Super Bowl XLI will be known as the first Super Bowl the Indianapolis Colts won in their history, considering the previous ones were when the franchise was in Baltimore. This might not be much of a game to brag about though. It was ugly from the start. With moderate winds and moderate to heavy rain during the majority of the game, the only word that could describe Super Bowl XLI was sloppy. This was evident from the start, on the opening kickoff the Colts missed four or five chances to tackle Devin Hester as he did what nobody else had done in Super Bowl history, return the opening kickoff for a touchdown. By the end of the game there had been eight turnovers by the teams combined including five by the Chicago Bears. There could have been one more but Rex Grossman recovered on of his own in the third quarter. The ugliness didn’t stop there though, there was also a botched snap on an extra point and a missed field goal to end the first half.
The Bears jumped on top to an early 14 to 6 lead courtesy of the opening kickoff return and a 4 yard touchdown reception by Muhsin Muhammad. Those scores sandwiched a touchdown reception by Reggie Wayne, which included the botched snap on the extra point attempt. The Colts then dominated the second quarter scoring ten points on a field goal and a rushing touchdown by Dominic Rhodes. Their lead could have been larger than the 16-14 lead they held at the half though if Vinatieri made his short field goal attempt at the end of the half.
Despite holding the ball for close to eleven minutes in the third quarter the Colts could not put the game away, getting just two Vinatieri field goals. It did not matter though, because in the second half Rex Grossman clearly exemplified how ugly this game was. Twice in the half he lobbed poorly thrown passes to open receivers. The first of the two was returned for a 56 yard touchdown by Kevin Hayden of the Colts who had replaced an injured Nick Harper after it was ruled he did not step out of bounds on the return. Earlier in the half though Grossman had consecutive plays where he fell down trying to escape a pass rush, and then had a snap go through his legs that he almost recovered, kicked it, then finally recovered it again. If the ugliness of the game wasn’t clear before that serious it was after it.
Manning was named the MVP of the Super Bowl, but he did not have a great game either. He had one touchdown completion and one interception along with a lost fumble. Combined Manning and Grossman had two touchdown passes, two interceptions, and two lost fumbles. If you were looking for a bright spot in the game it would have had to be the play of the running backs. Indianapolis rookie running back Joseph Addai carried the ball 19 times for 77 yards and had 10 receptions (one short of a Super Bowl record) for 66 yards, while his teammate Dominic Rhodes ran the ball 21 times for 113 yards with a touchdown. Thomas Jones of the Bears contributed 112 yards on 15 carries for the Bears as their lone true contributor. Grossman finished with 165 yards passing, but had only 54 yards through the first three quarters.
While the Colts are this year’s Super Bowl Champions, the Super Bowl was one of the sloppier ones played in recent years. The weather, play of the quarterbacks, and overall abundance of errors left this is a less than memorable game.