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Super Bowl XLI BLOG

Check back every day until the Super Bowl for updates, news, trivia and more.

2/5/07, by Fearless Rick

By the Numbers: How the Colts Won the Super Bowl

When the scoreboard flashed 0:00, there were only two numbers that really mattered, 29-17, the final score of Super Bowl LXI. The Indianapolis Colts were the champions of professional football; the Chicago Bears would have all of the off-season to ponder what went wrong.

There were big plays by big players, but mostly, a few numbers stood out above the rest.

70,000+ - Number of people who paid anywhere from $600 to $10,000 to watch the game in a pouring rain. So much for the reputation of "sunny" Florida. Break out the Nyquil.

190 - Number of yards rushing by Colts' superb pair of running backs, Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes. Their season-long excellence begs the question, "Edgerrin Who?"

100 - Total yardage on passes caught by the receivers named Clark, 1 on each team.

92 - The number of yards the Bears' Devin Hester scampered with the opening kickoff for a touchdown and a 7-0 Chicago lead.

81 - Total plays by the Colts, as compared to just 48 for Chicago.

56 - Yards covered on the interception by Kelvin Hayden returned for a touchdown and the final score of the game.

53 and 8 - Catches by Reggie Wayne were only two and those numbers represent the yardage gained on each. The longer one went for a TD when the Bears blew coverage on him.

46 - Total points in the game. The over/under in Las Vegas and elsewhere opened at 49 or 48.5 and dropped as low as 47 or 46.5, but no lower. Tony Dungy's decision to run the ball from inside the Bears' 20 on 4th and 8, rather than kick an almost-certain field goal with under 2 minutes remaining earned him the respect of under bettors everywhere.

29 - Longest field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

24 - First downs by the Colts; 11 passing, 12 rushing, 1 by penalty.

11 - Points scored by Adam Vinatieri.

10 - Points scored by Bears after Hester's game opening touchdown. Also the number of passes caught by Joseph Addai.

7.5 - Average yards per carry by Bears' running back Thomas Jones, who nearly equaled Rhodes with 112 yards on 15 carries (Rhodes had 113). Maybe the Bears should have given the ball to Jones more often, like when they had it near midfield and decided to pass on 2nd and 1. The result was an 11-yard loss when Grossman stumbled and fell.

5 - Bears' turnovers.

3 - Third down conversions by the Bears, out of 10 tries, below their season average of 36%.

3 (redux) - Turnovers directly attributable to Rex Grossman, including one fumbled snap and two really ugly passes.

1 - Number of times Peyton Manning was sacked. Had the Bears been able to exert a little more pressure, the game may have been different. They didn't and it wasn't. One is also the number of times Manning was intercepted and the number of TD passes he threw.

0 - 4th down conversions by both teams combined on just two attempts. Neither really mattered and both came within the final 5 minutes of the game.

-2 - Turnover differential for the Bears. While Indy lost the ball three times, the Bears coughed it up 5 times.

Too Many - Number of times linebacker Brian Urlacher praised the Colts, both before and after the game.

214 - Days until the 2007 season starts. That's a wrap.

2/4/07, 2:38 PM EST, by Fearless Rick

It's Super Bowl Sunday!

With the game scheduled to begin in less than four hours, a final check on both teams.

The Colts hope cornerback Nick Harper will be ready to go come gametime. Harper participated in Indy's final walk-through on Saturday, but coach Tony Dungy said he would make a gametime decision.

The Colts also expect defensive end Robert Mathis to play. Mathis was held out of practice on Saturday due to back spasms.

The Bears are as fit and healthy as they've been all season. Only Ron Wilson, a backup to middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, is feeling any pain. Wilson tweaked a hamstring on Friday, but is still expected to be available.

Billy Joel will sing the national anthem and Prince will perform at halftime. No wardrobe malfunctions are expected from they flamboyant rocker. Pepsi and Prince have a special site set up for the event.

The Colts remain a 7-point favorite, while the over/under has dropped to 47.5 from 48.5. There's a 40% chance of rain, though it's been on and off most of the day.

Enjoy the game!

2/2/07, by Fearless Rick

Former Stars in Super Spotlight

The Super Bowl always attracts it's fair share of former stars, MVPs and Hall of Famers, and this year's event in Miami is no exception. Here's a roundup of what former players and coaches from the big game are doing and saying.

Mike Ditka, who played on a winning Super Bowl team in 1975 (Dallas) and won another as coach of the Bears in 1985-86, donated his Super Bowl ring from 1975 to an auction for former NFL players.

The auction is the brainchild of Green Bay Packer great and Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer and is linked from his site, JerryKramer.com. Other items in the Gridiron Greatsauction include hand-drawn plays by legendary Packers' coach Vince Lombardi, a football signed by Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor and Bart Starr, plus many other items from former and current players.

Proceeds go to benefit former players who have fallen on hard times, many of whom have physical injuries from playing and no means of financial support.

Kramer noted that many former NFL players are now in their 60s and 70s and played in an era that did not include signing bonuses and multi-million dollar salaries.

Steiner Sports hosts the online auction which kicked off Thursday and ends Tuesday, January 13th.

Ditka's ring had already been bid up to $4900 as of Friday morning.

Making the rounds on radio row were a host of former Super Bowl participants including Emmitt Smith, Joe Theismann, and Donovan McNabb.

Smith was lobbying for teammate Michael Irvin's election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while McNabb was talking at a Chunky Soup press conference.

Theismann, who seems to always show up at any spotlight event, joins a bevy of former players and coaches turned broadcasters on the scene, including Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Shannon Sharpe, Jimmy Johnson, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Jerome Bettis and Chris Collinsworth.

Marino, part of CBS' broadcast crew, has been following Peyton Manning to Colts' practices. Apparently, Marino, a Hall of Fame quarterback who never won a Super Bowl, likes what he sees in Manning.

Another Super Bowl QB and MVP, Joe Montana, has been engaging in a war of words with the NFL about his failure to appear in last year's half-time show. According to the NFL, Montana wanted a $100,000 appearance fee and the league wouldn't pay. Montana said he wanted to be at his sons' basketball games that weekend and the Hall of Famer walked.

While they haven't been seen in Miami (yet), there's apparently a budding romance between New England Patriots' QB Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. The two were seen together in New York recently.

2/1/07, by Fearless Rick

Football Fever

With the ultimate game less than 76 hours away, fans are getting a little crazy, players' nerves are jumpy and the parties are about to begin in earnest.

First, fans have gone gaga over flat screen, plasma and hi-def TV sets, sparking a buying spree that will have a significant impact on a handful of companies and actually be a strong component for government calculations on the overall health and growth of the US economy.

Sales of all manner of high tech TV equipment is flying out of showrooms and stores across the country. Abt Electronics, north of Chicago, sold about 170 large-screen TVs a day helping to make January a record month.

Gamers are also getting into the mix. A couple of writers for the University of Connecticut played the Super Bowl with updated rosters of the Colts and Bears on Madden 2007 for PlayStation 2. The result was a stunning 80-10 win for the Colts. Maybe the Bears need a PlayStation 3?

Celebrities are descending upon South Miami like a horde of hungry wolves after a wounded deer. Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Ryan Seacrest, Hilary Duff and BeyoncÈ are just a few who have been spotted in the area and scheduled to appear in coming days.

Parties hosted by Playboy, Penthouse, and some top gambling sites are among the hottest invitation-only events. Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony are hosting an event in conjunction with Ocean Drive magazine. There's even an NFL-sanctioned Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, featuring Cedric the Entertainer, Yolanda Adams and Fred Hammond.

How about the players? After yesterday's media bonanza, there's a lot of focus on the quarterbacks for Sunday's game, Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman.

The AP's Dave Goldberg voices his opinion of the two quarterbacks at MSNBC, calling one "Da Worst" and the other "Da Man."

Columnist Mike Mulligan says Manning seems to have an edge, but check the history books, reminding us that it's still a team game and that greats such as Johnny Unitas and John Elway won with quarterback ratings that would usually result in being benched.

3 days and 3 1/2 hours until kickoff. It's getting a little antsy, crazy and frenzied out there.

1/30/07, by Fearless Rick

News Blizzard Hits Miami

A search on Google News for the words "Super Bowl" produced 58,461 results on Tuesday night. That number will only get bigger as kickoff approaches.

To put the volume of stories being written about the final game of the 2006-07 NFL season, Iraq produced 216,912 results (well, it is a war, after all), Scooter Libby: 5,230 (he's only on trial for perjury in a case involving disclosing the identity of a CIA agent), American Idol: 15,031. Yep, this Super Bowl is a pretty big deal.

How many reporters are on the scene to cover not the game, but everything and anything even remotely related to it? Three thousand members of the media have been credentialed, including 340 international reporters.

That should be enough.

1/29/07, by Fearless Rick

Bears on the Ground, Colts en Route to Miami

The Chicago Bears arrived in Miami for Super Bowl XLI on Sunday. The Indianapolis Colts are due in tonight, and the Pro Football Writers Association has filed a complaint with the league, saying the Colts are depriving them from supplying adequate pre-game coverage.

The Bears' players seemed relaxed but a little anxious and some expressed a intention to avoid trouble and late night hijinks in the wild Miami night life:

"Our curfew is midnight," said rookie Devin Hester, who played in college at Miami. "I told the guys everything starts (at South Beach) at 1 o'clock, so we'll already be in bed.

The writers are upset because a half dozen or so media events were planned for Monday, but the Colts' late arrival occasioned them to be canceled.

Meanwhile, the Bears had an extra day on the ground and were available to the press. Coach Lovie Smith expressed his desire to stop quarterback Peyton Manning after reading 18 pages about him in the Colts' media guide.

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher compared the Super Bowl to a business trip in his remarks to reporters.

In a related story, the NFL fined New Orleans Saints' running back Reggie Bush $5000 for taunting the All-Pro linebacker on his electrifying 88 yards TD catch and run in the NFC Championship. Little good it did him. It was the last time the Saints scored in the game as the Bears pulled away from a 16-14 lead to score another 23 unanswered points and qualify for the Super Bowl.

It's an object lesson. Taunting and showboating (Bush somersaulted into the end zone on the play) are for losers.

1/28/07, by Fearless Rick

A Spate of Super Sites

In the quest to blog all the way to the big game we bring you today a collection of links that are sure to please:

Ten Top Super Bowl Moments by the Winnipeg Sun Staff - you may not agree with their assessment, but these are some of the biggest moments in Super Bowl history, including the TD plunge by William (the Fridge) Perry in Super Bowl XX.

Colts 'AFC Championship' Gear Flies Out Store Doors at IndyChannel.com - Colts' t-shirts sold out 2 hours before store officially opens.

Black Super Bowl coaches will knock down another wall - Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith have already made history. On Sunday, one of them will make more.

Super Bowl ads return to humorous roots -- and let amateurs take part by Associated Press via the Daily News of Longview, WA - nifty preview of this year's crop of Super Bowl ads with links to some of the advertiser sites, like Garmin, Nationwide (with Kevin Federline), Doritos and Chevrolet.

SuperBowl.com - Official website of Super Bowl XLI - History, Future Super Bowl Locations, Super Bowl Video and more. I couldn't not list this, could I? (Personally, I was not impressed.)

Super Bowl Commercials - extensive interactive video archive of Super Bowl ads from 1998 to the present. Loaded with eye candy including Apple's historic "1984" Macintosh ad.

Super Bowl Champions' Logos - if you like team logos, Chris Creamer's sportslogos.net has all the winners on one page, plus about 5500 other logos elsewhere on the site.

1/27/07, by Fearless Rick

Tickets Are Available!

Most of the people in the world will be watching the Super Bowl on TV, either at home, at a restaurant or club or a friend's party. Some 70,000 will be attending the game in Miami at Dolphins Stadium, though some paid more than others.

Super Bowl ticket distribution is entirely controlled by the NFL. 25.2% of the tickets go to the league for licensees, sponsors and advertisers; 17.5% each to the two participant teams (some of these are available in a lottery for season ticket holders); 5% to the host (the Miami Dolphins this year); and 1.2% (about 840 tickets) to each of the remaining 29 NFL teams.

Face value for Super Bowl tickets is $600 to $700, but about 20-30% of these will be resold. Most will go to brokers who will pay upwards of $1500-$2500 and then tack on another 20-30%. So, if you have a hankering to head South to Miami, get ready to open your wallet wide.

I thought the best prices would likely be found on eBay, because individuals will circumvent the brokers and sell them themselves. Of course, buying from an individual can be tricky, so one must be sure to check the seller's feedback to prevent being scammed.

The cheapest single ticket I found sold on ebay for $3000. That's less than what's being offered by brokers, which start at around $3400.

A pair of 50-yard line, lower level tickets fetched the highest price on eBay, a whopping $16,250 or $8,125 each. (note that you will have to be logged in at eBay to view these previous two links for closed auctions)

Most expensive ticket? How about a suite on the Bears sideline for 50 people? Only $558,838.00, or, for Bill Gates, walking-around money.

Add in transportation, hotel (not for the feint of heart) and you're easily looking at a minimum of $5000 for the weekend. Enjoy!

1/25/07, by Fearless Rick

Questions, but no answers

OK, we're heading into the long in-between weekend before the Super Bowl. The big game fades from view somewhat, but the reporters and pundits are just gearing up.

Generally speaking, the glut of Super Bowl stories occurs between Tuesday and Friday the week of the game, so we're heading into the Super Bowl Lull (note to self: everything related must be titled "Super Bowl ____.")

So, heading into the long weekend in which football fans will have to make due with Tiger Woods playing golf in San Diego and a healthy slate of college basketball, I've located a number of articles posing the really posing questions, but not supplying many answers.

The first which caught my attention was one questioning whether Rex Grossman is the worst Super Bowl quarterback ever.

The story, by Ralph Vacciano, probes the depths of Super Bowl history and makes some interesting points while never rendering an opinion on Grossman. Maybe that's somewhat unfair to the Bears' QB, but such is the stuff of writers with too much time on their hands and too much space to fill.

I did find it interesting that the article pointed out that Terry Bradshaw had a 45.3% completion rate during the regular season before winning the Super Bowl in 1974, and that the great Joe Namath went though the 1968 season at 49.2%, guaranteed a win in Super Bowl III and then delivered.

The biggest question for some time had been, "when will a black head coach win a Super Bowl?" but it's already been answered as this year, both coaches are black. So, the question remaining is whether Lovie Smith (Bears) or Tony Dungy (Colts) will be the first black coach to claim a Super Bowl ring.

The race issue has generated more than it's share of buzz. While it's somewhat unfortunate that no black coach has yet risen to the top of the NFL coaching heap, the fact that both coaches are black maybe underscores that their time has (finally) come and maybe Americans can (finally) grow up.

Incidentally, it's been 19 years since Doug Williams became the first black QB to win a Super Bowl. Will we now be watching to see when the first black coach with a black QB wins a Super Bowl?

I certainly hope not. Race shouldn't be an issue in sports, at least not at this advanced date. The civil rights movement was 40 years ago. It's time we all just moved on.

1/24/07, by Fearless Rick

Here comes the trash talk...

Well, the players haven't begun mouthing off just yet, but some sportswriters just couldn't hold themselves back. Personally, I'm waiting until Tuesday to deliver the real dope on this game, but during that time, I'll be breaking down all the important elements. See my analysis over on the picks page.

Let's get to the pickers. Obviously, only some of them are going to be right, but every last one of them hopes they are. It's kind of a fool's game, because if you're right, you share the honor with about 150 million other folks. If you're wrong, you hope nobody notices. In any case, we're all fools for this one, but only the die-hards will give you a final score, like E. M. Smith of SI.com, even though he thinks Dallas Clark is a tight end (he's a slot receiver. Ben Utecht is the Colts' TE). How much do they pay these guys?

Anyhow, Swift goes out on a limb and picks the Bears to not only cover the 7-point line, but win the game outright, Bears 22, Colts 21. I don't know how one scores 22 points, and Swift doesn't tell us, though he offers 5 (pretty lame) reasons for the Bears to prevail. Guess he thinks the game will be under that magic 49 line.

How you get 22 without a 2-point conversion: two field goals (6), a safety (2) and two TDs (14), or, 5 field goals (15) and a TD (7).

Probably the earliest prediction, by Chris Carter on Yahoo! Sports says the Colts, but doesn't offer a final score. He does give each team three check marks, so he figures it close? Just a guess.

In other news, Peyton Manning isn't saying much about the thumb he banged in the 4th quarter of the AFC Championship. X-rays were negative, so it probably will be OK with two weeks in which to heal.

Hall of Famer Gayle Sayers thinks Tank Johnson should be ruled intelligible for the game. Johnson was arrested on Dec. 14 and charged with six counts of possession of unlicensed firearms (Three rifles, three handguns; the guy is 6'3" and 300 pounds. Does he really need all that?). He was cleared by a judge to travel. Both the judge and I doubt he's a flight risk.

And what would the Super Bowl be without a Britney Spears reference? Don't answer that. Anyhow, some restaurant people are annoyed that Spears' recently-divorced husband Kevin Federline appears as a fast-food employee in a Super Bowl ad. You want fries with that settlement?

1/23/07, by Fearless Rick

Let the Party Begin

OK, so most of us won't be able to attend the game in person, especially with ticket prices running between $2000 and $5000 a pop for the big game.

But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the game with a bunch of friends. Since the game starts late - kickoff is slated for 6:37 Eastern, but don't count on it - you and your crew will have plenty of time beforehand to get sated or sloshed on the foods and drinks of your choice. A couple of guides offer tips to a better Super Bowl party, and we've provided some links to get you on the right track.

e-How covers the most basic needs in their How to Throw a Super Bowl Party article, offering a step-by-step approach, while providing a number of tips and warnings, such as this timeless piece of advice: "Move any fragile or breakable items out of the room before the game starts."

For more advanced tips on your Super Bowl party, That's the Spirit has a great guide complete with drink recipes, trivia and ways to dress up your digs.

Naturally, the viewing experience is paramount, so if you're still watching on your 21-inch Sanyo, make sure not to invite more than 4 people. The last thing you want is people crowding the screen to catch the action. So, you might want to invest in a new living room before ordering the monster 102-inch plasma by Samsung - the world's largest. Engadget has a review.

For drinks, we suggest the SPICY CITRI-POLITAN courtesy of Franks Red-Hot. Nothing like a little vodak/grapefruit/hot suace combo before and during the game. Here's the recipe.

1/21/07, by Fearless Rick

It's the Colts and Bears in Super Bowl XLI

It didn't take more than half an hour after the thrilling 38-34 win by the Indianapolis Colts over their arch-nemesis, New England Patriots, that bookmakers in Las Vegas installed the Colts as a 7-point favorite over the Chicago Bears.

The Bears took out the New Orleans Saints in dominating fashion, 39-14 just hours before and despite the one-sided nature of their win, still ended up the underdog against Peyton Manning and his high-octane offense.

Chicago won with a combination of defense, timely offense and were helped by four Saints' turnovers. By contrast, the Colts-Patriots contest was far more ordely, with Brady's last minute interception one of only two turnovers in the game.

There are still two weeks to go before the teams finally get on the field and go to work, but we're committed to report on every angle right up until kick-off. After that, you're on your own.

Check out the Super Bowl Quiz to test your big game knowledge.