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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Ibitmyeyeoff

WOOT! Interception for a touchdown, don't care what the officials say. And it actually only takes lvl 12 eye-biting skill, level 14 is the ripping the eye out skill part.

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lonewolfx7

Colts Intercept

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MjolnirMaster51

How do you bite your eye off? Does it require lvl. 14 eye-biting skill, because I'm only at 5. :P Just Kidding. GO COLTS!!!!!

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Funkdaddy13

Crap... I can't believe Grossman screwed up that many times. Unless the Bears can figure something out, the Colts are definitely gonna win...

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Yea, I posted that down low. If Prince had a real name, he'd get sued...who knows, maybe he will get sued. I posted that one at about 1:08 GMT, take a look down there if ya wanna see.

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MjolnirMaster51

It may seem a little late to ask this, but was anyone else kinda freaked to hear Prince singing a Foo Fighters song? If I were Dave Grohl, I'd have been pissed.

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Ibitmyeyeoff

go_bears360, why'd you put Go Bears2k6...? I thought about it...and it's 2007. My only other thought was the fact that they started in 2006. Is that correct?

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seniorDK

colts will win about 28 to 14

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go_bears360

GO BEARS2K6, just as my name says, this is gonna be a great qame and very close

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merch

bears 25 /24

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lonewolfx7

Colts will win

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

I took a look and voted Peyton Manning for Superbowl MVP and I saw that 6% of the people who voted either are using a fake mouse and clicked the wrong person, are blind and clicked the wrong person, are in Vinaterri's family, or are just plain dain bramaged. Sorry for semi-posting this below. I accidentally edited out what I said earlier.

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lilt0193

Colts are gonna win....Bears are giving up way too many passes.

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Ok, so maybe I can't leave, but did anyone see the guy who had a cup on his butt? That was just scary...It was facing open side out. He was on the Bears sideline holding his own hand.

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Demon2545

Colts!!!

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

But, I must add, I thought there'd be more commercials with Payton Manning. So far Coke has absolutely dominated any commercials shown as far as advertising goes.

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

I took a look and voted Peyton Manning for Superbowl MVP and I saw that 6% of the people who voted either are using a fake mouse and clicked the wrong person, are blind and clicked the wrong person, are in Vinaterri's family, or are just plain dain bramaged.

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Funkdaddy13

WTF is wrong with Lavantas?

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Ok, I'm off to watch the game...not staring with confusion at my screen.

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ShadowFlame6

TV show... Anime

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Ibitmyeyeoff

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

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ShadowFlame6

Dragon Ball Z

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ShadowFlame6

And Gogeta wins the super bowl!!! Better luck next time, shenron...

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

What the heck is that about Lavantas?

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Lavantas

Both teams simultaneously fuses. Vegeta takes a read and exclaims "OVER NINE THOUSAND!"

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ShadowFlame6

Ok, that was nice...

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Ibitmyeyeoff

They couldn't afford Clay Aiken. =)

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ShadowFlame6

Dear God... Why?... WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE PRINCE?! That field will never be the same again...

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epayps2

I don't mind either team. but i like the colts better.

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Ibitmyeyeoff

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

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Funkdaddy13

:lol: at Ibitmyeyeoff's comment on Prince... I hate that guy. He's weird...

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Rofl, I hope next year for the Packers, if not the Packers, I'd like to see the Colts win again, but that's not too likely to happen.

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Funkdaddy13

I really don't care who wins but I like the Bears a little more... Looks like the Colts are gonna catch up. Can't wait for the game to continue. :D

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PackersRock

PACKERS ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!, in five or six years :( For this game I have to go with the Colts.

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Ibitmyeyeoff

Jsick, whatyu talking about? Vinaterri can't make that feild goal to make it 23. Obviously 28 points from the Colts.

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jsick

Bears all the way! Final score: Bears 35, Colts 23

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

I wonder what else is on besides 'The artist formally known as Prince' who is related to Little Richard and has someone else playing his guitar for him. And if you notice, he's playing an electric guitar in the rain? He stole Foo FIghters - The Best of You...that song is going down the drain now.

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

And, to add to it, the rain is slightly letting up no matter what sort of special effects they showed there at half time.

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ShadowFlame6

maybe, but they already overcame it once and will likely do it again

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

Colts get it to start off the half...I'm scared they're gunna fumble it up close to the goal line and give the bears a lead by 5.

Avatar image for ShadowFlame6
ShadowFlame6

I'm gonna have to go with the Colts for this game... wasn't sure at first, but I don't see how the Bears can overcome the Colt's offense with this crutch that is their quarterback, no matter how tough their D is

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Sora_is_Roxas

Colts duh they are wining now and will win forever peyton mannign is the key go PEYTON

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Gen_Payne

Bears football all the way

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

THATAWAY RoC1909!

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RoC1909

Not a football fan at all but if I were to root for a team, I guess it would have to be Colts.

Avatar image for Ibitmyeyeoff
Ibitmyeyeoff

I'm also gunna predict that the 4th quarter is going to last around 35 minutes. Lemme also add that Vinateri is going to miss every feild goal in the red zone.

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ShadowFlame6

They won't keep the ball out of Rex's hands, but they should... he's gonna end up hurting them more than they think, and you can't afford that against a team like the Colts.... Of course, manning is scared of getting hit, so it might even out a little. The weather is definitely a Bears advantage, but not by much...

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msteryx

Go bears!

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wayful

It's ALLLL colt's baby...I don't care what anyone says...ITS ALL COLTS! They WILL win, no matter what all you haters say.

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Rtisan

The Chicago BEARS >FTW! :wink: All they have to do is show up and they will win! LOL :P