SUPER BOWL XLI Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17 Dolphin Stadium, Miami, Florida February 4, 2007 Attendance: 74,512
Indianapolis Colts (AFC)
Chicago Bears (NFC)
Tony Dungy and Bob Sanders celebrate after the Colts defeated the Bears 29-17 to capture Super Bowl XLI.
Peyton Manning finally has his championship.
Manning threw for 247 yards and a touchdown, as the Colts rallied from the shock of an opening 92-yard kickoff return for a score by Devin Hester and an early eight-point deficit to beat the Chicago Bears, 29-17, in a turnover- laden Super Bowl XLI.
The teams combined for eight turnovers, five from the Bears, including a 56- yard interception return for a touchdown from Indianapolis' Kelvin Hayden in the fourth quarter.
Both teams had trouble with the wet conditions after a persistent rain leveled Dolphin Stadium, but the Colts kept afoot late with a pair of interceptions in the final quarter.
Manning, who completed his ninth season in the NFL, was named the game's MVP and helped the Colts (16-4) to their first title since Super Bowl V, following the 1970 season, when the team was in Baltimore. The two-time NFL MVP connected on 25-of-38 passes and was also picked off once.
"There was no panic, nobody ever gave up," Manning said. "We stayed calm through the entire game. We truly won this championship as a team and I'm proud to be a part of it."
Tony Dungy became the first black coach to win the Super Bowl, as he faced former pupil and Bears coach Lovie Smith. The game featured two African- American coaches for the first time in Super Bowl history.
"I'm proud to be representing African-American cultures, to be the first African-American to win this," Dungy said. "It means an awful lot to our country."
Dominic Rhodes rushed 21 times for 113 yards and a TD for the Colts, who also got 77 yards on the ground from Joseph Addai in the first Super Bowl to be played in rainy weather. Addai also had 10 catches for 66 yards.
Rex Grossman was limited to 20-of-28 passing for 165 yards with a TD and two interceptions for the Bears (15-4), who were outgained 430-265. Chicago's offense wasn't on the field enough, as the Colts held the ball for more than 38 minutes.
"We thought we'd be able to defend the run better," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "We didn't. We didn't tackle well. We didn't stay in our gaps and they had some big runs on us. We didn't expect them to run the ball like they did today."
Thomas Jones had 15 carries for 112 yards for Chicago, which played without an injured Cedric Benson in the second half. Benson hurt his knee on a carry in the second quarter.
Despite the lopsided stats, the Bears were only behind 22-17 going into the fourth quarter, but Grossman was picked off by Hayden, who stepped in front of Muhsin Muhammad. Hayden, in the game after Nick Harper hurt his ankle in the first half, barely came down in bounds near the left sideline before racing to the end zone with 11:44 left.
The Bears challenged the play, but the call stood.
Four offensive plays later, Grossman was picked off by Bob Sanders.
Later in the quarter, the Bears failed on a fourth down pass and by the time they got the ball back for the last time there was 1:42 left. The Bears got past midfield on the game's final pass, but by that time Dungy was being given a water cooler shower from his players.
The Bears were trying for their second Super Bowl win in franchise history. The 1985 edition of the "Monsters of the Midway" followed a 15-1 regular season with a three-game romp through the playoffs, but this year's version couldn't muster much offensively in the big game.
"Our confidence never wavered. It was just a matter of getting into a rhythm as an offense, everyone hitting on all cylinders and getting first downs and getting deeper into your game plan," Grossman said. "That never happened. We stayed in phase, but we just didn't do very well on third and medium."
Adam Vinatieri, who attained his fourth Super Bowl ring, kicked three field goals. He missed a fourth attempt, a 36-yarder at the end of the half.
There were four turnovers in the opening quarter, and Hester showed why he could have been the X-factor early with the first-ever touchdown on the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl. Hester received the ball in the middle of the field before coming toward the 20-yard line when he seemed hemmed in. However, Hester, who had six kick returns for touchdowns this year, escaped and darted to the right sideline, outracing defenders to the end zone.
Indianapolis' first possession resulted in an interception, as Manning was picked off by Chris Harris.
"I think the weather did have a factor in the ball being on the ground," Manning said. "The first series isn't what we wanted. We had some penalties and got in 3rd-and-long. That was our goal, to stay in 3rd-and-manageable. Obviously, our defense did a good job getting those turnovers for us."
Then, after a Chicago punt, Manning drove his team 80 yards in nine plays, with Reggie Wayne catching a 53-yard touchdown pass over the middle on a blown coverage. The score came with 6:50 left in the quarter, but holder Hunter Smith bobbled the snap on the extra point try and Vinatieri was tackled well short of the end zone.
The Colts then elected to stay away from Hester and used a squib kick, but Chicago's Gabe Reid fumbled and Tyjuan Hagler recovered the wet ball for the Colts.
However, Indianapolis gave it back on the next play, with Manning and Addai having a poor exchange. Mark Anderson recovered for the Bears at the Chicago 43, and on the next play Jones rumbled 52 yards.
On 3rd-and-goal, Grossman threw over the middle to the end zone to Muhammad to extend Chicago's lead to 14-6.
Benson fumbled later in the quarter, giving the Colts the ball at the Chicago 43. The Colts were unable to get a first down and punted.
Vinatieri's 29-yard field goal with 11:17 remaining in the second quarter brought the Colts within 14-9, and Rhodes plowed up the middle into the end zone from a yard out with 6:09 left in the half to put the Colts on top.
Incredibly, there were turnovers on back-to-back plays twice in the game.
In the second quarter, Indianapolis tight end Bryan Fletcher caught a pass, but fumbled, but the Bears gave it right back when Grossman fumbled, giving the Colts the ball at the Chicago 35. However, Indianapolis couldn't capitalize.
Manning led his team on a time-consuming 13-play, 56-yard march to start the second half, but the drive stalled before Vinatieri kicked a 24-yard field goal. The Colts ate up 7:34 off the clock.
The Bears punted and Rhodes raced 36 yards on the next play to the Chicago 28. The Colts had a 1st-and-goal just inside the 10, but could only muster a 20- yard field goal from Vinatieri. Indianapolis declined a running-into-the- kicker penalty, as the score stood at 22-14 with 3:16 remaining in the third.
The Bears pulled within five points on Robbie Gould's 44-yard field goal with 1:14 left in the quarter.
The Bears had just 121 yards through three quarters.
The record for combined turnovers is 11, between Baltimore and Dallas in Super Bowl V and tied in Super Bowl XXVII between Buffalo and Dallas...This was Rhodes' first 100-yard rushing game since 2001...Marvin Harrison had five catches for 59 yards for the Colts...Addai became the first player in Super Bowl history with at least 15 rushes and 10 receptions.