the top two rated offenses in the Pats and the Ravens. The running game could swing the game for the Bears, but the Colts rushing defense has turned it up a notch in the postseason it would be hard to imagine them falling back now. If the Colts get in front, Rex Grossman will have to pass more, and the more he passes the more error prone he is, though don’t expect him to be awful. Look for the Colts to take the lead and the Bears to stay relatively close until the 4th Quarter when the Colts will put the game away, and cover the spread at the same time, as Manning wins the Super Bowl MVP.