Super Bowl XLI: Keys to Victory

It's Da Bears versus Peyton Manning and those others guys. We break down Sunday's big game with a little bit of your help.


Super Bowl XLI kicks off this Sunday, and in preparation for the game, we're bringing you three perspectives on the matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts: Three predictions from GameSpot editors, a wrap-up of a simulated game played on Madden NFL 07, and, finally, comments from GameSpot readers asked to give their keys to victory for both teams in Sunday's game. So put down the bowl of chips, wipe all that ranch sauce off your fingers, and enjoy these predictions for how the big game just might go down.

What We Say

Aaron Thomas
Associate Editor
As a Bears fan, it would be easy for me to say that the Bears simply need to show up to Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Whatever It's Called Today Stadium to win Super Bowl XLI. But as any Buffalo Bills fan can attest, you have to do more than show up to win the Super Bowl. Certain things will need to happen for the Bears to raise the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night, and luckily for Lovie Smith and company, I'm a team player, and I've put them all together in one handy list.

Tank Johnson loose in Miami? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Somebody lock this guy in his hotel room until Sunday.
Tank Johnson loose in Miami? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Somebody lock this guy in his hotel room until Sunday.

Make sure "Bad Rex" doesn't make it to the game: Tell him it's New Year's Eve and he's missing Diddy's party down in South Beach; stuff him in a locker until after the game; let him get into the victory champagne early; send him to Brett Favre's school of "I can squeeze this pass into that tiny opening" for the week; just don't let him make it to the game.

Find "Good Rex" and make sure he shows up: I don't understand how they keep losing this guy, but they need to figure out where his secret lair is and get his butt to the game. Maybe he hides someplace nobody would ever look for him, like the film room.

Don't leave Tank Johnson alone for a second: Tank has been arrested so many times in the last year that the Cincinnati Bengals think he's got character issues. Just thinking about how much trouble he could get himself into in a city that inspired GTA: Vice City is probably enough to give Lovie Smith the cold sweats. Since his current bodyguard is currently, uh, indisposed, it's going to be tough to keep Tank out of trouble, but he just needs to stay out of the clink for a few more days...

Trick Peyton into missing the game: Is there anything that the "6'5", 230-pound quarterback with a laser rocket arm" won't endorse? All the Bears need to do is get in touch with Manning's agent, offer him some cash to endorse some fake products, and then set up the commercial shoots for the same time as the Super Bowl. It might be a little difficult to think of any products that Peyton hasn't already endorsed, but other than that it's a foolproof plan.

Of course there are other keys to winning the game, like not turning the ball over, creating turnovers on defense, and pounding that soft Indianapolis run D with Jones and Benson, but I think I've laid out a pretty solid plan. I wonder how long it will take for them to send me my Super Bowl ring...

Bears: 31, Colts: 28

No Caption Provided

Brian Ekberg
Sports Editor

Like Aaron, I'm a diehard Bears fan. Hell, I'm such a superfan, I don't bleed blue and orange--I bleed Ditka's steak sauce. That said, I'm not above acknowledging the possibility--however remote--of a Colts win. If Indy wants to come out of Super Bowl XLI with the Lombardi trophy in tow, Peyton Manning is going to have to play one of the best games of his career. We're talking a mistake-free, 158.3-quarterback-rating, four-touchdown, zero-interception, 350-yards-in-the-air type of game. No mistakes. No fumbled snaps. A minimum of drops from his receivers.

The Bears don't need a Jim McMahon out of Rex to win Super Bowl XLI, but they'd certainly like to avoid a Kordell.
The Bears don't need a Jim McMahon out of Rex to win Super Bowl XLI, but they'd certainly like to avoid a Kordell.

The Bears thrive on points off of turnovers, and they don't just take advantage of misses, they make you miss--and then punch you in the face and stomp on your soft bits once you're on the ground. If Peyton wants to beat that, he's going to need to be two steps ahead of guys like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and a greedy secondary who collects errant passes like Tank Johnson collects high-powered rifles (allegedly).

But you know what? I don't think he can. The Bears already soundly defeated the number one offense in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, a team led by an outstanding quarterback. So it stands to reason they can take on another high-powered offense led by Manning, and whip them in similar fashion. That's all assuming, however, that Rex Grossman decides to come out and play. Bears fans don't need Rex to play like Joe Montana or John Elway in order to win Super Bowl XLI. They'll be perfectly happy for him to pull off a Trent Dilfer--do just enough to not screw up, and take the trophy back to Chi-town. Then, Super Bowl XLI in the bag, the Bears can go ahead and trade the guy and really make my 2007 a happy one.

Bears: 31, Colts: 28

No Caption Provided

Alex Navarro
Associate Editor

It's admittedly difficult for a Patriots fan such as myself to accept a Super Bowl not featuring the greatest team of this decade. Last year I survived because my girlfriend is a Seahawks fan, and I could at least console her while they were beaten to death by the Steelers and referees. This year, it's like watching Satan mud wrestle Hitler. Seriously, who do you root for in that? Spend an hour or so trying to comprehend the answer to that, and you'll figure out where my head's been at for the last week or so.

Forget the quarterbacks, this game will be won at the line.
Forget the quarterbacks, this game will be won at the line.

Now that that's out of my system, let me say something else controversial. Quarterbacks in this Super Bowl are going to be irrelevant. All anyone wants to talk about is which Rex Grossman will show up--good Rex Grossman, who can actually get a ball into a receiver's hands from time to time, or evil, mustachioed, eye-patched Rex Grossman, who couldn't throw a Frisbee in a park without getting it intercepted. And in between bouts of that, someone asks if Peyton Manning can win "the big one"...again! Seriously, does anyone even care anymore? Truthfully, you could put a donkey in a Manning jersey behind Jeff Saturday for this game (some would say that the Colts already do this every single week) and replace Rex Grossman with a motorized cardboard cutout, and it wouldn't even matter.

Why? Because it's going to depend largely on who gets a running game going, and sticks with it. Everyone already knows that the Bears' defense is a wall made of the stuff they coated Wolverine's bones with, and that the once-soft Colts defense has stepped it up in recent weeks. So the question is, which unit will crack? Which unit will let the other team's running back tandem through a few too many times, and thus open up the floodgates? Neither defense is invulnerable in this game. With all the distractions surrounding Tank Johnson's smorgasbord of weapons charges and Tommie Harris watching the game from the sideline, the Bears might not be as strong up front as they were earlier in the year. Likewise, the Colts have transformed themselves in recent weeks, but is this a transformation that can stick? Is the energy of Bob Sanders enough to sustain them to a Super Bowl win? If so, give that man a raise.

Coming up with a nonbiased score prediction is proving difficult, so I'll just do two of them.

Patriots fan score prediction:
Bears: 7,321, Colts: -5
Realistic score prediction:
Bears: 29, Colts: 23

Who do YOU think will win Super Bowl XLI, and how will they go about doing it? Let us know by adding your comment below!

What Madden NFL 07 Says

It's impossible to say how many questions Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has fielded about his thumb during the two-week break before Super Bowl XLI. He banged it up during the AFC Championship game against the Patriots, and even went so far as to tell his backup, Jim Sorgi, to "get ready" to take the field against the Pats. Colts fans breathed a sigh of relief, though, when number 18 took the field to lead the Colts past New England and into the big game.

If our simulation of the big game is any prediction, Colts fans won't be seeing much of this guy on Sunday.
If our simulation of the big game is any prediction, Colts fans won't be seeing much of this guy on Sunday.

In the simulated Super Bowl we ran on the Xbox version of Madden NFL 07, the worst nightmares of Colts fans were realized, as Manning injured his chest early in the game and was replaced by Sorgi for most of the game's remainder. In fact, Manning made a brave attempt to return to the field in the third quarter, only to reaggravate the injury and bring in the backup for good. While it would have been nice to write about the Sorgi Miracle, it just didn't happen on the virtual field. The Bears' swarming secondary gobbled up pass after pass from Sorgi, leaving Charles Tillman with a total of three interceptions, accounting for nearly half of the Colts' seven turnovers.

For the Bears, Rex Grossman rarely got in the way of his team's success, tossing just one interception and no touchdowns, and it was the running back tandem of Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson that shouldered the lion's share of the yardage, with kicker Robbie Gould going 6/6 and scoring all but seven of the Bears' points. Late in the game, Sorgi came to life, bringing the Colts within two points on a couple of touchdown passes, but it wouldn't be enough to bring Indy the victory.

Bears: 25, Colts: 17

Indianapolis Colts







Chicago Bears







What You Say

The Colts' keys to victory on offense:
  • Avoid Running up the middle
  • Take Urlacher out of the game (make him ineffective)
  • Manning should not stand in the pocket for more than two seconds
  • Throw short, quick passes as the Bears feed off of deep passes
  • Mix up the game

Splitting the ball between Jones and Benson will help keep the Bears' running game going strong.
Splitting the ball between Jones and Benson will help keep the Bears' running game going strong.

The Bears' keys to victory on offense:

  • Play mistake-free football (see Saints game)
  • Grossman should bring his A-game
  • Split time with Benson and Jones
  • Don't focus on burning the speedy Colts' DBs, focus on short routes
  • Focus on the first down market, not the TD
  • Spread the Colts' D-Line

The Colts' keys to victory on defense:

  • Shut down the run
  • Pressure Grossman
  • Look to cover a lot of short routes
  • Play 4-3 defense
  • Plug up the middle

The Bears' keys to victory on defense:

  • Force turnovers
  • Capitalize on offensive scoring to keep the Colts down
  • Be physical, be vigilant
  • Linebacking corps are vital to reaching Manning
  • Urlacher must get to the QB

"My prediction, Da Chicago Bears win by 6."

The Colts' keys to victory:

  • An effective running game is needed to keep pressure off of Peyton
  • The defense needs to keep doing what it's been doing and pressure Rex
  • Don't let Grossman build confidence early on
  • Don't gamble too much; take what the Bears give them

The Bears' keys to victory:

  • Don't let Manning sit back and pass without pressure
  • Stop the running game
  • The defense needs to come up with big plays and give Grossman room for mistakes (God knows he needs it)
  • Pound the Colts' defense and force them to put more men in the box
  • Adrian Peterson needs to start at running back...jk

"Outcome: Colts win by 9."

Big plays from guys like Reggie Wayne could mean a big victory for Indianapolis.
Big plays from guys like Reggie Wayne could mean a big victory for Indianapolis.

"Colts: Big plays to Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Their TE flat routes won't be as effective because of Urlacher's speed. Big play from the offensive line. Aggressive play by the secondary and by Bob Sanders, as was mentioned above.

Bears: Get in Peyton's head early and often. Wear down Colts' defense with Benson, then put in Jones for finesse running late in the game for big gains. Rex decides to study for the game, rather than get caught up in the massive media hype machine of the Super Bowl (not bloody likely)."

"I pick the Colts. Now that their defense is playing well they have now apparent weakness. Although, Devin Hester could completely turn this around with his returning skills and speed. It should be a good game."

Who do YOU think will win Super Bowl XLI, and how will they go about doing it? Let us know by adding your comment below!

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Avatar image for clifftrapremove

Manning and the Colts wore down the bears D and bad rex showed up to the party better late then never. A fun game to watch and one score away most of the time due to the fantastic Bears defense but the Ravens shared a similar problem, if you can not get you offense running you are bound to fail.

Avatar image for puckhead778

at first i thought the bears had it but i guess the colts pulled it since i live in indiana, YEAH!!! NICELY DONE COLTS!!

Avatar image for majestikk

Guess it shows why the editors at Gamespot are great at what they do: report on video games. I was actually surprised to see that no one picked the Colts to win. Being a Jets fan it didn't really matter to me who won. I did want the Bears to win, mainly because I usually tend to cheer for the underdogs. However it was hard to cheer the Bears on, when Rex Grossman looked like he was a second stringer out there and handed the Colts two crucial INT's. And one was when the game was still 22 - 17. All I wanted was a spectacular game, but the best moments were in the first quarter. It was a good game nonetheless. Much love to Peyton Manning, on finally winning the big one, and for MVP. It was well deserved. Congrats to the Colts.

Avatar image for Radek3887

Maybe 0-19

Avatar image for quickshad3

everyone thought colts would win it. And they did win. Bad Rex showed up and the defense played as good as they could for how long they were on the field. So now the Bears are going to be fully healed. They will get a strong pick in the that they need in the draft and Rex will go though a QB boot camp. The Bears will come back hungry and strong....and will go 19-0 next year. And it will be a great year.

Avatar image for chansaet

to much bears fans here (mainly the gamespot editiors) skewing the predition to there side. Colts owned them.

Avatar image for PChanOSU

This is why these three guys get paid to review VIDEO GAMES.

Avatar image for kajtrooper

Colts totally owned. That's all I can say. Everyone thought the Bears would win, lol.

Avatar image for SpudmonkeyInc

JackRipper6 - you are a fool and either know absolutely nothing about football, or watched a different game tonight. Peyton didn't even play a huge game. He had a GOOD game by normal standards - not by his. Colts D demolished those Bears (even the "two-headed monster" power run, suck it), and Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes were their most consistent two main offensive weapons... that means they did it primarily through running game, NOT passing game with Manning. Although, admittedly he did throw some good passes (like the one to Reggie) because the Bears secondary is freaking awful and left people with 10 yards radius of free room.

Avatar image for Floms


Avatar image for DGFreak

It would have been a better victory for Indy if Grossman hadn't handed them the game.

Avatar image for JackRipper6

colts got lucky any way the only way they one was only there QB payton manning and if they did not have him they would have been crushed and gamer 46 i not a ticked off packer fan anyway i hate the colts.

Avatar image for NinjaFoot

I guess the editors' Bears bias turned out to be totally ridiculous.

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Avatar image for racerx737

shanzor said: "I have to say that the game would have been a Bears victory if they didn't have Grossman. He fumbled and tripped up so many times it's not even funny. Oh, and Hester's 92 yard kickoff return was the best play of that game. The Bears defense and offense are good but Grossman sucks. " yeah I have to agree with you there, I was hoping that the Bears would win (not that I really care one way or the other), but I was expecting the Colts to win.

Avatar image for zymase

Oops, 0-3 for you guys. Best to check the personal emotional baggage and look at the featured players. That said though, if it had been the Steelers again (even a Pittsburgh team worse in every aspect than the 6-10 2003 Steelers) against a Bears team with a QB that was actually any good, I still would have been picking the Steelers.

Avatar image for SpudmonkeyInc

Plud - my prediction (28-17) was totally legit. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Avatar image for vix

Go Colts! I'm glad Peyton got the monkey off his back now. And here's to hoping the patriots never make another superbowl again! *cheers*

Avatar image for SpudmonkeyInc

Yup - the best quarterback in the NFL got his. That's for you, Navarro. And it's true, don't even try to deny it. The Colts owned that game from the second play of the game to the end (they learned their lesson on the first).

Avatar image for racerx737

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for compsci101

Dude... the Bears were terrible. Horrific. That wasn't even a game, and the only reason you were in it for a quarter was because Manning couldn't control his nerves at the start. Patriots suck even harder than the Bears.

Avatar image for PacaColt

God I was like a few points off from what I predicted. Hell if the colts were able to put the ball in the end zone it would have been what I predicted. Man u guys dont know how big this is for our city ( INDY) the last time any of our teams won was back in the ABA. But cmon dont blame Grossman, the bears werent a good team. They played in a horrible division, a horrible conference, and nearly lost to the Cardinals. The colts dissapointed me by not winning by more, which they should have, but GO COLTS!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for Gamer46

The only people who picked the Bears were either Bears fans or ticked off Pats fans. Anybody with a brain knew Indy would win, and this is why hopefully next year, GS will not run one of these idiotic features. The editors were way off.

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51

Guys, i seriously want to know the name of that song on the Cadillac commercial. I think it sounds cool.

Avatar image for shanezorz

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT COLTS YEAH BABY WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bow to your Super Bowl Champions THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Avatar image for woodyhou

Good predictions on the scores.....jack@#!

Avatar image for shanzor

I have to say that the game would have been a Bears victory if they didn't have Grossman. He fumbled and tripped up so many times it's not even funny. Oh, and Hester's 92 yard kickoff return was the best play of that game. The Bears defense and offense are good but Grossman sucks.

Avatar image for VegetaMaelstrom

Finally the media can stop talking about Manning being the second coming of Dan Marino. I guess winning a Super Bowl will shut up those naysayers after tonight.

Avatar image for jdr589

well looks all the editors and Madden 07 was wrong!!!! COLTS WIN! 29 - 17 ouch, looks like Bad Rex showed up... They shuldve simmed the game in the rain and then seen what happened

Avatar image for The_AI

It's the Gamespot Curse. Whatever team wins the simulated Super Bowl loses their touch for some reason.

Avatar image for Slappywhite2001

rex grossman lost the superbowl, the bears didnt. he gets his own win-loss column.

Avatar image for thug9cole

haha colts win madden = ownd

Avatar image for saruman354

Well, I think it's pretty obvious that all the editors predictions were FLAT OUT WRONG!!!! COLTS WIN!!!

Avatar image for Chocoholic_Jedi

well, Colts win...o yes

Avatar image for bnwchbammer

damn fufffffffffin colts

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff

Juanfraino, quit being a sore poser. They did good and you know it.

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Avatar image for juanfraino

dam colts...

Avatar image for Cerrav

Ha! In your face editors. Sounding off from Indy... = D

Avatar image for holhardy

Dam where these guys wrong, GO COLTS YAAA HOOOOW

Avatar image for wakko19991

there you have it.. MAdden got it backward...just like the game itself. 2k8 simulation score: Colts 29 Bears 17 even had the injuriesand challenges right.

Avatar image for g-stuart

colts won

Avatar image for lawsonboy

Hey nice predictions! All of you must have forgotten that Rex Grossman stinks and the Bears did horrible against AFC teams this year. I hope none of you bet any money on those predictions.

Avatar image for Ibacai

It's a good day to be a Colts fan, not to mention getting to rub the Bears' faces in it. Two for the price of one.

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51

Is this Criminal Minds or is Grossman already on a killing spree?

Avatar image for JDaniels48

after half time the only thing i would watch was the 2.5 million dollar commercials

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51

thats pretty freakin' sick , dude

Avatar image for Ian23

that's pretty sick xtiansk8, lol. so much for thier predictions. all execpt what one of the members?

Avatar image for xtiansk8

that game was sick. after that, we peed into a car and then one of my friends threw up in the car's windshield. And we weren't even drunk!! how sick is that?!?!

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51

What the heck is that song in the Cadillac commercial?!!!!! I need to know!!