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.

685 Comments

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...

FINAL SCORE
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.

FINAL SCORE
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.

FINAL SCORE:
Bears: 25, Colts: 17

Indianapolis Colts

Passing

TDINTCOMPATTYDS
Sorgi231950277
Manning03103274

Rushing

YardsAttemptsAverageTD
Addai74233.40

Receiving

ReceptionsYardsAverageTD
Wayne1214011.60
Rhodes56412.80
Harrison3217.01

Chicago Bears

Passing

TDINTCOMPATTYDS
Grossman011641232

Rushing

YardsAttemptsAverageTD
Jones124482.50
Benson37113.30

Receiving

ReceptionsYardsAverageTD
Bradley48320.70
Clark4307.50
Muhammad35518.30

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."
--A_zombie

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."
--GamerForca

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)."
--zymase

"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."
--dallas_cowboys3

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 barbierian205
barbierian205

Well, that's it and that's all

Avatar image for kirewpower
kirewpower

bears:17 Colts:28

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Ibitmyeyeoff

Son of a Dick's Sporting Goods, that's was a fumble!

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Funkdaddy13

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

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51
MjolnirMaster51

It used to come on every commercial break, remember?! In the past few Super Bowls, at least.

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Grossman needs to lay down and sit on the bench. Let the backs do something and put in the secondary quarterback.

Avatar image for Funkdaddy13
Funkdaddy13

:lol: Prince is gonna rape Grossman... Uh-oh!!! Injury! :D Owwww! Look at his arm.

Avatar image for barbierian205
barbierian205

Why are they calling screen plays in a time like this?!?!?!?

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Lol, sick of GoDaddy.com? How can you be sick of it when it's come on twice in 5 quarters (this includes pre-game quarter)?

Avatar image for barbierian205
barbierian205

Grossman better pull something out of his ass soon or his career in Chicago is in trouble.

Avatar image for KEITH1437
KEITH1437

We are boned. :cry:

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51
MjolnirMaster51

I am also sick of GoDaddy.com

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51
MjolnirMaster51

I'm SICK of Hannibal!!!!! He just doesn't look like the kind of guy who goes for Asian chicks. I'm just sayin'.

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

35 colts, Vinaterri might choke in the face of victory.

Avatar image for flashtek
flashtek

Colts are getting the big plays now. My guess is 36 Colts 17 Bears

Avatar image for KEITH1437
KEITH1437

WTF!!!!

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Grosswoman's gunna get rolled, get his car egged, get rapped by Prince, and lose his job.

Avatar image for barbierian205
barbierian205

Finally the bears sack that redneck. Big play

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51
MjolnirMaster51

I say that after this season, which means later tonight, Grossman gets canned.

Avatar image for Funkdaddy13
Funkdaddy13

That E-Trade commercial was kinda funny... Whatever, it's not like I really care who wins but I wanted the Bears to win so I could annoy my Colts-loving friend.

Avatar image for seniorDK
seniorDK

when this commercial is over im gonna get off the comp and watch the rest of the game see ya....

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

I love these commercials for pills and stuff, they are always like: certain side affects are loss of blood, decrease in semen, less energy, and possibility of death.

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Hinduce

Grossman is gross. That guy will have a very hard time sleeping tonight. Wow, its over man. But i still think that the Chicgo "D" put up a good fight for what they were doing.

Avatar image for KEITH1437
KEITH1437

Grrrrr!!!!

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Dang close to moving back 5 yards for the Colts.

Avatar image for barbierian205
barbierian205

still 9 minutes left... but Chicago needs a defensive stop and a new quarterback...

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51
MjolnirMaster51

Seriously, seeing as how he's the sports editor, Brian Ekberg should know better. Did I use "know" correctly this time? Good.

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Two touchdowns won't work, Colt's have the ball.

Avatar image for Funkdaddy13
Funkdaddy13

:| The penalties cancelled each other out... ****!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for KEITH1437
KEITH1437

Come on BEARS, Get 2 touch downs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Shew, close call for Colts fans.

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

See, there's a flag, calling the INT back for uneccesary catching.

Avatar image for Funkdaddy13
Funkdaddy13

Wait, wait... A flag!!! :D

Avatar image for KEITH1437
KEITH1437

ANOTHER INTERCEPTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil: :cry:

Avatar image for barbierian205
barbierian205

Nice throw Rex....

Avatar image for Funkdaddy13
Funkdaddy13

Ok, it's over... :evil:

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

I know, editors might not care though. ANOTHER INT!

Avatar image for KEITH1437
KEITH1437

We need a miracle!!!!! Can we do it? I really hope so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :cry:

Avatar image for Funkdaddy13
Funkdaddy13

I bet the editors are screaming at their TV's... :lol:

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Bears need 4 more minutes for those steriods to work in and only 2 minutes to pay off the refs to stop calling the flags for the Colts they'll kill.

Avatar image for Funkdaddy13
Funkdaddy13

Your guy doesn't have eyebrows. ;) He's wearing a helmet and glasses. I really hope that the Bears can figure something out fast... :(

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Lol, elephant ear biting skill. Betcha that's an admin only kinda thing.

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KEITH1437

GROSSMAN!!!!!!!!!! :evil:

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51
MjolnirMaster51

Why did I put "know" instead of "now"? I'm retarded! Or just pumped!

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51
MjolnirMaster51

Lvl. 12. Got it! I'm going for the Mike Tyson "ear-biting skill". By the end of the week I could bite off an elephant's. (sorry if this is gross. I'll stop know.)

Avatar image for seniorDK
seniorDK

Alright COLTS

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Funkdaddy, you need to make your pic stop laughing and make it have depper eyebrows like this >

Avatar image for MjolnirMaster51
MjolnirMaster51

Sweet!!! Awesome Pick! 28-17, baby!!! I've just used 7 exclamation marks and now I'm gonna use 3 more!!!

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Funkdaddy13

OMG!!! WHAT DID YOU DO GROSSMAN!?!?! :cry:

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lonewolfx7

28-17 Colts