Monday, February 5, 2007

To the WINNERS: Peyton & Dungy get their rings!

The Colts won Super Bowl XLI 29 – 17, in a far more interesting game than their last Super Bowl win back on January 17, 1971, when the then Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys 16 – 13 on a 32 yard field goal by Jim O’Brien, in one of the most boring Super Bowls I remember.

Even though Earl Morral played most of the game, after the legendary Johnny Unitas was intercepted twice, the second time after getting hit while he unloaded the ball, injuring his ribs, Unitas finally got his Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl V, just as Peyton Manning got his, in Super Bowl XLI.

For “old school” NFL fans, this was a great game between two original NFL rivals and with many similarities to past teams on both sides.

Some teams just seem to be breeding grounds for great players at specific positions. Just as the NBA’s Lakers have always had great Centers, from Mikan to Wilt to Kareem to Shaq, the Colts have always had great Quaterbacks From the legendary “Johnny U,” through Earl Morral to Peyton Manning.

The Chicago Bears have always been a team blessed with great Linebackers (from Butkus to Singletary to Uhrlacher) and great running backs as well (from Gayle Sayers to Walter Payton), while the Colts have a history of great receivers from Ray Berry to John Mackey and Roy Jefferson to Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Before this game, much was made of Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith being the first African-American coaches to coach a Super Bowl and of the pressure on Peyton Manning’s to “finally win the big one.”

After the game, the story seemed to be about Chicago’ Quarterback Rex Grossman’s flop.

But that’s the wrong way to view this game!

The match-up was never Manning vs Grossman, it was, if anything, Manning vs Urhlacher, just as old time Colts – Bears match-ups were Unitas vs Butkus.

This was the first Super Bowl were it rained from start to finish. Since rain hampers the offense most, that would've seemed to be an advantage for the Bears and after Chicago took the initial Kick Off back for a TD, it seemed that things were definitely breaking Chicago’s way.

Unfortunately Chicago also had to play offense and Grossman fumbled twice (losing one) and was intercepted twice, with one returned for a late score that pretty much sealed the game.

Indy, leading 16 – 14 at the half, put up 13, while holding the Bears to just 3 second half points en route to a 29 – 17 win.

Tony Dungy, one of the most well-respected coaches finally gets his ring, a long time coming for such a winning coach and Peyton Manning finally shook the label of being “unable to win the big one.”

For Manning, this Super Bowl has to be even sweeter for having gone through his nemesis Tom Brady and the Patriots to get here.

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