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Grossman, Manning will play crucial role in Super Bowl outcome


  Shandon Melvin

By Sun Advocate

The drought has finally ended for fans of the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have not played in a Super Bowl since their championship in 1971 when the team still resided in Baltimore and the Bears have not taken part in the big game since their standout 85-86 season. So for many the match up in Super Bowl XLI is a lifetime in the making.
The game which will be played in south Florida promises to be one for the ages. Tickets are selling online at $3000 for upper-level seating with luxury boxes selling for as high as half a million dollars according to yahoo sports. Their story had a life long Bear’s fan contemplating cashing in his life insurance policy to attend the big game. Tickets are still available if a second mortgage is something worth your consideration.
There have been some changes to the pre-game celebration this year as tail gating has been banned within one mile of the stadium on game day. For entertainment Minnesota’s favorite son, Prince, will perform semi-live at half time, semi-live because of the “wardrobe malfunction” scandal a few years earlier. Also the performance of Kevin Federline as a fast food attendant in one of the Super Bowl’s commercial slots could have the thespian nation calling for Oscar.
As for the game, sports commentary all week has focused on the match up at quarterback and the turnover factor for both teams. Rex Grossman of the Chicago Bears has been up and down all season long and the success of the Bears will likely hinge on the play of the young quarterback. The Colts are depending on a standout performance from seasoned pro Peyton Manning. While Manning’s season statistics were very strong, he threw for over 4000 yards and 31 touchdowns. He has struggled with interceptions and inconsistent play during the post season. Conversely Grossman has come out of his late season slump to put up decent numbers in two playoff games while limiting the turnovers that can plague him. If both quarterbacks play well the game will come down to defense and turnovers.

Super Bowl MVP’s

Analysis all week has focused on the quarterbacks, will the games MVP selection follow that focus?
Past Super Bowl MVP’s:
XL – Hines Ward
XXIX – Deion Sanders
XXXVIII – Tom Brady
XXXVII – Dexter Jackson
XXXVI – Tom Brady
XXXV – Ray Lewis
XXXIV – Kurt Warner
XXXIII – John Elway
XXXII – Terrell Davis
XXXI – Desmond Howard
XXX – Larry Brown
XXIX – Steve Young
XXVIII – Emmitt Smith
XXVII – Troy Aikman
XXVI – Mark Rypien
XXV – Ottis Anderson
XXIV – Joe Montana
XXIII – Jerry Rice
XXII – Dour Williams
XXI – Phil Simms
XX – Richard Dent
XIX – Joe Montana
XVIII – Marcus Allen
XVII – John Riggins
XVI – Joe Montana
XV – Jim Plunkett
XIV – Terry Bradshaw
XIII – Terry Bradshaw
XII – Randy White, Havey Martin
XI – Fred Biletnikoff
X – Lynn Swann
IX – Franco Harris
VIII – Larry Csonka
VII – Jake Scott
VI – Roger Staubach
V – Chuck Howley
IV – Len Dawson
III – Joe Namath
II – Bart Star
I – Bart Star

Offensive plays for the Bears are called by Ron Turner who’s MO this season has been to establish the power running game with Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson (who has received a good number more carries this post season), in order to open up the deep ball for Grossman and wide receivers Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhammad and TE Desmond Clark. Grossman likes to throw the deep post as well as deep seam routes and if the Colts plan to bring pressure with an attack style blitzing scheme, then Grossman will see a lot of man to man coverage on his speedy outside receivers. The key will lie in the Chicago quarterback getting good protection from his offensive line, anchored by all-pro Olin Kreutz, and his ability to step up and put the ball on the money.
The cover two zone defense played in the Chicago secondary relies on smart physical coverage and if cornerbacks Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher, and Ricky Manning Jr. don’t play good press man defense the Colt’s Peyton Manning could have easy pickings all day. The need for good man d stems from the fact that Chicago has not been able to get good pressure on opposing quarterbacks with their front four in the playoffs and has taken to blitzing more often than in the regular season. If the press technique is used affectively the Bears will be able to zone blitz and disrupt Manning.
The Colts offense is led by Manning who calls his own plays and is a master at reading defenses at the line of scrimmage and then adjusting. A pivotal matchup in the game will be Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher’s defensive calls and Manning’s audibles. The Colts use multiple receiver sets and defenses never know whether stand-out TE Dallas Clark will line up in the traditional spot or flanked out as a wide receiver. Indianapolis also has a balanced running game this year featuring the likes of Joseph Addia and Domonic Rhodes. Manning could be the most dangerous passer in the game and with wide outs Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne playing better than ever the Chicago defense will be stretched to its limits.
The Indy defense relies on speed and the heavy pass rush of DE Dwight Freeney. Grossman has not played well this year when pressured and if Freeney gets to him early it could be lights out for the young Chicago QB. Getting Free Safety Bob Sanders back from injury only adds to a defense that has carried the Colts through the post season thus far. However, the Colts also play a lot of cover two pass defense and if Grossman is given time and gets hot the Chicago offense will chew up the clock leaving the dangerous Manning by the Gatorade.
The Colts have an advantage in the kicking game having signed post-season ice man Adam Vinatieri. However, the Bears Robbi Gould was selected to the Pro-Bowl and has been flawless this post season. Chicago also sports the best kick and punt returner in the league. Devin Hester broke league records this year for both the longest kick return from scrimmage and most kick-off and punts returned for touchdowns.
These tight matchups could again mean the game will come down to and turnovers. There have been 16 teams that had zero turnovers in the Super Bowl, 14 have won. The Bears defense caused the most turnovers this year and the Colts speed makes them dangerous anytime they get around the ball.
All of this statistical analysis boils down to one undeniable fact, no matter who wins the Super Bowl it is a great event. It is the country’s biggest sporting spectacle and it gives everyone the opportunity to get together with friends and family, have some great food, watch the game and yell and scream at the television like a kid.

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