The time has finally come for our last post about an actual football game (except for the one where we complain about the Pro Bowl). Super Bowl XLI (41) is here and we couldn’t be more apathetic about it. Say what you want about us being Chargers homers who are just pouting, because you’re probably right. Still, it’s not like this year’s match-up between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears is a pantheon type game. If you need proof of this, notice how the coverage has been more about how nice Miami is than about the on-field match-up. We all know that the sports press is notoriously lazy, but, other than Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith being black, there isn’t all that much to talk about. However, we’ll do our best to stay focused on the game, especially since we’re not in Miami. Damn you, sports writers.
The defensive turnaround the Colts have undergone is nothing short of miraculous. At the start of the playoffs, they were written off because they were facing Larry Johnson and it just so happened that they had the worst run defense in the history of football. Luckily, Herman Edwards doesn’t believe in in-game adjustments, so they got away with one. Then they faced a Ravens team that threw the game (allegedly) –OK fine, we’re the only ones alleging that — and won a field goal kicking contest. Then finally, they played the Patriots, who don’t run the ball because Maroney isn’t ready and Corey Dillon is, well, he’s slow … and old.
All along the way, the Colts’ defense made plays and looked 100% better than it had all season. How did that happen? This kind of turnaround only happens in movies about football teams with no chance who end up beating the team made up of cliched bullies. It seems like Tony Dungy has no idea why this happened either. He’s just praying it lasts one more game so he can stop being “the coach who can’t win the big one.”
Then there’s Peyton Manning, who has been the only non-Tony Dungy angle the press has taken on the Colts over the past two weeks. He’s the “quarterback who can’t win the big one” and no one can decide whether they want to see him fail or finally win one. Here’s the thing: if he loses, he’s still Peyton Manning. But if he wins, he’s arguably the best quarterback of all time.
Despite that, he should still be the loosest guy in the locker room because if he plays well and they lose, then everyone else in there is the guy that cost Peyton Manning his ring. Being a Chargers fan, it’d be logical to think that we’d want the Colts to lose, because seeing the Manning family suffer is about as much fun as we can have these days (since that abomination at “the Murph” a couple of weeks back). But we’re picking the Colts to win this one and here’s why:
If the Bears win the title, football will be ruined forever.
Plainly said, this is not a championship team. We already know they’re heavy underdogs, but underdogs win the Super Bowl sometimes (see: Patriots over Rams). The Bears represent all that is wrong with the NFL today (not including T.O.). They are an atrocious to mediocre offensive team that takes advantage of the turnovers other atrocious and mediocre offenses give them. Pick a Super Bowl champion from previous years. Does the team you are thinking of not destroy this year’s Bears? But let’s break it down in detail.
Rex Grossman is not Trent Dilfer. He doesn’t “manage” games, he’s not efficient and he’s not a fantastic leader who the other players care deeply about. The quarterback in professional football is a sacred position. Great quarterbacks have won this game and built their legends upon it. Rex Grossman would undoubtedly be the worst Super Bowl-winning quarterback of all time. It would be a travesty to let a quarterback who admits to slacking on his game-planning during the week and isn’t even remotely good when he takes it seriously, win the big one.
The Bears are only in this game because of the NFC’s overall mediocrity. They didn’t have to play one opponent that demanded anything of them and they still nearly lost to Seattle. Nothing against the Saints – great season guys – but they crapped the bed in that game in such an appalling manner, that it’s possible they should be banned from further postseason play. In no other conference, could a team with an offense as bad as the Bears go 13-3 and win the conference title. Maybe the Bears’ numbers add up so that they’re not historically bad on offense, but anyone who has watched them knows that they have nothing that poses a challenge to a competent defense.
I can already hear Bears fans complaining that they win because their defense is so great, respect Brian Urlacher, etc etc etc. There have been many great defenses. There are at least four in the league this year that are as good as Chicago’s. The miracle against the Cardinals, beating a Shaun Alexander-less Seattle team, and the typical Eli Manning game against the Giants, are three wins that were given to the Bears. Take those away and the they didn’t win a single game against a good team all season.
The Bears represent the mediocrity that has come to be the norm in the NFL. They make a few plays, have a few miracles, and do absolutely nothing creative or interesting. They have very little talent on offense and their defense, though laden with gifted players, feasts on sub-par competition and has a history of not stopping teams despite its superiority. The Colts have the best quarterback in the league, a great man as their head coach (no offense Lovie), and the true spirit of talent and genius on offense. And when you couple that with the miracle that’s happening with their defense in the postseason, you’ve got a great team.
Should the Bears win, it will strike a blow against teams that want to play exciting football and utilize their talent correctly. It will make more teams stockpile defensive players and run boring, uncreative offensive plays that are the same as everyone else’s. The city of Chicago loves their team and backs them until the end, but there is much more at stake here. Not to be grandiose, but it’s a battle of good and evil this year. If you love football at all, root for the Colts this Sunday.
Prediction: Colts 20, Bears 19
*Note: The previously discussed factual errors have been corrected, thanks to all the readers for so delicately pointing them out. I take the blame for them, since McD spends most of his days like Pryzbylewski (Prez) on The Wire, teaching inner-city kids right from wrong. And just when he thinks he’s had a breakthrough, one of the kids goes and shanks another … so it’s understandable if he sometimes makes mistakes. They slipped past me this time, my bad.