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 bear1961

toooooo baaaaaaaaaaad thhhhhhhhhhe cooooooolttttttttts woooooooon. dang

Avatar image for Alcotamaysees

Geez the QB completion percentage is terrible.

Avatar image for ArmorGod

I will tell you the one thing that kept the Colts on the field for so long. OFFESSIVE LINE!! Did you not see the holes up the middle? I was absolutely shocked to see the Colts able to run up the middle against the Bears. Great blocking for those running backs. It allow Manning the ability to throw to the middle on cross slants all day long. As far as Grossman's concerned, he looked nervous.

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Avatar image for fathertroy

Very fun Superbowl win by Colts

Avatar image for Dark-Messenger

Hahaha, Patriots fan score. Well, Manning and the Colts proved everyone WRONG again. You gotta believe in blue people.

Avatar image for Kasrkin_BA

Excellent start to a Superbowl I thought. Very exciting game but poor coverage over here in the UK. Man I was cranky the next day for work :(

Avatar image for rugripper40

yeah...that superbowl was great...fumbles,interceptions,rain,etc made the game even more was a great time

Avatar image for skydiver777

Hallelujah, i have been waiting for this for 10 years. I remember the Jim Harbaugh and Marshall Faulk days with the Colts. Finally Indy has a national championship. Shazam!

Avatar image for Gamer101masta

lol @ chicago. i've always hated the bears and dont know why. anyways, why the hell did the seahawks have to get the 500 yd grossman? Colts got the 500 fumbles and picks grossman. lucky bastards

Avatar image for Zguntype0

Haha there were wrong and I was right, for once. I never guess the superbowl right except maybe last year, but that was a little easy to call. Any who I can't believe I was right the team I wanted to win, won, usually doesn't happen that way. Oh and by the way it was a sweet game, one of the best super bowls I have seen in a while.

Avatar image for whynotdairy

*cough* I know, all too well that the super bowl was yesterday, however the bears were goin on as if they were the underdogs in all of this like the eagles were supposedly the underdogs 2 years ago when playin ma boys the patriots. Even though more than half the attendance at sb 39 was eales fans supposedly they were the, as for simulating a game on madden nfl 07 or any madden for that madder is just ridonkulous. i was lookin at the screens and that looks nothing like manning. I thiink after maaany years of making games EA would finally know what looks good and what doesnt, furthermore if the cots can beat the heavenly patties, then there is no way chicago can beat indie. manning deserved a ring and he got ityay!!1

Avatar image for MercyHigh

that's a lie u can't simulate on madden 07

Avatar image for SirAndyII

Manning throwing 3 ints??? Is this some sort of cruel joke? Sorgi actually playing?? What kind of sim was this? Colts Def is also horribly underrated.

Avatar image for boyracer_usa

hahahaha, look at the fanboys.

Avatar image for arsy130

the colts owned the bears and their sorry a$$ rex grossman.... and they thought they were gonna win at the begining... hahahaha...

Avatar image for SilV3RSix

The Colts have finally figured out that there are 10 other people on the offense besides Manning. The personel hasn't really changed on the offensive side of the ball during the last couple of years but they are a heckuva lot better as a run balanced team. You could see Peyton frsutrated because he couldn't zing it 8 million times, but he's got the Marino Monkey off his back.

Avatar image for ethermay

the bears defense ate it all night long. the better team won. simple as that.

Avatar image for Bishop21

Everybody wants to blame Rex. How bout put'n some blame on that Chicago D that Peyton carved up all night long.

Avatar image for Grouchu

Was everyone expecting the Bears to win? Roffles...owned.

Avatar image for glaceya

the bears suffered from Psycho Rex syndrome. You jus never know which Rex will show up. the high school second stringer or the NFL pro. And we all know which one showed up on Sunday. VS The colts and Peyton manning. who plays like a hall of famer on every single snap. He's worked hard and he earned his ring. Hats off to the colts it was well deserved

Avatar image for _Sam_

The bears had a good opening, but their quarterback wasn't good during most of the game

Avatar image for sugreev2005-06

Did you people see the tonight show yesterday,Mo Rocca interviewing the Bears and the Colts.Really funny...about my choice,I will go with the colts.

Avatar image for Edgar3_5

For what it's worth, the folks at Gamespot should have re-ran the simulation since the original predicted a game-ending injury for Manning. I don't doubt the Bears D could seriously mess up a QB but Manning has proven he basically the next Brett Favre when it comes to avoiding serious injuries. The guy never misses any playing time. It's one thing to stay true to the original simulation but it is another to let a scenario this improbable be your final simulation. Or better yet, why not run multiple simulations and average the data for a more reliable simulation. That is Statistics 101 - increase your sample size.

Avatar image for Jumbo120788

I'm glad to see that the Colts walked away with this victory. They Really deserve it and Adam Vinatieri now has 4 rings.

Avatar image for XBOX360LIVE

Im gonna say the colts win lol

Avatar image for ThrawnEternal

I love how they all picked the bears and the Bears pretty much sucked.

Avatar image for Zoomer30

hahaha looks like the Madden games will never make good pysics. "Rex Groosmen will not get in his teams way"....hmmm last time I checked throwing a floating duck pass that a 5 year old could have picked off, and then have it run back for a TD is getting in your teams way :D

Avatar image for carnie06

lol "Avoid Running up the middle" the colts did just that...and won! gg

Avatar image for gamecube120

I bet the Colts will win 29 to 17. Any takers??

Avatar image for Solid_Gabriel

I laugh at you guys now!!!! Colts da Champ!!!

Avatar image for atlessky

Well...I dont know but i do support Colts...may the best team win!!!

Avatar image for kidneyboy

Yo as good as the Bears may have looked, they play in the NFC which does not mean as much. That is why i knew the colts would win and i was right.

Avatar image for king_pin_87
king_pin_87 I think this website describes the superbowl perfectly

Avatar image for BigC_072

LOL GS mispredicted last year as they did this year.

Avatar image for klactose

Well my prediction was correct. I said if the bears didn't run the ball, they would lose, and voila! Rex Grossman and the bears offensive coordinator should both be shot. Rex for sucking so badly, and the coordinator for constantly putting the burden to win on Rex's incompentant shoulders. Should have run the ball and let Jones/Peterson win it!

Avatar image for ketsuatama

Poor Rex Whatshisname!

Avatar image for Ocram_Zepol

Haha... I knew the colts were going to win. I don't know why everyone thought the bears would win. I mean... everyone knows that the best defense is a good offense.

Avatar image for JimBurber

Well, gotta say, If I had money to burn, I would have put it all on the colts, it was an easy pick, the Bears Offense is terrible, and the their Defense has stunk it up the past 8 weeks

Avatar image for just_lester

lol, 29 - 17 colts won... just opposite, almost.

Avatar image for Player_69

Outlawlaw.... what have you been smokin? Both teams did not play well. If the Bears could sustain any sort of a drive and Grossman didn't compromise every opportunity we had in the second half we would've won. So I would say both teams did not play well.

Avatar image for StumpyTrash

When the Bears failed to make any significant plays after their first quarter interception, I just knew they were going to lose. Then the Colts missed their field goal that same quarter which would have won me $125 on an office board. After that, I lost interest. LOL

Avatar image for StumpyTrash

When the Bears failed to make any significant plays after their first quarter interception, I just knew they were going to lose. Then the Colts missed their field goal that same quarter which would have won me $125 on an office board. After that, I lost interest. LOL

Avatar image for xljohn

Haha. Good predictions. Totally wrong, but yeah.

Avatar image for StumpyTrash

After the Bears failed to gain complete any significant plays following their first interception, I had a feeling there was no way they'd win. Had the Colts made their first-quarter field goal attempt, I would have won $125 on the superbowl board at work. After that, I figured why bother... LOL

Avatar image for hazix007

And suddenly gamespot becomes a Superbowl forum...whatever it is, it's Colts night. Cheers~

Avatar image for Outlawlaw

COLTS WIN! It's good to be right. Nice guesses guys. Both teams played well and grats to the Colts for the win. kinda blew my 21-14 colts prediction out of the water when they started to run away with it in the 4th quarter.

Avatar image for zedkenobi

Wow could your editors be more wrong? Granted, I'm from Knoxville, TN, so obviously I'm a huge Peyton Manning fan, but just because you guys are by Chicago doesn' t mean you should abandon your editorial integrity. Chicago's been terrible all year. The only guy that deserved to be at the Super Bowl was Brian Urlacher and he pretty much got stomped into the ground tonight. Remember, UT vs UF back in 1997. This time, though, Peyton showed who the better QB really is. Period.

Avatar image for halBU

"A fun game to watch and one score away most of the time due to the fantastic Bears defense" Really? Fantastic?

Avatar image for g_hart

Wow. All of you losers above were wrong.