Super Bowl XLI
|Date||February 4, 2007|
|Stadium||Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida|
|MVP||Peyton Manning, quarterback|
|Favorite||Colts by 7|
|Current/Future Hall of Famers|
|Colts: Bill Polian (general manager), Tony Dungy (coach), Marvin Harrison|
Bears: Brian Urlacher
|National anthem||Billy Joel, American Sign Language (ASL) performed by Marlee Matlin|
|Coin toss||Dan Marino and Norma Hunt (widow of Lamar Hunt)|
|Halftime show||Prince and the Florida A&M University Marching 100|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Steve Tasker, Solomon Wilcots, Sam Ryan and Lesley Visser|
|Nielsen ratings||42.6 (national) |
(est. 93.2 million viewers)
|Market share||64 (national)|
|Cost of 30-second commercial||US$2.6 million|
|Radio in the United States|
|Announcers||Marv Albert, Boomer Esiason, John Dockery and Bonnie Bernstein|
Super Bowl XLI was an American football game played between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Indianapolis Colts and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Chicago Bears to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2006 season. The Colts defeated the Bears by the score of 29–17. The game was played on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
This game featured two teams ending long Super Bowl appearance droughts. The Colts, who finished with a 12–4 regular season record, were making their first Super Bowl appearance since winning Super Bowl V in the 1970 season during the team's tenure in Baltimore; they had moved to Indianapolis in 1984. Meanwhile, the Bears, who posted an NFC-best 13–3 regular season record, were making their first appearance since winning Super Bowl XX in the 1985 season. In addition, the Bears' Lovie Smith and the Colts' Tony Dungy both became the first African-American head coaches to coach in the Super Bowl, with Dungy the first to win.
In the first Super Bowl played in rainy conditions, the Colts overcame a 14–6 first-quarter deficit to outscore the Bears 23–3 in the last three quarters. Chicago posted the then-earliest lead in Super Bowl history when returner Devin Hester ran back the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown after 14 seconds had elapsed (a record later broken in Super Bowl XLVIII when the Seattle Seahawks scored a safety 12 seconds into the game). The Colts forced five turnovers, including cornerback Kelvin Hayden's 56-yard interception return for a touchdown. Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri also scored three field goals. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was named the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP), completing 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown, with one interception for a passer rating of 81.8.
CBS' broadcast of the game was watched by an estimated average of 93.2 million viewers, making it at the time the fifth most watched program in U.S. television history. The halftime show, headlined by the musician Prince, peaked at 140 million television viewers, and was widely acclaimed by music critics.
Host selection process
Dolphin Stadium won the bid to host Super Bowl XLI on September 17, 2003 after a campaign against Phoenix, Tampa, New York City, and Washington, D.C.. With this game, the Miami metropolitan area tied New Orleans, Louisiana as the city to host the most Super Bowls (9).
This was the fourth Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium, which has also been known as "Joe Robbie Stadium" and "Pro Player Stadium". The venue previously hosted Super Bowls XXIII (broadcast on NBC), XXIX (on ABC), and XXXIII (on FOX). Super Bowls II, III, V, X, and XIII were also in Miami, but held at the Miami Orange Bowl. This was the first Super Bowl played at the stadium since the city of Miami Gardens where the stadium is located was incorporated on May 13, 2003.
In February 2006, the NFL and the South Florida Super Bowl XLI Host Committee unveiled the slogan "one game, one dream" for the game, referring to the entire South Florida region working together to present the event. The Super Bowl XLI logo was also unveiled, featuring the colors orange (to represent the sun) and blue (for the ocean). The "I" in the Roman numeral "XLI" was drawn to resemble a pylon placed at each corner of an end zone because "the goal is to get to the game." The logo had the same shade of orange as the logo of the host city's home team, the Miami Dolphins. The "XL" part was similar to that of Super Bowl XL's logo.
The Colts' first trip to the Super Bowl in 36 years set a record for longest time between appearances by a team. Their return was the culmination of a nine-year-long building process. In 1998, they drafted quarterback Peyton Manning to lead the team. Over the next four seasons, Manning, along with other stars such as receiver Marvin Harrison and running back Edgerrin James, turned the Colts into one of the best offensive teams in the NFL, but the team struggled to find consistency on defense and always ended up with either a losing season or elimination from the playoffs in the first round. In 2002, Indianapolis fired head coach Jim Mora and replaced him with Tony Dungy. Dungy had developed one of the best defenses in the NFL while coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it was hoped he could solve the Colts' defensive problems as well.
Over the next four seasons, the Colts won 48 of 64 games, but still could not find much success in the postseason. In 2002, they were blown out 41–0 in the wild card round by the New York Jets. In 2003, they won their first two playoff games behind impressive offensive performances, and reached the AFC title game. There, they lost to the eventual champion New England Patriots 24–14, with Manning throwing four interceptions. In 2004, the Colts had one of the most spectacular offensive seasons in NFL history, scoring 522 points and gaining 6,582 yards, while Manning set NFL records for most touchdown passes and highest passer rating. But again the Patriots' defense (and snowy conditions) proved too formidable, as they lost 20–3 in the divisional round of the playoffs.
In 2005, the Colts' defense improved, making the team the clear favorites in the NFL. They won the first 13 games of the season and finished with a 14–2 record, while ranking second in the NFL in both points scored and fewest points allowed. But once again they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs, this time to the #6 seeded Pittsburgh Steelers, 21–18. After another disappointing loss, Manning had developed a reputation of being unable to make it to a championship, a reputation that followed him from college after he was unable to win an NCAA title with the Tennessee Volunteers (who won a title the year after he graduated). The Colts lost some key players after the 2005 season, including James, who departed the Colts for the Arizona Cardinals, and kicker Mike Vanderjagt, the NFL's all-time leader in field goal percentage, who left for the Dallas Cowboys.
Still, the Colts remained one of the AFC's top teams in the 2006 season. Manning made the Pro Bowl for the 7th time in his career, completing 362 of 555 passes for 4,397 yards and an NFL-best 31 touchdowns, with an additional 4 rushing touchdowns and with only 9 interceptions and 15 sacks. His favorite target was Harrison, who caught 95 passes for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns. Receiver Reggie Wayne was also a major deep threat with 86 receptions for 1,310 yards and 9 touchdowns. Tight ends Ben Utecht and Dallas Clark were also reliable targets, each recording over 30 receptions for over 300 yards. On the ground, rookie running back Joseph Addai led the team with 1,081 yards and a 4.8 yards-per-carry average despite not starting any games in the regular season. He also caught 40 receptions for 325 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. Running back Dominic Rhodes was also a major contributor, rushing for 641 yards and catching 36 passes for 251 yards. The offensive line was led by Pro Bowlers Jeff Saturday and Tarik Glenn. On special teams, the Colts signed kicker Adam Vinatieri to replace Vanderjagt. While Vinatieri's career field goal percentage was lower, the Colts considered him to be an improvement because of his reputation for making "clutch" kicks, a reputation aided by his game winning field goals in Super Bowl XXXVI and Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Indianapolis' defense ranked second in the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (who recorded 9.5 sacks and forced 4 fumbles) were widely considered to be among the best pass-rushing defensive ends in the NFL. Behind them, linebacker Cato June led the team in tackles (92) and interceptions (3). The Colts' run defense, however, was a major problem, giving up 2,768 yards on the ground, an average of 173 per game and last in the NFL. Another major issue for the Colts was their coverage teams, as they ranked 30th out of 32 teams in average kickoff return yardage allowed and 31st in average punt return yardage allowed.
Indianapolis started out the season winning their first nine games, but ended up losing four of their next seven and finished with a 12–4 record, giving them the #3 playoff seed. Therefore, they had to play in a wild card playoff game. In the playoffs, they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 23-8, defeated the Baltimore Ravens 15-6 in the divisional round, and advanced to Super Bowl XLI with a 38-34 win over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
Chicago finished the season with an NFC best 13–3 record and advanced to the second Super Bowl in franchise history. They defeated the Seattle Seahawks 27-24 in the divisional round of the playoffs, and the New Orleans Saints 39-14 in the NFC Championship game to advance to Super Bowl XLI. The team excelled on defense, ranking third in fewest points allowed (255) and second in fewest points allowed per drive. They also ranked second in scoring (427 points), although only tenth in points per offensive drive thanks to a league leading 65 points scored on defensive or special teams plays.
The Bears offense was led by quarterback Rex Grossman, the team's first round draft pick in 2003. Over the previous three seasons, Grossman had played in just 8 regular season games due to injuries, but he recovered to start in all 16 games in 2006. By the end of the season, he finished with 3,193 yards and 23 touchdowns, the most by a Bears quarterback since 1995. Grossman had difficulty avoiding turnovers, however, and threw 20 interceptions and lost five fumbles during the year. In the last seven games of the season, he turned the ball over 18 times. Many fans and sports writers expected head coach Lovie Smith to bench him at some point, but Smith insisted that Grossman would be the starter throughout the entire season.
Receivers Muhsin Muhammad (60 receptions, 863 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Bernard Berrian (51 receptions, 775 yards, 7 touchdowns) provided the main deep threat on the team, along with tight end Desmond Clark, who caught 45 passes for 626 yards and 6 touchdowns. Chicago's running game was led by running backs Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Jones rushed for 1,210 yards and caught 36 passes, while Benson rushed for 647 yards and scored 6 touchdowns.
Chicago's defense allowed the 5th least total yardage, allowed less than 100 yards per game on the ground, and allowed the fewest yards per drive of any NFL team. The line was anchored by Adewale Ogunleye, who had 6.5 sacks, and Pro Bowler Tommie Harris, who recorded 5, along with rookie Mark Anderson, who led the team with 12 sacks. Behind them, two of the three Bears starting linebackers, Lance Briggs, and Brian Urlacher, were selected to the 2007 Pro Bowl. In the secondary, cornerbacks Ricky Manning and Charles Tillman each recorded five interceptions. The defense was also able to make up for the offense's poor performance earlier in the season, as explained in the win against the Cardinals in Week 6.
The loss of Harris to injury after the twelfth game of the season coincided with a decline in defensive performance. Before his loss, the Bears allowed only two opponents to score more than twenty points (23 points to the Arizona Cardinals in week six and 31 to the Miami Dolphins in week 9). After his injury, Chicago opponents scored more than 20 points in six of the seven remaining games, including two of three playoff games. Only the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game were held below 21 points.
The Bears' special teams sent three players to the Pro Bowl, including special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo, kicker Robbie Gould (who led all NFL kickers with 143 points), and rookie return man Devin Hester, who gained 600 punt return yards with a 12.8 yards per return average, the second highest in the NFL. He also set a league record with 6 touchdowns on special teams.
Regular season statistical comparison
The chart below provides a comparison of regular season statistics in key categories (overall rank amongst 32 teams in parentheses).
|Statistic||Indianapolis Colts||Chicago Bears|
|Points scored per game||26.7 (2nd, tied)||26.7 (2nd, tied)|
|Points allowed per game||22.5 (23rd)||15.9 (3rd)|
|Rushing yards gained per game||110.1 (18th)||119.9 (15th)|
|Rushing yards allowed per game||173.0 (32nd)||99.4 (6th)|
|Passing yards gained per game||269.2 (2nd)||205.1 (14th)|
|Passing yards allowed per game||159.2 (2nd)||194.8 (11th)|
|Yards gained per play||6.0 (2nd)||5.0 (21st)|
|Yards allowed per play||5.5 (29th)||4.6 (2nd)|
|Time of possession per game||29:32 (23rd)||30:56 (11th)|
|Third-down conversion percentage||56 (1st)||37 (22nd)|
|Third-down conversion percentage allowed||47 (32nd)||31 (2nd)|
|Fourth-down conversion percentage||0 (32nd)||69 (4th, tied)|
|Fourth-down conversion percentage allowed||79 (30th, tied)||62 (27th)|
|Total turnover differential||+7 (7th)||+8 (4th)|
Although the Colts' rushing defense looked extremely weak during the season, it ended up being a key factor on their road to the Super Bowl. First, Indianapolis defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 23–8, holding Chiefs running back Larry Johnson (who rushed for 1,789 yards during the season) to just 32 yards on 13 carries. Then, they defeated the Baltimore Ravens 15–6, winning on a playoff record-tying five field goals by Vinatieri and holding running back Jamal Lewis (who rushed for 1,132 yards during the season) to just 53 yards.
Then the Colts faced their arch-rival New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. New England jumped to an early 21–3 lead, but Indianapolis stormed back in the second half, outscoring the Patriots 32–13 with an additional field goal late in the first half. With 2:22 left in the game, the Colts had the ball on their own 20-yard line trailing 34–31. On the first four plays of the drive, Manning completed three passes, moving the ball 69 yards to the Patriots 11-yard line in just 24 seconds. Three plays later, Addai scored a 3-yard touchdown run to put them in the lead, 38–34 with only 60 seconds left in regulation. The Patriots responded with a drive to the Colts 45-yard line, but defensive back Marlin Jackson ended the drive with an interception to give Indianapolis the win. This happened to be the biggest comeback in AFC-NFC Conference Championship history.
Meanwhile, the Bears started out their post-season with a 27–24 win over the Seattle Seahawks with Robbie Gould's 49-yard field goal in overtime. One week later, they defeated the New Orleans Saints 39–14 in the NFC Championship Game. Chicago dominated most of the game, jumping to a 16–0 early lead. Two touchdown passes from Saints quarterback Drew Brees, cut the score to 16–14, but the Bears responded with 23 unanswered points to propel them to their first Super Bowl since 1985. Thomas Jones finished the game with a franchise postseason record 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
It was the first time since the 1996 postseason that the home team won both of the conference championship games. The Colts were the first dome team to win the Super Bowl in an outdoor game (the St. Louis Rams were the first dome team to win a Super Bowl, XXXIV inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta). The 2006 Indianapolis Colts were the first division champion to win a Super Bowl with four postseason wins and the second division champion (2003 Carolina Panthers) to win a conference title with three postseason wins.
For the Bears, this marked the first time that a Chicago sports team not owned by Jerry Reinsdorf had reached the champion game/series in their league since the Blackhawks lost in the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals.
Super Bowl pre-game practices and notes
The Indianapolis Colts held pre-game practices for Super Bowl XLI at the Miami Dolphins Training Facility on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. The Colts' "Team and Family" hotel was the Marriott Harbor Beach. At the 2007 Indianapolis 500 pre-race ceremonies on May 27, 2007, eventual Super Bowl XLI MVP Peyton Manning stated to ABC Sports commentator Brent Musburger the day before the game that two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Hélio Castroneves gave a pep talk to the Colts team.
Chicago defensive tackle Tank Johnson was required to request a judge's order to leave the state of Illinois due to an arrest for unlicensed ownership of six firearms and two assault rifles. On January 23, 2007, the judge granted him permission to travel out of state to play in the Super Bowl.
Chicago and Indianapolis are the two closest cities, geographically, to ever play in a Super Bowl; at 182 miles (293 km) apart (connected by a route that is mostly Interstate 65), they are slightly closer than New York and Baltimore, whose teams played each other at III (207 miles) and XXXV (188 miles). This prompted Colts coach Tony Dungy to joke to Jim Nantz, at the end of the AFC Championship game, that the two teams should split the difference and play the game in Fort Wayne.
This was the first Super Bowl since Super Bowl V that all players on both teams wore black shoes.
The game was televised in the United States by CBS in high-definition with play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and color commentator Phil Simms. This was the first Super Bowl announced by Nantz. Additionally, the game had Steve Tasker (Bears sideline) and Solomon Wilcots (Colts sideline) reporting on the sidelines and Lesley Visser (Bears sideline) and Sam Ryan (Colts sideline) in the stands.
This was the first Super Bowl aired on CBS since the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake incident three years earlier, in Super Bowl XXXVIII; and the first since the Viacom/CBS split at the end of 2005. Extensive pre-game coverage, hosted by The NFL Today team of James Brown, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason and Dan Marino, whose name graces the address of the game site (2269 Dan Marino Boulevard), began at noon (US EST) with NFL Films' "Road to the Super Bowl" year in review (narrated by Tom Selleck). This was followed by "The Phil Simms All-Iron Team", and a four-and-a-half-hour Super Bowl Today pre-game show followed by game coverage at 6:25 PM. Other contributors to the pre-game show included Katie Couric, anchor of the CBS Evening News, Armen Keteyian, CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent, Randy Cross, who reported from Iraq where U.S. military forces played a touch football game known as "The Baghdad Bowl" and Dick Enberg, who participated in his 12th Super Bowl telecast as a host, play-by-play announcer, or contributor. Westwood One provided radio coverage of the event, with Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason as announcers.
The opening title sequence of CBS television coverage featured the composition Lux Aeterna, by artist Clint Mansell, in the background.
Nielsen Media Research reported 93 million viewers for Super Bowl XLI, making it at the time the fifth most watched program in U.S. television history (trailing only the M*A*S*H finale and Super Bowls XLIII, XXX, and XLII).
Advertising rates were reported as being slightly higher than in the year before, with CBS confirming a price of $2.6 million for some 30-second spots, compared with $2.5 million during Super Bowl XL. However, CNN reported that after discounts, the average price is likely closer to $1.8 to $2 million. Familiar advertisers in recent years such as Anheuser-Busch, CareerBuilder, General Motors and Coca-Cola bought multiple advertising spots, and other popular advertisers like Go Daddy and Emerald Nuts had commercials this year.
The only major hype related to commercials in the months leading up to Super Bowl XLI involved various campaigns to allow consumers to be involved in the creation of Super Bowl ads, inspired by consumer-generated content sites like YouTube. Frito-Lay announced a campaign in September 2006 to allow the public to submit ads for their Doritos brand and vote on the best one, which aired during the Super Bowl. Doritos actually aired two of the ads due to a close voting margin; the winning ad (featuring a chance meeting with a man and a woman that feature the qualities of Doritos) aired in the first quarter, while a second (with a checkout lady overly enamored with the product) aired in the second quarter. The five finalists each received $10,000 in this contest. General Motors announced a similar contest, open only to college students, for their Chevrolet brand; however, the ad would be produced professionally based on ideas suggested by the public. The winning ad featured men gathering around an HHR model with women in it and stripping off their clothes and giving it a car wash. The NFL itself advertised a similar contest to generate suggestions for a commercial promoting the league, with the winning concept featuring fans' disappointment that their teams' season was over.
The annual USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter survey chose a Budweiser ad featuring crabs worshiping an ice chest with that particular beer inside as the top ad of Super Bowl XLI, followed by another Bud commercial featuring a stray dog with mud spots climbing onto the brewery's trademark Clydesdale-drawn wagon in a parade. In all, Anheuser-Busch took seven of the top ten spots in the annual survey, sweeping the top three spots. A YouTube user survey chose the Doritos "Snack Hard" ad (produced for the incredible price of $12, the cost of three bags of the snack product) as their top ad, that ad finished fourth in the USA Today survey. ADBOWL results were slightly different with only 6 of Anheuser-Busch's ads finishing in the top ten. The highest ranked being the Bud Light "Rock, Paper, Scissors" spot. Also in the top ten were Blockbuster Video's "Mouse", Doritos' "Car Wreck", GM's "Robot" and Taco Bell's "Lion's Talk 'Carne'."
One ad that drew criticism from the gay community was for the Snickers candy bar featuring two men accidentally "kissing" each other after sharing the product in question, then proceeded to rip chest hairs as a manly act as homophobic. The ad proved to be controversial, and the ad was cancelled the next day by Masterfoods USA (Mars, Incorporated's snack food division), and three other versions were deleted from the snickers.com web site. The ad was ninth in the USA Today ad survey, and according to a Masterfoods publicist, not intended to harm anyone.
A different ad for General Motors featured a laid off assembly line robot contemplating suicide, which drew criticism from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The group asked for an apology from GM, and that the ad be taken off the air and the company's website. The suicide scene was replaced with a scene of the robot watching a car being crushed at a junkyard when it was shown again during the 79th Academy Awards on February 25.
The Super Bowl was broadcast live in Canada on CBS (which is available in Canada) as well as Global TV and NTV which both took the main CBS commentary, and on the French cable channel RDS. In the United Kingdom the Super Bowl was broadcast on ITV1, Sky Sports 1 & Sky Sports HD1 with Sky Sports taking the main CBS commentary and ITV taking the NFL supplied international commentary feed of Spero Dedes and Sterling Sharpe.
Super Bowl XLI was broadcast in over 200 countries. Amongst the television networks who broadcast Super Bowl XLI were:
Before the game, Cirque du Soleil, Romero Britto and Little Louie Vega performed as the pre-game act, and Billy Joel sang the National Anthem, accompanying himself on piano. He also performed at Super Bowl XXIII, which was played at the same venue. Joel became the second person to sing the National Anthem twice for a Super Bowl; Aaron Neville sang the national anthem before Super Bowl XXIV, in New Orleans, and Super Bowl XL (along with Aretha Franklin), in Detroit. This was also the last time until Luke Bryan sang at Super Bowl LI that a male artist had sung the national anthem at a Super Bowl.
Besides participating in the CBS telecast of the pre-game show, Dan Marino also participated in the coin toss along with Norma Hunt, the widow of Lamar Hunt, the former owner of the Kansas City Chiefs and the man who gave the Super Bowl its name.
American singer and musician Prince performed in the halftime show. The setlist for Prince's performance was a short rendition of "We Will Rock You" by Queen; Prince's hit songs "Let's Go Crazy" and "Baby I'm a Star"; covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary", Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower", and Foo Fighters' "Best of You"; and finally his signature song "Purple Rain" in the downpour. The 12-minute performance featured Prince accompanied by two dancers he called "The Twinz" (Maya and Nandy McClean) and the Florida A&M University marching band, the Marching 100. Prince had rehearsed with the drum line for a week before the performance. The performance was on a large, central stage which was shaped like Prince's logo, and was outlined with lights. He played before 74,512 fans at Dolphin Stadium, who had been given flashlights to point at the stage during the performance of "Purple Rain". The event was carried "to the biggest audience of his life" with 140 million television viewers. Overall, the show was energetic and well received by the rain-soaked audience surrounding the stage. Music critics were extremely enthusiastic about his performance, one calling it "arguably the best halftime show in Super Bowl history", and others saying it was one of the best ever.
Following the game, controversy emerged about a silhouetted camera shot of Prince, projected against a large sheet by a bright light on the other side of him. The controversy centered around his guitar, which detractors claimed seemed phallic, and critics stating that it "looked embarrassingly rude, crude and unfortunately placed". Though the guitar has been considered by some an extension of a male player's sexuality (especially highlighted by such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, and even Prince himself), supporters of Prince say that the show did not, in fact, become any more sexually charged than usual, noting that "a guitar at waist level does look like an enormous phallus". In 2015, Entertainment Tonight listed the silhouetted camera shot, naming it "Prince's Demon Phallus", as one of the top seven Super Bowl halftime moments. In 2016, shortly after Prince's death, the halftime show's producer Don Mischer said that having a silhouetted camera shot of Prince was his idea, but denied it was meant to be a phallic statement.
The Bears won the coin toss and elected to receive. For the first time in Super Bowl history, the game was played in the rain, which was continuous throughout the game.
The rain did not hinder Bears' return man Devin Hester, who ran back the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to give Chicago the then earliest lead in Super Bowl history, after only 14 seconds. The Colts avoided kicking to Hester for the rest of the game, allowing him only one punt return, and choosing to squib kick whenever Hester was in the deep kickoff return position.
On Indianapolis' first drive of the game, defensive back Chris Harris intercepted a deep, third-down pass from quarterback Peyton Manning and returned it 6 yards to the Bears' 35-yard line. However, Chicago could not gain a first down on their ensuing possession and they were forced to punt. After several short runs and passes, Manning beat the Bears' defense with a 53-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Reggie Wayne, cutting the Bears' lead to 7–6. The touchdown occurred because of a mental error on the Bears' secondary. Cornerback Charles Tillman passed Reggie Wayne onto safety Danieal Manning. However, Manning chose to follow tight end Ben Utecht over the middle, leaving Wayne all alone. The score remained the same, at 7–6, after punter/holder Hunter Smith fumbled the snap on the point-after-touchdown (PAT) attempt. On the ensuing kickoff, Chicago tight end Gabe Reid fumbled Adam Vinatieri's bouncing kickoff while being tackled by Robert Mathis; Colts linebacker Tyjuan Hagler recovered the loose ball. However, on the next play, Indianapolis gave the ball back when running back Joseph Addai fumbled the hand-off and Bears defensive end Mark Anderson recovered it.
On the first play after the turnover, Thomas Jones's 52-yard run moved the ball to the Colts' 5-yard line. Three plays later, Rex Grossman threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to receiver Muhsin Muhammad, giving the Bears a 14–6 lead. After forcing an Indianapolis punt, Chicago lost another turnover when Cedric Benson's fumble was recovered by Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney on the Bears' 43-yard line. Indianapolis subsequently advanced to the 36-yard line, but decided to punt rather than risk a 53-yard field goal attempt.
Following a Chicago punt, Indianapolis drove 47 yards and scored with Vinatieri's 29-yard field goal to make the score 14–9. Chicago was forced to punt again on their next drive, and return man Terrence Wilkins returned the ball 12 yards to his own 42-yard line. Manning started out the drive with a 22-yard completion to Marvin Harrison. His next pass went to tight end Dallas Clark for 17 yards. Two more completions moved the ball to the Bears' 11-yard line, and then Dominic Rhodes took the ball to the end zone with three consecutive carries, the last one a 1-yard touchdown run to give his team a 16–14 lead with 6:09 left in the second quarter.
After another Chicago punt, the Colts advanced to the Bears' 36-yard line before Tillman ended the drive by forcing and recovering a fumble from tight end Bryan Fletcher. But on the next play, Grossman fumbled a snap, and Colts defensive lineman Raheem Brock recovered the ball. Manning then led the Colts to Chicago's 17-yard line. With two seconds left, Vinatieri attempted a 36-yard field goal, but his kick sailed wide left, and the score remained 16–14 at halftime.
Wilkins returned the second half kickoff 26 yards to the Colts's 38-yard line. On the ensuing possession, Addai rushed five times for 25 yards and caught four passes for 19 yards as the Colts drove 56 yards in 13 plays and scored with a 29-yard field goal from Vinatieri, increasing their lead to 19–14. On the Bears' next drive, Jones started out with a 14-yard run, and then Muhammad caught a 9-yard pass, bringing up second down and one on the Colts' 45-yard line. But on the next play, Grossman was sacked for an 11-yard loss by Anthony McFarland. Then, on third down, he fumbled the snap. Grossman recovered the fumble himself, but the Bears were forced to punt, and Wilkins returned the ball 12 yards to the Colts' 36-yard line. Rhodes then gained 52 yards on four carries, with a face-mask penalty adding another 10. Chicago managed to halt the drive at their own 2-yard line, but Vinatieri kicked his third field goal to make the score 22–14.
Chicago tight end John Gilmore picked up Vinatieri's bouncing kickoff and returned it 9-yards to his own 45-yard line, with an unnecessary roughness penalty on Mathis adding another 15 yards and giving the Bears a first down on the Colts' 40-yard line. Chicago could only gain 14 yards on their ensuing possession, but it was enough for Robbie Gould to make a 44-yard field goal, cutting the score to 22–17.
After an Indianapolis 7-play drive ended in a punt, Chicago started on their own 20-yard line with 13:38 left in the game. But four plays later, Colts defensive back Kelvin Hayden intercepted a pass intended for Muhammad and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.
From that point on, the Colts took over the game. Four plays after the ensuing kickoff, Colts defensive back Bob Sanders intercepted Grossman's pass and returned it 38 yards to the Bears 41-yard line. Chicago's defense eventually forced a punt, but Smith's 32-yard kick pinned the Bears back at their own 8-yard line. The Bears drove to their own 47, but on a fourth down conversion attempt, tight end Desmond Clark dropped a potential first down reception after being leveled by defensive back Matt Giordano. The Colts subsequently called eight consecutive Dominic Rhodes runs before turning the ball over on downs themselves, leaving only 1:42 remaining in regulation. Five plays later, the game was over.
This was the third Super Bowl to have two players rush for more than 100 yards as Dominic Rhodes had 113 for the Colts and Thomas Jones had 112 for the Bears. Tony Dungy is the third man to win the Super Bowl as a head coach as well as a player, following Tom Flores and Mike Ditka.
For the Colts, Rhodes rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown, while also catching an 8-yard reception. Addai rushed for 77 yards and caught 10 passes for 66 yards. Wilkins returned four kickoffs for 89 yards and 3 punts for 42 yards. Adam Vinatieri became the first kicker ever to play in five Super Bowls and the first to win four Super Bowl rings. Vinatieri's three field goals and two extra points gave him 49 points for the entire 2006 post-season, an NFL record. The Colts' win was the first major professional championship for Indiana since the Indiana Pacers' ABA title in the 1972–73 season.
Hester's touchdown for the Bears on the opening kickoff was the first one in Super Bowl history, and the ninth kick return for a touchdown in a Super Bowl; only three of the nine teams who did this went on to win the game (the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowls XXXV and XLVII, and the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII). Hester's return also kept a streak alive for there being a kickoff return for a touchdown in each Super Bowl played at Dolphin Stadium. Hester's and Wayne's touchdowns in the first quarter marked the first time in Super Bowl history the first two touchdowns were scored by players from the same college (University of Miami). Jones was the Bears' top rusher with 112 yards, while also catching four passes for 18 yards. Desmond Clark was the Bears' top receiver with six receptions for 64 yards. Grossman completed 20 of 28 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions, leaving him with a QB rating of 68.3 for the game. Muhsin Muhammad became the third player ever to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl for two teams, joining Ricky Proehl and Jerry Rice.
|Indianapolis Colts||Chicago Bears|
|First downs rushing||12||3|
|First downs passing||11||8|
|First downs penalty||1||0|
|Third down efficiency||8/18||3/10|
|Fourth down efficiency||0/1||0/1|
|Net yards rushing||191||111|
|Yards per rush||4.5||5.8|
|Passing – Completions-attempts||25/38||20/28|
|Times sacked-total yards||1–8||1–11|
|Net yards passing||239||154|
|Total net yards||430||265|
|Punt returns-total yards||3–42||1–3|
|Kickoff returns-total yards||4–89||6–138|
|Interceptions-total return yards||2–94||1–6|
|Time of possession||38:04||21:56|
1Completions/attempts 2Carries 3Long gain 4Receptions 5Times targeted
|Reggie Wayne||WR||Muhsin Muhammad|
|Tarik Glenn||LT||John Tait|
|Ryan Lilja||LG||Ruben Brown|
|Jeff Saturday||C||Olin Kreutz|
|Jake Scott||RG||Roberto Garza|
|Ryan Diem||RT||Fred Miller|
|Dallas Clark||TE||Desmond Clark|
|Marvin Harrison‡||WR||Bernard Berrian|
|Peyton Manning||QB||Rex Grossman|
|Joseph Addai||RB||Thomas Jones|
|Ben Utecht||H-B||FB||Jason McKie|
|Robert Mathis||LE||Adewale Ogunleye|
|Anthony McFarland||LDT||Tank Johnson|
|Raheem Brock||RDT||Ian Scott|
|Dwight Freeney||RE||Alex Brown|
|Cato June||WLB||Lance Briggs|
|Gary Brackett||MLB||Brian Urlacher‡|
|Rob Morris||SLB||Hunter Hillenmeyer|
|Nick Harper||LCB||Charles Tillman|
|Jason David||RCB||Nathan Vasher|
|Antoine Bethea||SS||Chris Harris|
|Bob Sanders||FS||Danieal Manning|
- Referee: Tony Corrente #99
- Umpire: Carl Paganelli #124
- Head Linesman: George Hayward #54
- Line Judge: Ron Marinucci #107
- Field Judge: Jim Saracino #58
- Side Judge: John Parry #132
- Back Judge: Perry Paganelli #46
- Alternate Referee: Jeff Triplette #42
- Alternate Umpire: Butch Hannah #40
- Alternate Line Judge: Carl Johnson #101
- Alternate Field Judge: Buddy Horton #82
- Alternate Back Judge: Richard Reels #83
Controversies prohibiting fan parties and presentations
The NFL upset many fans by banning the traditional practice of tailgating at Super Bowl XLI. Originally, spokesmen for Dolphin Stadium announced that tailgating would be permitted as usual. However, the NFL quickly contradicted this statement, announcing an NFL owner-imposed ban on all tailgating and prohibiting non-ticketed fans within a two-block-radius of the stadium.
Prohibiting church display
The NFL upset a large number of fans by threatening churches with lawsuits if they had Super Bowl parties. National Football League assistant counsel Rachel L. Margolies sent a letter to the Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, ordering the church to cancel its party and remove the trademarked Super Bowl name from its website. She said that the church could not use the words "Super Bowl" as it violates trademark law, could not charge admission as that violates copyright law, could not use its projection screen (only one television could be used and it could not be over 55 inches), and could not "promote a message" in connection with the game. Regarding the last point, the Fall Creek Baptist church planned to also show an extra video to highlight the Christian testimonies of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. "While this may be a noble message", Rachel L. Margolies wrote, "we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content." Sports bars nationwide were allowed to show the game, as were businesses that televised sports as part of their everyday operations because they didn't charge admission and they left the message the NFL intended intact.
The Indianapolis Star picked up the story, and soon pastors across the U.S. were working to cancel their parties. Immediately the NFL received a backlash of bad publicity, with indignant football fans in constant sarcasm (akin to rules imposed about on-field behavior i.e. taunting opposition teams) referring to the NFL as the "No Fun League." For example, the enforcement of this policy earned the NFL a "Worst Person in the World" silver on the edition of February 2, 2007 of Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
After a long series of bad press, the NFL issued a written statement clarifying their policy, saying that they did not object to churches hosting Super Bowl parties so long as they did not charge admission and showed the game on "a television of the type commonly used at home". This statement did not attempt to forbid coordination of any other message with the game, something typically done by churches, nor did it attempt to forbid the use of the term "Super Bowl."
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