Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Pre-Super Bowl XLI Discussion Thread

This thread is for open discussion of Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears before the game begins. On Super Bowl Sunday, please register for the new FO message board to discuss the game.


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Comments

1
by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:49am

I can't recall being less invested in the outcome of a Super Bowl than this one.

2
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:54am

Second!

Are we getting DVOA this week?

3
by zip (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:58am

Is this basically the ultimate test of "defense wins championships?"

I like Indy by 8 or more, but then again, I liked the Saints too. At least this time the field will be fast(er).

4
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:00am

I can't recall being MORE invested in the outcome of a Super Bowl than this one!!! Colts Fan.

5
by cabbage (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:03am

My money is on Bob Sanders twisting his ankle at a club three days before the game.

6
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:06am

3
no, because with the exception of the Saints game, the Bears have been ordinary defensively since Tommie Harris went down.
So if Indy lights them up, the critics can say, "look, Harris and Mike Brown were injured, and the Saints game was a fluke because of the cold weather-dome team factor."
I thought that the Colts-Ravens game was a test of that (obviously one game can't be a complete test), and what we learned is that defense does win, you just need to score more than six points.

7
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:12am

All offense and just enough defense vs all defense and just enough offense. Seems like this could answer an age old question or something. I suppose I want Peyton to win so his haters have to put at least a little bit of a sock in it. But I also would kind of like the Bears to win because their fans at the extreme are more enjoyable. Also they'd have reason to bring back the Super Fans sketch on SNL. But they just did get a world series win too, and there's something to be said for spreading the love around.

8
by David (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:15am

2: Nope. Aaron said in this week's Quick Reads that there won't be another ranking/commentary for the season.

9
by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:18am

Ditka vs. a hurricane - who wins?

10
by Ricky Bobby (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:23am

9 - Ditka. But what if it's Hurricane Butkus?

11
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:24am

Truly the question the city of New Orleans wakes up asking itself every day. Does Ditka have the use of a Palm frond or other device suitable for fanning?

12
by Jimi (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:26am

#1.

For me, the most uninteresting Super Bowl was XXXIII, with the Broncos and Falcons. I was not interested in the teams or in listening to Madden and Summerall falling over each other to stick their noses into a certain orifice belonging to a John A. Elway. Everyone pretty much predicted a slaughter, and that's exactly what happened.

But enough about ancient history: I expect a Bears victory. Call me crazy, as bad as their offense is, their return team has a good chance of matching their regular season total in this one game against that awful Colts kick/punt coverage.

13
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:26am

But they just did get a world series win too, and there’s something to be said for spreading the love around.

The White Sox don't count.

14
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:26am

I can't wait until the Prince concert, I mean Super Bowl.

15
by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:28am

#11 - he's got a clipboard, and one of dem giant foam fingers.

16
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:38am

Why I think that Chicago is much more likely to win:

[1] From NFL Matchup (TB vs OAK) SB post-game:
Top 3 Offense is 0-9 vs. Top 3 Defense in Super Bowls!
[2] Bears have a decided advantage in Special Teams.
[3] Bears have 8 Stomp/Doms vs 5 for the Colts
[4] Bears running game vs. Colts running D.

The only advantage that the Colts have is that Chaotic Evil Rex may show up. But Happy Feet Manning might show up as well. So that's a wash.

Unfortunately I don't think that me wanting Dungy/Manning to win so that I don't have to hear about them not being able to win the big one is going to count for much.

17
by Marko (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:44am

13: I completely agree. Most Bears fans are not White Sox fans. Cubs fans significantly outnumber White Sox fans in the Bears' fan base. And Cubs fans (like me) were not rooting for the White Sox to win and did not enjoy their championship at all. But we did have the Bulls' dynasty in the not too distant past.

18
by Jerome Howard (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:58am

Bears win. Defensively, the Bear win all Defensive rankings save passing D. Colts have worst rushing defense in the league. Hello. Bears are 11th against the pass. Rex has a great game every other game and 10 completions in the win versus the Saints (and the offense still scored 37 points) means he may have a great game in the SuperBowl. The Bears win a close one...

19
by dje (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:04am

The player on the Bears who scares me the most is Hester. I say don't kick it to him (i.e. stick to squib kick-offs and angled punts), even if the Bears start with pretty good field position most of the time. The Colts D has responded quite well in the playoffs when starting in bad field position, but it's the big return that they can do little about.

I thought that the Colts' coverage had improved recently, but the Pats game demonstrated that it is still weak, particularly on kick-offs.

20
by Tal (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:10am

#10 - I'd still have to say Ditka 28-14.

#6 - Though Chicago's D is bendable, it hardly breaks. The unit is clutch and it can stop opponents when it's absolutely mandatory. Brees passed for over 350 yards and, still, couldn't score more than 14 points. Plus, the unit produces turnover after turnover. It IS an ultimate test that a defense wins championships; if Chicago is forced to get into a shootout, they're goners.

Like in the Saints-Bears matchup, Chicago has the edge in every department but one. Indy's passing game is better than Chicago's pass defense. However, Chicago's rushing defense is above average and should hold up against Indy's above average running game; Chicago's passing offense is mediocre but so is Indy's passing defense, Chicago's rushing offense is very good whilst Indy's rushing defense is average, above average at best; and Chicago has a definitive edge in special teams (except in field goals kicking).

Indy's D is fast but, in its Cover 2 scheme, it's vulnerable against the run. I think it'll be particularly vulnerable against Benson's pounding up the middle, or Jones attacking Cato Junes' side. If the Bears can run the ball, they'll keep both their D fresh and Manning on his toes. Thus, the key for the Bears to win is to run the ball effectively. On the other hand, if Indy stops the Bears' running game, they'll force the D to be on the field most of the game and, by the 4th quarter, they'll be on their heels. Indy's key for winning the game is stopping the opponent's running game.

Though other things may come into play (special teams, Good Rex or Bad Rex, Manning playing a bad game), I think it comes down to that.

21
by JimMc (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:37am

lifelong rabid Bears fan says:

agreed with Tal - if it becomes a shootout the Bears are done. but if not, Bears have a decent shot. but they still have to have it all click: offense, defense, special teams. if Hester can have a big game, if defense can get a couple turnovers, if the running game continues to dominate, if if if...

the Patriots achilles' heel finally caught up with them: they depend way too much on Tom Brady. the Colts are built like that too. the Bears most definitely do not depend on their quarterback to win. Kyle Orton = 10 wins in 2005. need I say more?

anyhow, go Lovie! you keep proving everybody wrong.

22
by dbt (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:47am

Are we going to need a separate comment thread by the time we get to the game itself? :)

23
by Kalyan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:47am

Wow! The Colts beats the No.1 & No.2 stingiest defenses in the league (Ravens and the Pats) and are the No.1 DVOA offense and i see not too much love for them.

People are stating that the Bears are going to win this one!

While it might pain me as a Pats fan to say this, i think we need to be ready for the "Is 1 SB / 2 MVPs greater than 3 rings" discussion from mid-Feb.

24
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:49am

Let's pretend one lives in Cleveland, but one's deep depression keeps one from seeking means of escape. What kind of currency does "I'm not one of the people from Chicago who give a crap about the White Sox" have? My suspicion is little to none.

25
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:49am

I thought the Colts coverage teams had improved in the playoffs because of the personnel changes as well. The NE game definitely exposed that it's still pretty poor. They should just kick it out of bounds, punt or kickoff. The 40 is nothing. I thought they should do this a couple years ago when their coverage was even worse and they should do it now, they're just too overmatched vs. Chicago.

26
by Kalyan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:54am

21:

In my view, the Pats lost because of their LBs. The CBs kept the high profile WRs in check, the DL generated as much pass rush as a 3 man front can, but the lack of plays (pass defensed, forced incompletes, sacks) from the LBs meant that Peyton could move the chains from the middle of second quarter.

If you examined Pats past success, LBs made numerous big plays and kept the running game and the short dunk & run passes in check and that was a key factor for the victory. The Pats did not have adequate resources in LB spot to effect that strategy in the game.

For the record, did Bruschi & Vrabel turn up for the game? They were completely missing. The only LB who had an average outing was Colvin.

PS: This is not to take away credit from the colts. They beat the Pats fair-and-square.

27
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:57am

The thing is the Bears and Colts both play a similar style of big opportunity defense. Both teams are prone to giving up the big play, but also excel at creating a great deal of big turnovers. I wouldn't be surprised to see a high-scoring game with each offense steady while managing a big play every now and then and benefiting from a few key takeaways. This won't be a field position game; it'll turn into an aggressive game for both teams pretty quickly.

28
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:24am

#16: The problem with [2] and in some part [1] is that Chicago plays in the NFC. They really, really should have more stomps than Indy, because the bad teams are just so much... uh... badder.

29
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:25am

#27: I think the Bears have to avoid exactly that. If it turns into a shootout, Grossman will start taking shots downfield, which will give the pass rush more time, which will lead to more Grossmans.

30
by Matt (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:36am

I feel like I'm hoping against hope that the Colts can win this thing. I HATE the "choke" talk, and I think this would end it once and for all. But I just have visions of Vasher and Hester scoring touchdowns and Grossman laughing all the way to a trophy.

Because all Rex Grossman does is win.

31
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:41am

"The unit is clutch and it can stop opponents when it’s absolutely mandatory."

Is that why they have one of the worst dropoffs of any team in redzone defense? They also barely improve at all when it's close and late. That's not to say it isn't a great defense, because it obviously is, but I don't know why you would think they've shown much clutchness.

Also, don't they run a Tampa-2 scheme just like the Colts? Doesn't seem to hurt their run defense much. The actual Tampa defense is also way better against the run than the pass.

Anyway, I agree with most of your post... the Bears will most likely require a good performance from the running game just to be in it, because their slightly-above-average pass D will probably give up some points. However, that matchup is so simple (the Bears run game should be expected to do well, and if they don't the game is very seriously over) I think the most important matchup is still Evil Rex vs. Not Evil Rex. The passing game doesn't have to do WELL, but it will need to produce some, because I think it's inevitable that Peyton scores.
I also think Hester will have a good day returning (even without a TD) which will help both aspects of the offense.

18: "Rex has a great game every other game"

I assume you mean that in a law of averages sense, not literally, but still... since week 10, Rex has had two "great" games (100+ QB rating), three "average" games (75+), one subpar (the Saints) and three atrocious ones (

32
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:51am

16: In addition to what Fnor and Kalyan said above, you're pinning your hopes on happy feet Manning emerging instead of Bad Rex? Have you watched any football this season? How many times has HFM emerged? Zero. Bad Rex, oh he of four sub-40 QB rating games this season? (including a zero rating game)

And two of Manning's best games were the two first playoff games--he was a superb game manager. He gets credit for the last game in the media because his gross numbers were splashy and it was a great game, but in all three he was more than competent. No happy feet vs. big bad Balt or NE.

The special teams could be a HUGE factor, but if Hester gets one kick returned for a TD (which would surprise... nobody), any smart coach will kick all the rest OB and make the O beat them. Cue Bad Rex, enter stage right.

Indy stuffed 2.5 more or less "run first" playoff teams in the past three games, where as Chicago went into OT with Seattle, at home. I said Seattle--Seattle, generally regarded as one of the poorer playoff teams and the lowest ranked team here--granted part of that ranking included vast stretches without their former pro-bowl RB or QB, but their D backfield in the playoffs included a scarecrow, a tin woodsman, and a cowardly lion all signed the previous week. And it was at home for Chicago. And that was with Rex having a decent game and Hester recovering THREE fumbles/muffs. Will the luck hold?

I'm not enamored of the 7 point spread and I'm not a bettor, but I would not advise betting on Chicago to cover or win.

33
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 4:15am

While Rex tends to suck against good defenses, the Colts wouldn't seem to be the type of team to make Rex suck; however, Rex's main strength is throwing the deep ball down the sidelines, which is what the Colts D is all about stopping.

I think if you force Rex to keep on checking down underneath the Bears drives will stall, his short passes have terrible touch and accuracy and he doesn't always seem to notice whether a reciever is covered or not.

I also wouldn't use the NO game as a blueprint for the Colts. Playing a dome team in freezing snowy weather in Chicago is a world apart from Miami.

34
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 5:27am

jonnyblazin, for an AFC guy you show good knowledge of the NFC. How do you have the time? Envious.

Or wait, I forget, are you a Ravens fan living in Chicago? That might explain it.

35
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 5:40am

Bob Cook,
Your article linked at my name deeply wounds me. The fact that your son wrestles almost makes up for it;-)

And why wouldn't you get a mortgage from a guy whose sole qualification is getting the Fridge to pose for a picture with him? I mean, would you prefer a guy who knows Craig Krenzel or Kyle Orton? That just shows he has bad judgement. Come to think of it, maybe that's just what you need to get that 150% LTV loan!

36
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 6:22am

Too be honest I think that the bears probably need about three touchdowns from their defence and/or special teams to win this one. If they can do that they should win unless Mad Rex shows up and loses the game for them.

Now scoring three non-offensive TDs in one game is pretty hard, but given the Chicago D and special teams certanly not impossible. Even so I'd take Indy if I had to bet it, but hardly by 7+ pts.

37
by Rex Grossman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 7:15am

I just win baby...

38
by Peyton Manning (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 7:15am

So do I.

39
by Rick (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 7:47am

OK, I'll make the case for the Bears. (Not that I believe it, but it almost wins me over.)

1) Thus far in the playoffs, Peyton Manning has showed himself as somebody who can be stopped. Against the Chiefs, Ravens, and Patriots he had 10 weak quarters of football followed by 2 strong ones. The Bears have a better defense than the Pats do and could reasonably be expected to slow down the Colts' offense.

2) The Colts are still vulnerable to a power running game. They haven't really faced one yet, except for Herm Edwards' uninventive approach. The Bears have had the best running game in the playoffs (well, except for the Chargers.) It's certainly possible that they will be able to run on the Colts.

3) The Colts can be beaten deep. Bernard Berrian is better than any receiver the Colts have had to face in this year's playoffs. If he gets open deep, even Evil Rex can find him.

4) The Bears have an excellent special teams unit. As we saw in the AFC championship game, the Colts' kick return coverage can be atrocious. Expect Devin Hester to run back at least one TD.

Of these four points, I'm the most confident of the last one, and the least confident of 2). I think the outcome will depend on the Bears' ability to force turnovers. If they can force 3 or more, or if they force 2 or more and get special teams play, I think they'll win.

40
by Lou (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 7:48am

Bears fan living in Colts territory here. I couldn't have more invested in this game. I'm so excited for the Bears, the next week and a half needs to fly by. I really dislike the Colts, more accurately most Colts fans(no offense to anyone here), but if any other NFC team had made it, I'd be rooting for the Colts/Manning/Dungy to win and get rid of all these stupid choke discussions.
I really believe the Bears have a good chance of winning this one. They can play their base defense all game and have Urlacher and Briggs take care of Utecht, Clark. And with 3 linebackers they'll absolutely shutdown the running game. I think Vasher matches up well against Wayne and can hold him to a sub par day. I'm very concerned about Tillman vs Harrison though, I can see Harrison getting 14 catches in the game, the key will be limiting his yardage. It comes down to the Bears pass rush disrupting Manning. They haven't been consistent enough to completely shut him down, but they'll get their enough to stop a few drives. If Manning has all day, he'll be able to manipulate our safeties.
The bears offense needs to learn from the Titans and Texans, lots of screens and draws- try to limit the number of drives in the game. Jones and Benson can be successful doing this.
As others have said, we need at least an average game from Grossman and for Hester to have an impact. The Colts should be the favorites, but this game could go either way.

41
by Evl (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 8:35am

As a Patriots fan, I would like to state that several of the Pats had the flu on gameday and the temp in the dome didnt help any. the real question is now present...who do you pick? offense? defense? Indy? or Chicago? warm weather temp vs. cold weather team? I'll take Indy as much as I hate doing it. Manning will quiet the critics with a stellar performance. Manning will break records and win Superbowl MVP.

42
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 9:03am

I think I will help 39 in not believing his case:

1) Thus far in the playoffs, Manning has shown an ability to adapt to situations. He's also faced the Baltimore defense, which isn't known for giving away anything. Neither KC nor NE could keep the Colts out of the end zone. In addition, the Bears are below league average in defending against #1 recievers, which is a pity when facing a team that has two of them.

2) New England were going with power rather than speed against the Colts, and their run DVOA is higher than Chicago's. Baltimore certainly have a power running game, though they aren't very good at it.

3) It doesn't happen very often. I can't offhand remember a deep completion against the Colts this year, just a lot of long runs. PAR also disagrees with you about Berrian (the best reciever the Colts have faced is Eddie Kennison), but then PAR tends to dislike deep threat wideouts because they have a lower catch%.

4) Well, yes. But the same thing was said about Seattle last year, and Antwaan Randle El didn't get a big runback.

43
by Rick (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 9:12am

re: 42

As I said, it's not a fairly strong case. I do think Manning can be held under check by the Bears better than the Pats did. I also think it's not exactly right to look at season-long DVOA for the running game, as Maroney simply was not the same back after his bizarre injury, and he was a non-factor on Sunday. I don't think the Pats' abandonment of the running game should translate to the Bears.

The point about deep threats is taken. The Colts play to prevent the deep threat, so the only way the Bears will get a long pass is if they are really lucky.

I have more confidence that the Bears will dominate special teams. The downside is that they will probably have a lot of opportunities at kickoff returns. :(

So basically, Bears fans should be hoping for turnovers and great special teams play. That's really not a lot to hang a hat on.

44
by Billy the Kid (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 9:34am

I have heard this for three games straight. The Chiefs were supposed to run. The Ravens defense was supposed to dominate. The Patriots & Brady & Belichick's mind games. Once and for all.......the COLTS are the Team that's going to win the Superbowl.

Colts 38 Bears 21

Come back here after the game is over. If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong. But, I don't think so. Colts win.

45
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 9:34am

42:

Both Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson have more DPAR than any New England running back. So, I think it could be fair to say that the Bears have a better rushing attack.

The Colts have the 18th passing DVOA, so I doubt we'll see Evil Rex come out, especially given his knack for having good games after poor ones.

The only the Colts moved the ball consistently against the Pats was deep throws to Dallas Clark over the middle, right where Brian Urlacher is waiting.

DPAR doesn't measure talent, just value. While Kennison may have been more valuable this year, Berrian is more talented.

46
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 9:36am

44:

The Ravens defense did dominate, unless you consider 15 points and no touchdowns a good outing by the offense.

47
by Seth (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 9:59am

Both Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson have more DPAR than any New England running back. So, I think it could be fair to say that the Bears have a better rushing attack.

Addai: 36.1 DPAR
Jones: 25.5 DPAR
Benson: 17.9 DPAR

Are you saying that Jones and Benson had more DPAR combined? That much is true, but they had 227 more carries.

Addai also led the league in success rate, and added 10.4 receiving DPAR. Actually, looking up the numbers for this post made me realize how awesome he was this year.

48
by Seth (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 10:04am

Oh god. Missed the key words "New England." Please ignore the last post.

::Hangs head in shame::

At least I learned that Addai is good.

49
by GBS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 10:16am

Does Devin Hester completely negate the Adam Vinatieri signing? Can the Colts really afford to attempt any field goals in this game, knowing that they will have to kickoff if they make it?

50
by Ryan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 10:35am

There should be a separate board for playoff games, with no link and the url given out in week 7.

of course I'm a lurker being uppity but the quality of discussion just drops so much.

Just so that the post has some content, I think the bears need 2 return touchdowns (or something close), combined on defense and special teams, to pull this out. Which is just the cliche of winning the turnover battle, I guess, but what I am trying to get at is that they need some breaks which would be lucky but not at all surprising.

even if the bears defense is on it and Manning looks like he did the first 10 quarters of the playoffs, I don't think the Bears have the sort of consistency to sustain long drives on offense, and the corners are not the place to attack the Colts D, at least recently.

but a few hauntingly familiar manning/reciever miscommunications and/or special teams disasters and this will turn into a replica of the NFC championship, warm weather stadium or no.

51
by Rick (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 10:35am

re: 45
Agree with point about Berrian. Berrian's DVOA is hampered by the fact he can only catch passes thrown by Rex Grossman.

Of course, he's stuck with that problem in the Super Bowl.

52
by Kami (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 10:42am

My god, doesn't anyone else think that Manning will completely pick apart Chicago's Tampa-2 zone that he's been able to practice against for four years playing for the coach who created it?!

And hello, weren't more of you paying attention in class when Aaron and pals told us a)The Colts don't give up big passing plays and b)Rex has really really bad touch on medium and short range passes ?

I'm just saying, if you're going to talk Bears win you had darn well better mention special teams.

53
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 10:53am

I'm a Bears fan and a White Sox fan. Don't stop believin'!

54
by Rick (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 10:53am

re: 52
I think you'll see that I mentioned special teams in both posts 39 and 43.

And yeah, I do think the Colts will win. I'm just trying to maintain an interest level by pleading the Bears' case. But I think this Colts team is too good and too motivated to lose.

55
by joel in providence (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:00am

as a neutral fan, i'm rooting for the colts. i can't stand boring, defensive, field position football. give me passing! how's that for sophisticated analysis? ;)

56
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:11am

Actually I think Rick and I have almost exactly the same opinion. I can see how the Bears *can* win, I just don't think they're going to. It is true that the Bears' record and talent suggests that they'll do well at keeping Clark quiet; unfortunately there is no reason (other than MH's habit of disappearing in the playoffs) to suspect they can do the same to Harrison and Wayne. The only comparable wideout corps the Bears have faced this year is Boldin and Fitzgerald, and that didn't exactly work out well for them. It is true that the Bears have a strong running game, but that didn't help Kansas City. It is true that the Bears have a good deep threat reciever, but the Colts play to take away the big pass play. Special Teams may be the Bears best bet.

For those of you wondering, no, I'm a Steelers fan. But (just to merge in the Audibles thread) my rooting calculus does go something like:
1) Steelers
2) Colts until Manning wins an SB
3) Cardinals
4) AFC teams that aren't the Ravens
So there is a definite bias going on here.

57
by Goathead (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:15am

The Ravens defense did NOT dominate. They did a great job stopping the colts in the red zone, but they gave up 5 scoring drives. PLUS the colts managed a 7 minute drive against them with 7 minutes left. That last drive by the colts against Baltimore made quite a statement, and likely gave them the confidence to run on the last 3 plays of their game winning drive Sunday.

58
by Goathead (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:17am

BTW, I'd like to see Manning get an SB, but I doubt I'm the only one who doesn't want to see Irsay holding the trophy. Can someone arrange to have Irsay hit by a bus in the next 10 days?

59
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:30am

Does Devin Hester completely negate the Adam Vinatieri signing? Can the Colts really afford to attempt any field goals in this game, knowing that they will have to kickoff if they make it?

I don't think the Colts kickoff coverage problems are all Vinatieri. Vinatieri's kickoffs are relatively short, but Colts have had kickoff coverage problems for a long time. You can have great kickoff coverage on short kicks. You can have relatively bad kickoff coverage on long kicks. The Colts just have the worst of both worlds.

In fact, I want an Every Play Counts on the Colts kickoff coverage. I don't think people realize how consistently abysmal the Colts kickoff coverage has been (and you'd think they'd know considering how much they kick off!):

2006: -15.7
2005: -10.0
2004: -10.2
2003: -9.2
2002: -6.3

How do you suck that bad, this consistently?

60
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:35am

56:

I think Holt and Bruce would be a much better comparison to Wayne and Harrison. Although the stats look like they didn't do so well that game either, most of the Ram's scoring was done in garbage time.

61
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:35am

There's the other Hester factor with field goals: will the Colts attempt one from 50+ if the Bears stick Hester in the end zone?

62
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:36am

Re: 55 - Here, here! I am rooting for the Colts, but am much more interested these days in whether or not McNabb is PO'd at the Eagles, as several recent news reports claim.

That said, GO COLTS!

63
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:37am

60

Also, Holt did his damage with Hester covering him. With the Bears CB's healthy, we won't see Hester on D again. I still don't think they can defend Harrison and Wayne one-on-one, but it won't be as bad as Hester covering one of the 5 best receivers in football.

64
by MCS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:42am

Here in Michiana, there's not a lot of talk yet. The focus remains college and prep Mens Basketball.

Not really much to add to the discussion, just wanted to say Hi.

Looking at Team DVOA, I think Colts offense vs. Bears Defense is simple. If Harrison manages to hold on to the ball, he will have an outstanding game. Look for the Bear LBs (will it be Briggs?) to shut down Dallas Clark. There will be lots and lots of Rhodes.

Bears Offense vs Colts Defense
Run, Run, Run. Chuck it deep. Indy's defensive pass DVOA is 19.8% (29th) against #1 WR and 12.7% (22nd) against #2 WR.

Side Note: Briggs will sure look good in Green and Gold next season.

65
by SillyJoe (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:47am

60. And a lot of the Rams scoring was done with Devin Hester playing CB. *shudders*

66
by Ben (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:55am

I'll preface this by saying I'm a Colts fan. I think they'll win, but I certainly can see a scenario playing out where the Bears win. As someone else said, it will take two return type scores, turnovers or special teams, for the Bears to have a chance. I can certainly see that happening though. Then the running game will have to dominate and keep Manning off the field.

I'm still not convinced by the Colts running D. I've seen some highlights the last couple of weeks of some nice blocking by the Bears TE on long runs. I fully expect to see Cato June being embarrassed several times in the run game. I have to admit, though, I was impressed that the Colts held the Pats to 3 yards on 9 carries over the last 40 minutes of that game. The D isn't great, but it seems to at least not be 375-yards rushing bad anymore. They've gotten a lot more stops on first down during the playoffs then they did during the regular season. The Bears will have to come out throwing to loosen up the Defense like Patriots did and the Steelers did last year. If they just try to go jumbo on the Colts, I don't think it will work well enough.

At the end of the day though, against Tampa-2 type defenses, it comes down to sustaining long drives, since big plays aren't going to be there. I just have more faith that Manning will be able to put together 10+ play drives then I do that Grossman will.

67
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:56am

Two things that I haven't seen mentioned yet on this thread, which I think will have an impact on this game:

1) The Bears play a base 4-3 defense, which the Colts have had a lot of recent success against. (Moreso than the 3-4, anyway.)

2) Colts CB Nick Harper will miss the game, which means that a lot of the DVOA numbers for the regular season Colts defense against #1 and #2 receivers are less meaningful. Harper has also been good in run support recently, particularly in the playoffs.

(Full disclosure: Colts fan here.)

68
by Seth (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:59am

62: I have a feeling that not a word of the McNabb stuff is even remotely true. AS's blog post about the trade-to-Minny rumor comes immediately to mind. Donovan himself should clear it up at the Super Bowl, in between hearty bites of delicious Campbell's Chunky Soup.

Why can't the Eagles just have a normal off-season???

69
by Seth (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:03pm

Oh, in keeping with the subject...

Does comparing DVOA for the Bears and Colts completely account for the gap between the conferences? Obviously it's better than any conventional stat, but I just wonder if the fact that 3/4 of games are played in-conference means that the difference doesn't show up as much as it should.

Or maybe I'm assuming too big a gap in the first place. Any comments?

70
by J.D. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:03pm

#49, 59: So what would be the DPAR of Robo-Kickoff-Specialist, who has 15 seconds of hang time on every kick, which each land at the 1 yard line? It would definitely be higher for games played outdoors...

71
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:04pm

Could be worse 68, they could have the normal Bengals offseason. Which is of course already hitting its stride.

72
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:09pm

#69: That's a good question for Aaron, actually. Ask for the average DVOA of "AFC vs NFC, AFC vs AFC, NFC vs NFC". Or something like that.

I think the gap actually is smaller than people think. Remember, Dallas actually beat Indianapolis. And the CHI/NE game wasn't exactly a blowout.

73
by Boots Day (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:14pm

since week 10, Rex has had two “great� games (100+ QB rating), three “average� games (75+), one subpar (the Saints) and three atrocious ones

The "subpar" game against the Saints was actually not much different from the average games, at least as far as QB rating goes. He put up a 73.2 rating in that game, as opposed to a 76.9 against the Seahawks. Not turning the ball over really helps your QB rating.

The last two Bears games should have put to rest the notion that either Evil Rex or Good Rex will show up in any given game. He seems to have settled in, for the moment, at Mediocre Rex.

74
by Lurker McLurkenstein (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:15pm

I hate the way you guys think that the Rex-has-a-good-game-after-he-has-a-bad-game thing actually has predicative value. And I hate it more that you think he had a bad game against the Saints.

75
by Bulgaroktonos (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:17pm

As both a Bears fan and a White Sox fan I'd like to say that if Cubs fans make up a large portion of the Bears fan base, that has to do with there being more Cubs fan in the city. It's not like there are people who like the White Sox, but not the Bears. Everyone in Chicago likes the Bears, in a city with horrible de facto segregation, it's pretty much the thing that brings the city together.

Also, can we stop making any mention of Hester playing defensive back? How can someone be so fast, yet always be chasing a 30 year old?

76
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:28pm

I'd just like to apologise.....during the week of the Divisional playoffs I posted the question that apart from Bears, Colts and Pats fans, was there anybody who didn't want to see a Chargers v Saints Superbowl. Since then, everything has pretty much turned to ratshit. I blame myself.....but not for Prince or Simms and Nantz. That's someone else's responsibility.

77
by Mike W (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:34pm

I'm amused that I'm a Packer fan living in Chicago and I'm almost completely indifferent to who wins. Must be my maturity.

The more I think about it, the more it seems the Bears match up well, and should win. They should be able to run, they should get a couple turnovers, and with the special teams discrepancy they should have a huge edge in field position. The best reason to go with the Colts is that they're from the better conference, so there's the whole ,need to correct for how the teams look' thing, which is legitimate, I think. But where does that leave us?

78
by Paul (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:35pm

I'm trying to be as objective about this as possible...in the broadest sense, I would be comfortable rooting for the Bears because the success of their team cannot be isolated and correlated to the play of one individual, despite the fact that mainstream media puts everything on Rex's shoulders. They have playmakers all over the field: on offense, defense, and special teams. Conversely, if Manning plays poorly, the Colts are done (Captain Obvious over here).

79
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:39pm

#70: If he plays for the Colts, somehow, the ball would get out to the 30 every time anyway.

80
by Peyton Manning (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:42pm

That Bears D is a joke without Tommy Harris. I'm going to drop back and pick them apart all day and then star in another cheesy commercial.

Lights out.

81
by Sean (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 12:56pm

The Super Bowl that this most reminds me of is 49ers-Chargers. Aside from the eerie circumstantial similarities-the Colts finally breaking through against their nemesis and getting to follow up against a clearly inferior team from an inferior conference-I just get the same feeling going in that the Bears defense has little to no chance to stop Indy from doing whatever they want to do. I understand that this is a somewhat different defense from the one Peyton put 41 up on in 2004. But it's not that different. At best, the Bears could put in a performance like Kansas City did, where they play in a deep shell and concentrate on taking Harrison and Wayne out of the game, but if they do, the Colts will be more than happy to run the ball and to work the middle of the field with Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai. Yes, the Bears have had success with the tight end, but it's a different game when you have a nasty pass catching tight end, a running back that is a major threat as a receiving option and a quarterback who makes quick and decisive reads. For the Bears defense to be effective, they are going to need to get pressure with their front four, but I don't think they will. Basically, the Tampa Cover 2 is a disaster waiting to happen against the Colts offense.

On the other hand, the defense is very well equipped to negate what the Bears do on offense. There is no good Rex or bad Rex in terms of his decision making; it's always the same guy. Rex doesn't read the field well, and he only throws a couple of routes. He'll chuck up the deep ball, he'll hit a receiver running the seam route and he'll check down-usually after holding the ball a second or two too long. That about covers his repetiore. Harrison or Wayne can threaten to go up the field and then comeback to the ball and be wide open all day, but Berrian is just going deep and that's that. Well, the Cover 2 is more or less designed to take the only explosive play in the Bears offense away. The Bears can run the football some, but as FO rule #1 clearly states, you don't run to win, you run when you are winning. The Colts have had success stopping the run by crashing their defensive ends, and there's no back on the Bears that will make them pay for it by busting a run outside. And the reality is that the Colts pass rush is mroe likely to get to Grossman than the Bears pass rush is to get to Manning.

About the only area where Chicago has a clear and decisive advantage is on special teams. But I have a hard time seeing that being enough to even keep the game competitive.

82
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:08pm

This defense isn't that different from the one the Colts put up 41 on in 2004, huh?

Well, Urlacher is playing. Both the starting safeties on this team are new. Mark "12 sacks my rookie year" Anderson has been added to the team. And both our starting corners were battling injuries that year (Azumah and Tillman). Not to mention the team has had 3 years to learn Lovie/Rivera's defense, and the coaches have been able to add to it over the years.

83
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:11pm

Bobman, you have johnnyblazin and I confused -- I'm the Ravens fan that lives in Chicago. There's only about five of us out here on FO, but you have been distracted with trying to show that Manning played well against the Ravens -- GAME MANAGER? on this site? You know better than that -- so I'm guessing that's where you lost track.

It's interesting to see that for Steeler fans, those who have bothered to list their preferences, "whoever's playing the Ravens" ranks high on their list, and the Browns and Bengals don't rate at all, except as a pity SUPPORT. I really thought that wouldn't be the case, since this time last year, all we were hearing was that there wasn't a "real" rivalry there. Amazing what being on the right end of the two worst beatdowns of the season can do for you, huh?

FWIW, here goes:

1. Ravens
2. Saints (3 years at LSU can do that to you, and it was the early Mora years, too)
3. Bears (self-preservation? Some, but that 1985 team WAS as good as any that ever played.)
4. AFC North -- the better they are, the better the Ravens are when they beat them.
5. Anyone playing Indy.
6. San Diego in powder blue.
7-32. San Diego not in powder blue and everyone else in the league, save one team.
33. West Nile virus.
34. Encephalitic fever.
35. Ebola.
36. Flesh-eating bacteria.
37-46. The ten plagues in the Book of Exodus.
47-53. The seven seals in the Book of Revelation.
54-56. The False Prophet, the whore of Babylon, and the Beast whose mark is 666.
57. Dick Cheney.
58. Indianapolis -- and that's because I have no animosity towards Tony Dungy. Otherwise, they'd be lower.

84
by Sean (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:16pm

Re 82: Fair enough. Let's say it's not so different from the one Arizona put up 23 on, Miami put up 31 on, St. Louis put up 27 on, Tampa Bay put up 31 on and Green Bay put up 26 on.

Then let's extrapolate.

85
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:29pm

#83 Tom, ahead of the Colts you could also have added rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.

Your post alludes to a thread where people have posted their least favourite teams...I've always wondered which team that would be.

86
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:52pm

85 London Paul:

Well, I do admire Dungy, so there is a reason for that. But if they were coached by Hedy Lamarr ........

87
by Jeff (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 1:59pm

I am from Chicago so naturally I am a Bears fan. I also root for Indianapolis because I have followed Tony Dungy's career since he was Def. Coordinator in Minnesota. At about
8:45 or 9:00pm on Feb 4th, I will be a happy man regardless.

That said while the Colts should be favored
the Bears CAN win this game. For starters the Bears can run the football very well against the Colts D. I know KC struggled but the Chiefs never really let Trent Green open up the field against the Colts. They just kept running LJ into the middle of the defense. The Ravens offense was never going to score much anyway, plus Jamal Lewis is no longer a franchise running back and New England basically decided to put the game into Tom Brady's hands.

I think you will see the Bears employ a much more balanced attack. For one I think Rex can do very well against the Colts D. They play the most basic of Cover 2 defenses, they do not blitz much
and the pass defense is misleading since most teams chose to simply run the ball down Indy's throat. I would expect that once the Colts D gets loosened up Benson and Jones will find much sucess against the run defense. The Bears will score on offense. And the special teams will have sucess. I expect a slugfest between the two teams. In fact, do not be surprised if this SuperBowl goes down as being on the best Superbowls ever.

88
by Jeff (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:05pm

Re: 84

Sean,

Many of those scores are a bit misleading.The Arizona game is legit. The Miami game is a classic case where the Dolphins got a 5 yard TD drive because of a Devin Hester fumble. Then the next series Jason Taylor picked off Rex for a 10 yard TD return. Of the next 4 turnovers for the Bears that day about 3 of them were in Bears territory. The Bears D just was put into bad position most of the day. The Tampa and Green Bay games were essentially meaningless. And give St. Louis and even Seattle ( in the playoffs ) credit. Those were good offensive teams but the Bears found ways to make critical defensive stops in critical moments. That is the mark of a clutch defensive team.

89
by Boots Day (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:09pm

The Cowboys beat the Colts by 7. The Saints beat the Cowboys by 25. The Bears beat the Saints by 25.

So I'm calling this one for the Bears by 57. Let's make it 64-7: Manning gets a garbage-time touchdown.

90
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:14pm

83 - For me at least, it's a bit more complicated than that.

The Browns are too pathetic to be worthy of any significant thoughts of rivalry yet. I'm sure you agree. The Bengals, though...I'd rather beat the Bengals than the Ravens. Much rather. Beating them both is naturally preferable. However, the Bengals play an attractive sort of offense (when it works) and Ocho Cinco's antics amuse me. So I don't really mind them winning games except against the Steelers; whereas the Ravens have established a sort of "nobody-likes-us-and-we-don't-care" mentality, so I'm happy to not like them.

91
by Sean (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 2:29pm

Jeff,

Honestly, I'm not so interested in the points. I've seen that Chicago defense plenty over the last few years, and I've always come away with the same impression- they are very effective against mediocre or poor offenses, but they are overmatched talent-wise and schematically against good offenses. They're about to play the best offense in the league, one that can attack them at every spot on the field. Their corners aren't good enough to handle the Indy receivers without the safety help, and I don't think their pass rush will get to Manning with any kind of consistency.

As for the Bears defense not being wholly responsible for those point totals because they were put in bad position by offensive turnovers, that's fair. The problem is that they are likely to be put in that same spot again. Even if they don't have a case of the yips (and they look like a team that will have the yips), Grossman is going to turn the ball over at least once and probably more.

92
by Marko (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:02pm

85: Good one.

86: "That's Hedley!"

93
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:10pm

Re 91:
Grossman has turned the ball over so much in the playoffs of course.

I'm not sure how this game's going to go, but I really doubt it's a blowout either way. The Colts have a good offense, the Bears have a good defense, and the Bears have spectacular special teams - hopefully we'll see some great moments.

94
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:31pm

Re: 67

Is it definite that Harper is out? I hadn't seen that reported anywhere. He got stabbed the night before the game last year and still played well so I was just wanting confirmation ;o) If so, that's a big blow, the backup corners on the Colts are not impressive.

95
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:32pm

Almost all Super Bowls are won by the team that scores first, but that is probably just due to the fact that a superior team tends to score first. In this case, however, I think that scoring first will confer a larger advantage than the norm, and that a lead of more than seven points will be even more significant than the norm. The Bears simply can't be put into a position where the Colts don't have to pay as much attention to stopping the run, while Grossman has to make plays when Freeney and Mathis can split out wide and speed rush. The Colts can't get into a game where the Bears can run the ball with the lead, and then take big shots downfield when the Colts get desperate to get the ball back, and thus sell out to stop the run.

Who will prevail? I dunno, although if I was forced to wager, I guess I would go with my usual rule, which is to take the points when the dog has clearly superior defense. This game certainly doesn't remind me of games where I correctly invested in the favorite.

I remember the first time the Bills played the Cowboys for the trophy, and whatever "experts" were on whatever network (NBC?) had the game were giving reasons just before kickoff as to why the Bills might win. When Ditka's turn came, he scoffed at all those who preceded him, and said that Dallas had almost no chance of losing, because their football players, on average, were much better than Buffalo's. I laughed because I agreed wholeheartedly.

I can't get nearly as much feel for this game, due to the Grand Canyon-sized gap at the most important position, offset by opposing Grand Canyon gaps in the defenses, especially at linebacker. If Harris was playing, and in top form, I'd definitely think the Bears were worth a large investment, but if that situation existed, the betting line wouldn't be where it is at. I think I'll sit this one out.

96
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 3:40pm

88 and 84:

Don't forget the Bears defense scored 14 points of it's own against the Cards and most of the points were scored from very short fields due to turnovers. 14 of the points the Packers scored were pick 6s courtesy of Rex Grossman.

I think the Tampa Bay game can be chalked up to a fluke game, or the starters just didn't care that day.

97
by Billy the Kid (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 4:03pm

It's pretty simple. Go look at the Bears schedule, then look at the Colts. The Colts played only 5 games that the teams were .500 or under. The Bears played 9. The Bears played 2 playoff teams during the regular season. The Jets 10-6, which thet won 10-0. The other team was the Patriots 12-4, which they lost 17-13. Then take a look at the Colts. They won, when they had to win, in big games. Peyton Manning is quieting his critics. Everything they said he couldn't do, he has done. It will be a great game. I just don't see the Bears winning this. On paper anyways. But this is for all the marbles. Good luck to the Bears & Colts, you both had a great season. Too bad it will have to end.

98
by 123 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 4:07pm

The Bears defense has a big task in front of it, going up against a team that scored 427 points in the regular season. They don't have all the healthy pieces they once had, but they are still a good unit.

The Colts defense also has a big task in front of it, going up against a team that scored 427 points in the regular season. They are healthier than they were for large parts of the regular season, but they still allowed 100+ more points than the Bears defense.

Rex Grossman's struggles are related to the opposing teams ability to get pressure on him via the blitz. He has problems seeing where the blitz is coming from, and knowing how to handle it. The Colts, by and large aren't a blitzing defense. If they do blitz, who knows what will happen, but if they don't, Rex can play his game.

The Super Bowl is an ad-extravaganza. It has more and longer breaks than any other game. This favors the defenses, which favors the Bears.

99
by OMO (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 4:21pm

This thread is the closest thing to "network talking head analysis" that I've seen all year on this website.

Someone pulls a "Rex Grossman just wins games" out of their ass and we are officially jumping the shark.

100
by Balaji (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 4:32pm

83: Well, speaking as one Steelers fan, I can tell you I've hated the Ravens for years, not just after this year's double embarrassment. The rivalry with Cincinnati has really only developed in the last couple years (and Carson Palmer's constant boasting after a loss doesn't help), and as somebody else said, who cares about Cleveland?

101
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 4:37pm

73/4: Well, I wanted to characterize the Saints game as a "bad" performance, but it obviously wasn't so bad as his 0 rating games, and by QB rating it looks decent. Really though... 44% completions? 5.5 y/att? That's pretty poor. If Peyton had done that, we'd call him a choking loser, but because it's Rex, and he didn't throw 3 picks, I guess we don't think it's that bad.

My point was just to say that it's wrong to suggest he's good about half the time... he's been great 2/9, okay 4/9, and bad 3/9. I think it's pretty clear that Rex has indeed settled into "mediocre rex" and will probably show us nothing special next sunday, even if he's playing with a lead.

95: I think I made basically the same post as your first paragraph, but unfortunately it got eaten when I used the greater-than symbol (Unless I posted it elsewhere on this site, but I can't remember now). I agree completely, the momentum in this game will be incredibly important due to the difference in offensive styles/talent levels. If Peyton ends up behind, and has to start forcing things against a very good, turnover-based defense, this game could go horribly wrong for the Colts. Also, as you said, because Grossman can handle passing relatively few times, using PA over the top. On the other hand, if the Colts jump out to a lead, and Rex has to start trying to carry the offense, he'll probably revert to evil Rex, and the Bears' greatest strength (running, in my opinion a foregone conclusion to be successful) will soon be worthless.

It's a key point in my opinion that it isn't even "will the Colts stop the Bears' run," but "will the Bears have the chance to run, and even if they run well, will Rex put up a few points?"

102
by Pete (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 5:04pm

Can we see a breakdown for how much the Colts offense gets paid and a breakdown for the Bears defense? Where is the money being spent and is it being used wisely?
I saw someone ask how could Manning not win a Super Bowl ring compared to Rex Grossman? How much are each of them being paid? I suspect a lot of the money taken by Manning could have been spent on improving the Colts defense (and special teams).

103
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 5:05pm

Re: 98

Actually, the biggest problem the Colts defense has had this year is tiring (cite their 1st & 3rd quarter DVOA vs. their 2nd & 4th quarter DVOA), so I think overall more rest during the game helps the Colts.

104
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 5:25pm

83/85/86 and damn, in 92 Marko beat me to it!

Tom K I don't like your list bt I admire it. At least you have your shit in order. And sorry for mixing you up. Your pixels all look the same.

The sheriff is a-- GONG!
The sheriff is a-- GONG!
I think he said the sheriff is coming.

105
by Jeff (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 6:04pm

Re:91

Sean,

Those are fair points you make. Although speaking to the Bears D against " good " offenses I think they tend to do fine. Most
" good " defenses struggle to an extent against explosive offenses. Against the Seahawks the Bears managed to make plays when they absolutely had to and they throttled a very good Saints offense.

In terms of the Colts the key as you pointed out will be how much pressure the Bears front four can get on Manning. I think they can get to him fairly well. Sacks are huge of course but if they can get Manning nervous and if the Manning " happy feet " makes an appearance then I believe Manning can get rattled. The true key to this game comes down to the line of scrimmage. Whichever team wins the offensive/defensive line battles will be the team that wins.

106
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 6:07pm

Well, the Bears appear to be relishing their underdog role and playing the disrespect card, but weirdly Indy can also play the disreapect card.

As noted by some posters here and in the linked Chicago Trib article, Chicago seems happier to face Indy than NE. Take THAT, Indy D. Well, it's not the Ravens' "pain and hot sauce" comments, but it'll do.

(Not unlike my feelings toward NE and SD in the playoffs--matchups)

#103: Turbohappy, that is exactly one of the problems they solved by their long grinding drives in the playoffs--not only does it ALSO limit the other team's O chances--making an all-run gameplan a little riskier vis-a-vis time for the oppnents, but it keeps the D fresher. It's a beautiful thing and as much as I like the 60-yard TD strike, for holistic team well-being, I prefer the 10-play drives. Bet the D does too.

107
by J.D. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 6:11pm

OMO - well said. On the bright side, it reminds me of why I love most of this site.

#102 - from Ian Whetstone's salary cap data (link in my name), the Colts spent about $52 million on their offense and $38 million on their defense, while the Bears spent about $46 million on offense and $42 million on defense. I suspect the low number for the Bears' defense is because many of the stars are young, and thus still on their rookie contracts.

108
by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 6:13pm

#70: I hate the term "kickoff specialist." We don't call the punter a "punt specialist," even though all he does is punt. We don't call the long snapper a "long snap specialist," even though all he does is long snaps. I say we get rid of the term "kickoff specialist."

Call 'em "kickoffers". It sounds as stupid as the position is. ("OK, we need someone whose only qualification is that he can kick a ball, sitting on a tee, a long way. No, he doesn't have to be particularly accurate, as long as it doesn't go more than 80 feet left or right. No, he doesn't have to have good timing - he just runs up and kicks the ball whenever he's ready.")

109
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 6:42pm

The Bears are 1-1 against AFC playoff teams. The win was a shutout and the loss was by 4 points in a game where both teams committed lots of turnovers. The Bears can hang with the AFC.

110
by John P (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 8:02pm

I guess it is a matter of only remembering the last thing you see, but Peyton Manning has a worse QB rating during the playoffs this year than Rex Grossman does. He has thrown 6 picks, averaging 2 a game. Now he faces the top turnover creating team in the NFL. They will probably rack up the passing yardage, but so did the Saints. Indy will turn it over about 3 times. 4 if they are too quick to abandon a run game that is likely to have some difficulty. The Bears will have good field position all day due to Hester (or kicks out of bounds/pooched), and the Colts will have poor field position due to the Bears strong coverage team. Perhaps most importantly there seems to be a new QB for the Bears. Average Rex. From Player of the Month Rex to Abysmal Rex, Average Rex has been the one that the Bears needed. Average Rex does not turn the ball over. Average Rex doesn't kill the team. Average Rex combined with the advantage in the running game, on defense, and on special teams will squeeze out a victory. Average Rex has enough ability to bomb over any attempts to sell out against the run.

Let me reiterate. Manning has been bad so far in the playoffs. 3 picks vs the Chiefs. 2 picks, 50% completion, 170 yards vs the Ravens. 1 pick, below 50% completion, 87 yards in the 1st half against the Pats. The only success he has had was against a depleted Pats D in the 2nd half. Assuming that injury/illness does not wipe out the Bears D, I expect him to have a bad game. Meanwhile, this is the "strength" of the Colts that is supposed to outweigh all the Bears advantges?

Bears 30 Colts 23.

111
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 8:26pm

#94 The early word around here is that it's a high ankle sprain. If that's true, he's out for the game. But as far as I know, no, it is not official.

112
by Don M (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 10:20pm

Third down conversions. The Colts are 22/46 in the playoffs. The Bears are 11/36, and I think that's your story right there. Sustaining drives keeping the ball away from the other team, that's going to be the key to this game.
Also for Bear fans who think it's going to be easy and that the Colts are the "Saints without Reggie Bush" be prepared to be dissapointed.

113
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:44pm

32 - 'Pin my hopes'? So you don't comprehend the last part of my post?

Actually, I originally wrote Ok Manning (whom we have seen) but I figured the Happy Feet line would be more incendiary, which it was. The Bears just need to avoid Evil Rex. Neutral Rex is good enough for them to beat Indy most of the time. If they get Good Rex, they win every time.

Fnor's point is basically the NFC sucks therefore the Bears are overrated. (like the 1999 Rams perhaps?) I don't think the Bears are overrated and FO stats like them too.

Kal's point is that because the Colts scored 5 field goals against the #1 D in the playoffs (and played with fire with all of the interceptable throws from Manning) and crushed the #8 D in the playoffs, they are more likely to outscore the Bears. Sure, if the Bears score less than twenty points.

I would really enjoy it if Manning/Dungy could get the ultimate monkey off of their backs. But the part of me that ignores emotion thinks that the odds are against them. Sure they can win, but I think that the Bears would take 3 out of 4 from them. Not really testable, but it's fun to speculate.

114
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 01/24/2007 - 11:45pm

Of course the Bears are the #2 D according to FO.

115
by Jason Mulgrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 12:14am

This is a nice Super Bowl. Very nice. I like it.

116
by Doug (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 12:21am

#109

That is a silly statistic to use..."the Bears are 1-1 against AFC playoff teams, therefore they can hang with the AFC".

The Bears are also 1-1 against AFC non-playoff teams...there's nothing substantial there. If anything, it helps to solidify my conclusion that the Bears can't hang with the AFC. They beat Buffalo and the Jets...woohoo. They lost to Miami and New England.

Indianapolis, on the other hand, and this surely has been mentioned before, beat the Giants AND the Redskins AND the Eagles. As a matter of fact, they beat the pants off the Eagles. The NFC East was supposed to be the best division in the conference. The loss to Dallas came at the height of Romo-mania.

To me, that's evidence supporting the Colts, not the Bears.

Also, #69 - your point was never really addressed. In my opinion (based on the research I've done) the AFC and NFC are separated by a tremendous gap. The fact that the AFC beat the NFC in inter-conference play 40-24 is evidence of this. Also look at the inter-conference records of the playoff teams from each conference...it's pretty ridiculous. The Cowboys were the ONLY team in the NFC that had a winning record vs. the AFC this year. HUGE gap.

Click my name for a link to my site...you'll have to dig for it, but I've done several posts regarding the huge gap.

117
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 12:23am

Re 113

Perhaps you should start a sports book, offering Bears -7. You'd get a good number of takers.

118
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 12:26am

Re 116

You forgot who else the Colts beat -- the aforementioned Bills, Jets, Dolphins and Patriots.

119
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 12:29am

Re 117 - I'm not going to go that far, but I am seriously considering putting money on the Bears. That way I'll be happy either way it goes. I've never gambled on a sporting event though, so I doubt I'll actually do it.

120
by Ricky Bobby (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 1:14am

111# Isn't the real story Peyton Manning's dislocated finger on his throwing hand? If he's average to below average, the Colts are toast.

121
by Bridge (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 1:28am

Re 58

Sorry, this was a while ago, but it really caught my attention when I was reading. Goathead, what do you have against Jim Irsay? I know plenty of people don't like Bob Irsay, especially Baltimoreans, but I've never heard anything bad about his son.

122
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 2:07am

112 You bring up a nice point with the 3rd down conversions--Indy led the league by a HUGE margin this year in this stat. The playoffs, going against two TOP D's they have tailed off a bit, but their %age would still rank 3rd in the league, whereas Chicago has played Seatte's turnstyle D with three street FA DBs and NO's inconsistent D (both at home), and their conversion rate is poor--in fact Chicago's post-season 31% conversion rate would rank 33rd in the league this year.

On top of that, Indy's 3rd down conversion rate AGAINST was absolutely insane and unsustainable after the first two games, I think 3/22, and after NE they are 7/36 against. Now, acknowledging these were not the top offenses in the NFL, that 19% of conversions against would lead the league by a wide margin. (Balt had 29% in reg season).

If it comes down to third down performance, it's not even a ballgame.

Special teams worry me, as does the grass surface a bit. But not 3rd down play or the ability to sustain and stop drives.

The Colts ARE the Saints without Reggie Bush, insofar as I have yet to see an Indy player taunt an opponent in years.

123
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 2:12am

121 Bridge, just a guess, but this probably goes to the irrational hatred theme from the Audibles thread--one Irsay being as bad as another. I hope I am not measured by my father's actions, thoughts, words!

Also, the purer-than-thou types like to point out the drug addiction he overcame a few years ago and maybe his 60's style rebelious free spirit thing (He forked over about $3M to buy Jack Kerouac's original "On The Road" manuscript--how loathesome of him.) Just a guess. He seems like a model owner to me, with a lot less plastic surgery than Jerry Jones and one fewer nylon warmup suits than Al Davis.

124
by Rick (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 8:30am

re: 120
Manning performed fairly well after he injured his thumb in the Pats' game. And he'll have two weeks of recovery time. I don't think it'll be a big issue. As I understand it, he isn't missing any practices.

125
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 8:36am

Speaking as a Steelers fan and based on this and last year, I think I prefer my quarterback with an injured hand to without.

126
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 10:27am

For some reason it hasn't been posted but MDS and Tanier wrote up a piece for Fox: When The Bears have the Ball. The link is in my name. They seem to think that the Bears will have great success running due in large part to the blocking skills of Muhammed and Berrian. Of course they end by saying it will all probably come down to they play of Grossman.

127
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 10:32am

Re 106:
David Huagh of the Tribune is making the case that the Bears are better off facing the Colts. There are no quotes or statements from any Bears players.

BTW, who knew Dave McGinnis was linebackers coach for Tennessee? From almost Bears HC to Arizona HC to there, what a long strange trip it must have been.

128
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 10:57am

There's a poll on ESPN asking which is the worst Super Bowl QB ever. Nevermind that there's no definition of worst (talent, stats in that game, stats for their career) but here are the results so far:
Trent Dilfer 23%
Tony Eason 18%
Vince Ferragamo 14%
Rex Grossman 31%
David Woodly 14%

People think Grossman is that bad? Do they know he won player of the month? Do they know he has a higher QB rating in the playoffs than Manning (I know that's a dumb argument, not defense adjusted etc, but these are the kind of people that would look at those stats without context)?

Rex is not the greatest QB, he's not all that good, but he's not the worst QB of all time, ever and forever.

129
by Doug (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 11:46am

#1 Worst Super Bowl QB of all time - Garo Yepremian (yes, I know he's not a QB, but his one pass was quite possibly the worst ever in SB history)

If he's that bad with his hands and good with his feet, you'd think he'd write with a pencil between his toes too.

130
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 12:17pm

128: Well, nobody really remembers the horrible losers who have made it, so it's a vote based on ignorance. For my part, Rex Grossman is one of the worst... Eason, Woodley, and a few others have a better case, but Grossman's season as a whole was definitely not very good. He's certainly far below average for a Superbowl QB, and would DEFINITELY be in contention for worst WINNING QB ever.

131
by Wonderin\' (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 12:49pm

Didn't we have a QB just last season who had a historically bad Super Bowl?

132
by Boots Day (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 1:10pm

It's really too early to tell how bad Grossman is in relation to other Super Bowl QBs. He's only started 23 games in his entire career, and as variable as his performance has been, who really knows what to expect from the rest of his career? By this time next year, he could be well on his way to being a career backup. Or he could be a perennial Pro Bowler. No one really knows.

I suspect he'll end up in the Ron Jaworski, Jeff Hostetler, Stan Humphries category, the kind of QB who has a decent career without ever being a star, makes the Pro Bowl in a good year when a bunch of other QBs beg off. But it's way to soon to tell.

133
by zachary (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 1:26pm

I seem to remember a number of intelligent commentators saying after last year's Bowl that Big Ben had the worst performance by any winning QB in SB history, but he at least had a great season and helped his the Steelers get there. Grossman may do worse and still hoist the Lombardi trophy afterward. And TV guys will praise his game management and the Bears' running game (Benson averaged 2.5 YPC against the Saints' vaunted D) as being enough to enable Chicago's defense to capture the win. My gut says Colts by 3, though.

134
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 1:31pm

I can already see a storyline taking form: Rex using the "no-respect" card for motivation. If you're a hack sportswriter, it's great, because it can go one of two ways:

He plays well, it show up all the doubters. He plays badly, he got too wrapped up in defending himself. That's a column already written two eeks in the future. Who wouldn't want that?

123:

I won't speak for Goathead, but here's why I don't like the guy:

1) He may not be responsible for his father's actions, but he does defend them, usually based on the "He's my dad. What else can I do?" line. Guess he didn't visit Grandma much after a while.

2) He also seems to want to continue the feud with Baltimore. The Unitas fiasco, the choice of Throwback uniforms, advertising the history video as "Indy" while cramming the ad with Baltimore footage -- individually, there might be excuses, but taken together, it looks like someone in Indy might have a vendetta, too.

Side note: I don't beleieve either of the most famous stories about Jim: the teenager tearfully apologizing for Dad's drunken tirades in the lockerroom, or the "$20 million" phone call to Art Modell for the logo, etc. But Jim does seem to have a habit of doing the right thing only after someone has told him he should stop doing what he's doing. Both of those stories do fit that pattern.

"On the Road" -- I actually think it's cool that he bought it -- you guys may wish he used the money on Mike Peterson, but, hey, that's owners. What I don't like much is that he apparently kept the scroll open in his bathroom for a while. Once again, dude, it's your money, but don't go pleading poverty to the State of Indiana if that's how you use it, OK?

3) Here's what really bugs me, and is going to as the fortnight continues -- we are going to see more articles like the Clark Judge piece on CBSSportsline. By this time next week, Tank Johnson and Ricky Manning will be profiled as regularly using their guns to help non-Jewish little old ladies cross the street, protecting them from all the laptop-toting-thugs in Lake Forest. Jim is no better.

I'm glad he's beating his addiction -- and I hope he stays ahead of it for the rest of his life, becuase he caught a huge break there. If he was, say, a player who loaned his cellphone to someone who arranged a drug deal, he would be rightly tried, convicted, imprisoned, and lose many benefits that would come form an otherwise laudable career. But as an owner, who assisted in forging prescriptions for his own illegal use, none of that followed. It may have as much to do with federal prosecutors in Indiana as opposed to Georgia; it may have to do with some action of the league behind the scenes which was never reported the way it would be for a player. It may have to do with being white, wealthy and well-connected instead of black and a barely-known (at the time) rookie awaiting his first contract. But Jim caught a break that Jamal didn't, and you're not going to see that in any of the bilge being pumped out over the next couple of weeks, because that's not the way the league wants it to be.

I don't him hate because he's an Irsay, or because he's an addict. I don't like him because he seems to have CHOSEN to follow in his father's footsteps, and because, unlike a lot of folks bandided about, he DID get away with something.

And now I have to listen to everyone say what a great guy he is? Nope, not buying it. And remember, Jim, the one that rolls up in two places is the $3M scroll; the one that rolls up in only one is the toilet paper.

135
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 1:32pm

Re 133:
Well, Benson had 2.5 ypc, but Jones had 122 yards on 19 carries. You're doing the same thing that you're harping on TV guys for.

136
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 2:42pm

Re 128

I'd guess that a significant number of the people voting in that never saw Ferragamo or Woodley, and possibly even Eason, so there's no basis for comparision. I don't think it's a coincidence that the percentages are aligned with how recently they played in their Super Bowl. That anyone could think that Dilfer was worse than Woodley blows my mind, whatever criteria you're using.

137
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 3:16pm

Re 134

I agree that Irsay got off easy on his drug charges. I can offer one small difference between his drug situation and Jamal Lewis', though. I've had some interaction with federal authorities before (not in a bad way). Not that this is right or wrong, but they seem to take a much harder line in regard to selling drugs. If someone is using drugs, or buying or stealing drugs for their own use, treatment is often the first course of action.

138
by Lucky Horseshoe (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 4:01pm

#3. Defense might win championships but since the playoffs started, the single best unit, def, off or st on any team playing in the playoffs has been the Colts D . . . so who does that old adage favor?

139
by Lucky Horseshoe (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 4:09pm

Re #134. How do you get any kind of defense from "He's my dad. What do you want me to do?" That doesnt strike me as a defense, just a refusal to pile on. Same with his embracing the team's Baltimore history. The league sets that standard, not Irsay. Irsay gave back the physical remnants of that legacy, the trophies and unis and memorabilia. It all resides in Baltimore's Legends Museum. No one in Baltimore bothers to go see it. It is a wonderful little gem of a sports museum and is terribly under attended. Even after the league dictated that the Baltimore legacy followed the Colts I suppose Irsay could leave those years out of the Colts press guide and other publications, but he has no control over the Hall of Fame or the league record books. And lets face it. The Mayflower movers DID arrive 36 hours after the State of Maryland passed a law saying Baltimore could steal the father's personal property. It isnt like there were good feelings abounding which Irsay betrayed! Old Colts fans from Baltimore can make what they wish of their treasured memories. They could take their kids to see the memorabilia which Irsay sent back to Baltimore as I have taken my nieces and nephews but they mostly choose not to do so. Instead they choose to edify their memories by sustained bitterness and misplaced hatred and revisionist versions of history worthy of a Moore or Stone movie. As for his getting preferred treatment for his fraudulent scrips . . . like it or not the legal system differentiates between abuse of legal drugs and the industry surrounding illegal drugs. Whether it is Elvis or Jim Irsay or Betty Ford or Rush, this crime is not seen as having the same negative impact on society of violent crime, economic destructiveness and does not carry the same penalties. Whether this is right or not is another issue but they are treated differently no matter who the charged person is.

140
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 7:17pm

If there is any place appropriate for a clean SB joke, it's here:

A man had 50 yard line tickets at the Super Bowl. As he sits down, another man comes down and asks if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him.

"No," he says, "The seat is empty."

"This is incredible!" said the man. "Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl and not use it?"

The first man says, "Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl we haven't been to together since we got married in 1987."

"Oh . . . I'm sorry to hear that. That's terrible. But couldn't you find someone else - - a friend or relative, or even a neighbor to take the seat?"

The man shakes his head. "No, they're all at the funeral."

141
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/25/2007 - 7:38pm

Tom Kelso, always a cogent argument. I feel very uncomfortable with how Irsay's drug addiction and, say, Rush Limbaugh's were treated. I am not displeased with what looks like disparate responses by the law, but the ton of criticism and "we're watching you" for one did not match the other, and far as I know they were very similar crimes. So I'd say he caught a break, and as Lucky H points out regarding Jamal Lewis, being connected with getting drugs illegally for personal use and being connected with distributing them are viewed quite differently.

But Lucky Horseshoe, before you use the phrase "steal his team from him" (I have no doubt he felt that way), eminent domain laws require the government to buy the asset at "fair market prices," however poorly they may be determined.

If Indiana were to do that today, there has been enough churn and data and annual valuations that they'd have to cough up somewhere in the range of $750M. Jim I. may still feel he is being robbed were that to happen, but that is hardly stealing. I have no idea how fairly NFL franchises were valued back then (what did Al Davis buy the Raiders for in the 60s, like $75k???), but it would not be stealing in the conventional sense of the word since he'd be compensated. "Unfairly forcing him to give it up..." well, yes in that sense it's stealing. And if my state's legislature just passed a law specifically aimed at taking my business from me, yes, I would hightail my movable assets out of town and leave a giant sculpture of a fist with the middle finger extended behind. (in fact, when I quit my job someday I plan to mail my boss a smaller, similar scultpure, to let him know how I really feel. I suspect he'lllaugh and put on a shelf somewhere.)

Finally, the Colts organization gave all the Balt-era memorabilia to Balt and there's a museum to it? Who the hell knew about this? I never did.

And Tom K, give up on the choice of throwback unis being an insult to the city of Balt. Smart money says the marketing dept picked them. How does one pick this? Most likely by saying this one looked good, it will sell a few extra, and hey, they had a great season that year, so let's go with it. And probably not this way: How can I make Baltimoreans feel really really bad. Clearly I won't take anything from post 1979, bwa-ha-ha-ha.

And personally, who the hell can tell? I know there are minor diferences from decade to decade, but the Colts have had the most consistent and classy uni in the NFL over the decades, but who looks at the unis unless they are godawful ugly?

142
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Fri, 01/26/2007 - 12:24am

Some interesting responses here; I'm glad that I specified that I was talking about Jim, because I do believe in that whole "sins of the fathers not being visited on the sons" business. My kid will need every break he can get.

Bobman already knocked one big hole in the "they were going to steal his team" argument; allow me to punch another. The day of the move, Robert Irsay negotiated an improvements package, eventually to lead to a new stadium, with Governor Harry Hughes and Mayor William Schaefer. This is a matter of the public record. Part of this package involved the abandonment of any eminent domain proceedings. So, there was no urgency involved; it was simply Daddy Irsay's latest bad-faith negotiation in a lifetime full of them. The pretended deal was his way of giving the bird on his way out.

Thowbacks -- I agree that they are for marketing only, or should be. If I'm an Indy marketing exec, my line to sell the most stuff in Indiana should go, "I can use the year they first came here, or the year Eric Dickerson set his rushing records, or the year Harbaugh almost got us into the Super Bowl. No, wait! I'll use the only distinctive helmet they ever had, which was their first year in ANOTHER city! I'll bet I can sell lots of stuff in Indiana that way!" When marketing or p.r. people make dumb decisions, it's usually because someone else is forcing something on them. There is a distinct tendency in that arm of the organization to continually make the wrong move. Does Jim enjoy seeing this come up time and again? At some point, you have to wonder.

The funny thing is, Bobman is right. They could say "1995" and no one would blink (1984 would include silver trim and horseshoes on the hips; truly ugly, but at least it was theirs). But they chose to say "1959" and "1954" (the double horseshoe on the back of the helmet).

Do you have kids? I do, and you learn that at one point, one of them will start one of those "mine! mine!" arguments, becuase they have something and because it will drive the other one nuts. At some level, that's what Jim is doing, or letting happen. You might wish that the kid yelling would just shut up, but you also know that it's the other one's fault, too.

143
by backdoc (not verified) :: Fri, 01/26/2007 - 1:26am

Looking for an Interceptasaurus Rex sighting next week, quickly followed by a Colts win...followed by the irrational Brady v Manning thread exceeding allowable bandwidth... :)

144
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 01/26/2007 - 2:42am

I highly urge all Indy vs Baltimore disputes to be put on hold: we had our little spat a couple weeks ago, and we all know its a discussion that is somewhat unresolvable.

re: 34
I'm a NYC Ravens fan, so any knowledge I have of the NFC is likely due to my half-heartedly following of Big Blue and Gang Green.

re: 83
As a younger Raven fan I really don't harbor a lot of resentment towards the Colts, its really only the Steelers that get me riled up. I think only after slaughtering them twice this year am I finally at peace. That loss in the playoffs after the 01 season has finally been avenged.

145
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Fri, 01/26/2007 - 4:20pm

16 - Tampa Bay Mike, point #1 is not relevant. Assuming that the NFL Matchup team was using the official NFL season rankings for offense and defense then the Colts are the #3 offense and the Bears are the #5 defense. You sir are an idiot.

This is going to be a great Super Bowl.

146
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 01/26/2007 - 4:48pm

What the hell just happened in #145? I'm tired today, so someone will have to explain it to me. To my eyes, it looks like someone arguing with himself... and resorting to name-callnig in the process.

147
by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 01/26/2007 - 8:11pm

A week or so ago there was a discussion thread that had a lot of "what constitutes a penalty" comments. Mainly PI and roughing, but one of them was also offensive holding.

I submit a photo in the linked article, in which is sure looks to me like Dan Klecko is holding while blocking for Addai vs the Ravens. And it's on the Colts website!

He has a fist full of the back of Suggs's jersey. Holding anyone? Not that I mind or anything, but who picked that photo? COuldn't they find a better pic of Klecko? Sheesh!

Tom Kelso, I hereby grant your kids unconditional foregiveness for anything that you might have done.... If you extend the favor back, of course. Hey wait, that's conditional!

148
by Bobman (not verified) :: Sat, 01/27/2007 - 2:52am

Drew TS, ya got me..... Probably not worth the effort to unravel. You are clearly not bleary-eyed enough if you're catching such details.

149
by Not saying (not verified) :: Sat, 01/27/2007 - 12:13pm

Noticed something about Manning's thumb in this article. "He's fine," Dungy said. "I didn't even know about it until the next day. He threw on the sideline and he was OK. He looked OK in the game."

Does anyone else find it strange (and potentially disturbing, depending on your alligiances) that Dungy didn't know that Manning got hurt until the next day? Wasn't Manning standing next to Sorgi telling him to get ready (or whatever)? And Dungy didn't know?

150
by keith (not verified) :: Sat, 01/27/2007 - 3:27pm

Maybe Peyton/Tom Moore are secretly coaching the team.

151
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 9:15am

Well, Dungy doesn't run the offense, so strictly Manning's injury probably isn't his concern unless he's actually forced to sit out. Manning certainly seemed to think it was more important to tell Sorgi than Dungy, who at the time was probably more interested in getting his D (does Dungy or Meeks make the D playcalls?) to stop the Patriots anyway.

152
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 5:59pm

It's still sort of surprising, given the place Peyton has in the team and the general importance of quarterbacks. I guess it also was kind of a non-issue... we had the sideline camera and got all excited about it, but he was in on the next possession and played fine. So not hearing about a non-injury probably isn't that weird.

153
by Sean (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 7:15pm

Some general notes on the Super Bowl participants during the DVOA era (1997-2007):

97 Den: 27.6% DVOA/12.2 Pyth 97 GB: 26.0% DVOA/11.6 Pyth
98 Den: 29.8% DVOA/12.1 Pyth 98 Atl: 26.3% DVOA/11.7 Pyth
99 StL: 45.8% DVOA/13.8 Pyth 99 Ten: 15.8% DVOA/9.8 Pyth
00 Bal: 30.2% DVOA/13.5 Pyth 00 NYG: 8.3% DVOA/10.6 Pyth
01 NE: 6.2% DVOA/10.8 Pyth 01 Stl: 38.5% DVOA/13.0 Pyth
02 TB: 34.0% DVOA/12.7 Pyth 02 Oak: 30.9% DVOA/11.5 Pyth
03 NE: 22.8% DVOA/11.4 Pyth 03 Car: 0.4% DVOA/8.6 Pyth
04 NE: 35.7% DVOA/12.4 Pyth 04 Phi: 22.9% DVOA/11.5 Pyth
05 Pit: 28.1% DVOA/11.6 Pyth 05 Sea: 26.2% DVOA/12.3 Pyth
06 Ind: 19.4% DVOA/9.6 Pyth 06 Chi: 24.0% DVOA/12.4 Pyth

For the most part, the numbers tell a pretty similar story. The 1999 St. Louis Rams are decisively the best of the modern Super Bowl teams-the 2001 Rams are actually the second-best. Meanwhile, the 2003 Carolina team was the worst Super Bowl team in the last ten years, with the 2000 Giants and 1999 Titans giving them some competition. The worst Super Bowl winner by far (unsurprisingly) was the 2001 Pats. Here are the rankings:

DVOA
1. 99 StL 2. 01 StL 3. 04 NE 4. 02 TB 5. 02 Oak 6. 00 Bal 7. 98 Den 8. 05 Pit 9. 07 Den 10. 98 Atl 11. 05 Sea 12. 97 GB 13. 06 Chi 14. 04 Phi 15. 03 NE 16. 06 Ind 17. 99 Ten 18. 00 NYG 19. 01 NE 20. 03 Car

Pythagorean
1. 99 StL 2. 00 Bal 3. 01 StL 4. 02 TB 5. 04 NE 06 Chi (tie) 7. 05 Sea 8. 97 Den 9. 98 Den 10. 98 Atl 11. 05 Pit 97 GB (tie) 13. 02 Oak 04 Phi (tie) 15. 03 NE 16. 01 NE 17. 00 NYG 18. 99 Ten 19. 06 Ind 20. 03 Car

It's interesting that the Rams were so powerful (and that 2000 team that lost Warner for six games grades very highly as well)- in terms of overall performance, they were closer to a dynastic team than New England. I haven't looked at the numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if you saw something similar in the late 70s, where that Dallas team was better than the Steeler team that beat them. It's also interesting that the 2002 Bucs team grades out so well either way, as that's kind of a forgotten unit. The Raiders have been unfairly detracted because they got blown out in the Super Bowl (in a rather unique circumstance), but they were excellent. All the numbers agree that Carolina was easily the worst Super Bowl participant in recent memory, that Tennessee wasn't much better and that, interestingly enough, this Indy squad belongs at the bottom of the list, well below the Bears team that they are favored to beat. Does it mean anything? Well, the team with the higher DVOA won eight of the last nine Super Bowls, and the team with the better Pythagorean rating won seven of the last nine, so yes, it probably does. (And I say that believing that Indy is going to win.)

154
by Sean (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 7:17pm

Sorry, that's eight out of the last nine to the better DVOA team.

155
by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 8:18pm

Pat, I saw this article and thought of you.
Its a little beyond me but you probably get it.

156
by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 8:22pm

Pat, I saw this article and thought of you.

157
by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 8:41pm

Sean: curious Colts fan desperate for good news after that post... what happens if you look at end of regular season WDVOA? Is it at least as "predictive" as full season DVOA?

158
by Sean (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 9:27pm

Re 154: No, one of the FO staff ran an article at the beginning of the playoffs which suggested that regular season DVOA was a better predictor of playoff success than the weighted version.

It's interesting- DVOA isn't a particularly good predictor during the playoffs. In fact, it is inferior to looking at simple things like seeding. But then again, the playoffs are inherently structured to make seeding more important than team quality. If you were a very good team but lost some close games or played a tough schedule, you're going to have to play three games, possibly all on the road, while another team gets to play two games at home. That tends to factor as heavily or more heavily than team performance over the course of the season. But once you get to the Super Bowl, you literally have a neutral field and neutral conditions (preparation, weather, etc), and at that point regular season performance seems to be highly predictive.

No need to panic, though. The two worst teams ended up playing in the two closest Super Bowls during that period, and a Patriots team that was significantly worse than this Colts team beat a Rams team that was significantly better than the Bears. Besides, I think there is something to the idea that the Colts trudged through the season half-interested, and that their personnel really isn't much different (and may be better) than last year's top-DVOA squad. If you asked me who was going to win, I would unequivocally say the Colts. But the recent history would suggest otherwise.

159
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Sun, 01/28/2007 - 9:50pm

Hmm, we could attempt to measure the extent to which the Colts D mailed in their regular season (I don't think anybody is accusing the O of mailing the regular season in, and if they are I am positively terrified of what they're supposed to be capable of when they put their mind to it).

A subjective opinion is required as to which games Indianapolis would be most jaded in, but after that we can try to correlate defensive DVOA to jadedness. I would say (most to least jaded) vs. AFC South teams, vs. losing teams, vs. winning teams, vs. the Patriots. On a less subjective level, we could attempt to correlate Colts' defensive DVOA with record of opponent (or DVOA of opponent, but I'm more interested in the general perception of a team than how good they really are).

Just a thought. Personally, I don't think the regular season was in any way mailed in, other than in moments of despair watching the second Jaguars game.

160
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 6:36am

Looking at injury changes in the past 6-8 weeks (and how that might affect record and DVOA), keep in mind that Indy was 1-3 without Dallas Clark on O and 11-1 with him, while they only had Sanders for 4 games this season (3-1 in those games). Both are back and appear quite productive in the post season, which is not something that DVOA could "predict."

Conversely, many of the Bears full-season successes included Tommie Harris and Mike Brown, both big contributors but now on IR. And while DVOA does of course include a handful of games in which they did NOT play, it also includes games in which they contributed, which seem less pertinent to me.

No offense, but I am not sure if we can draw anything reliable from Sean's work (or maybe I am just hoping....). Look at the blowout game of 2002--TB and Oak are pretty closely rated by DVOA. On paper, that's a 3-7 pt game, not a 30 pointer.... and the opposite shold be true of 99 and 03--shoulda been blowouts by the dynasties but were kept close by the overachievers. 98 should have been real close and was not, and of course 01 shold have gone the other way. To me, that looks like 5 out of 9 with unexpected results (not the W/L, but the competitiveness of games).

I think specific matchups (and which Colt D and ST units show up) will matter more than DVOA. Plus, though I find this hard to believe at this level of the game, whichever team handles the media/stage/event the best, will likely prevail--and Indy has been in two close, do or die games with one receiving more media scrutiny than the Rosenberg trial. Having been in the playoffs for the past 5 years, they are both battle tested and media tested. Some key Bears (like a rookie KR back in his old college town visiting friends?) might be a little too tight or too lose with all the dumb hub-bub going on.

That being said, not sure if anybody could predict a Barrett Robbins event. I hope it doesn't happen to anybody on either team, but if it does, Miami is as likely a place as any for it to happen in light of what happened in previous SBs there. I say a party at Edge's house leaves both of his fellow Hurricane alums, Hester and Wayne, hung over. It's close, but since Indy has other receivers but Chi has only one Hester, advantage Colts.

161
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 12:19pm

Bobman,

Mike Brown hasn't been on a football field since October and Tommie Harris for almost as long. DVOA acoounts for the absences fairly well, both good and bad.

Brown is regarded by many as the Mark Prior of the NFL -- he's great if you can ever keep him on the field. The Bear defense that is weighted most heavily by DVOA doesn't include either of them. If it did, Indy'd be even farther behind, but I have to admit that the numbers did surprise me.

162
by Sean (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 12:31pm

Bobman,

I don't doubt that Chicago looks like a team destined to get a case of the yips. And for what it's worth, I firmly believe the Colts are going to blow the doors off the Bears. That said, the Bears have been the better team over the course of the season, and that team has generally gone on to win the Super Bowl.

Honestly, my feeling is that as much as DVOA is helpful in adjusting for opponent, it probably still isn't doing enough to show how poor the NFC is. (But then again, part of why I think the Colts are going to win is that they are essentially the same team as last year's top rated group, but the 2005 Colts broke the strength of schedule scale, their opponents were so weak.)

163
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 12:47pm

A few warm fuzzy football facts:

Mike Brown was hurt in week 6. They had plenty of success without him.

Tommie Harris sucked for about a month and a half before he got hurt. He was having his best game in a while when he went down. The fact that he wasn't there to draw double-teams did become a huge deficit.

The Bears secondary was testing a new zone package they had just installed in the second half of the Tampa game, and just ask Reggie Bush how Danieal Manning is at open field pursuit and tackling.

164
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 2:24pm

158
Chicago's DVOA was 64.7% in the week six ratings.

Their DVOA through the end of the regular season was 24.0%

Their Weighted DVOA through the Seattle game was 6.6%

I'm not suggesting that the 64.7 was sustainable, but I'm pointing out that Chicago has been mediocre to good over their last dozen games. That's a long time.

165
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 5:21pm

161 Thanks TTLG, that bolsters my gut feeling. After all, Chi was 6-0 with Harris and Brown in and 7-3 without. Neither is bad, but one is considerably more impressive and DVOA seems to concur. Roughly similar to the Indy records with and without Clark and Sanders, except that those guys are now back instead of on IR.

Hard to get a very-late-season DVOA read on Indy, since Clark has only been back 4 games and Sanders 3, and there was no most recent DVOA rating done after the last one, so the sample size is miniscule.

Tom K, ... The Mark Prior of the NFL, or the Bob Sanders of the NFC.... the Brandon Stokely of the NFCN....

166
by Purds (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 7:14pm

I, like Bobman, am a convicted Colts fan, so this probably has a touch, just a touch, of bias. That said:

I think the Colts are much better suited for the distractions of SB week. I know the Colts lost in the playoffs to the Steelers last year, and we can needlessly blame a kicker for choking, a ref for making it tight, a ref for not calling false starts, but there are two HUGE disadvantages to the Colts last year that most don't talk about:

1) The suicide of the coach's son, just weeks before the playoffs.
2) The stabbing of a starting CB (Harper), by his wife, the night before the game.

If I was betting on a close game, and you could have those two things happen to the opponent, I'd feel good about my bet. So, the Colts, even though they lost, have been through a playoff experience with big-time distractions.

I am not saying the Colts could better fare another such distraction, but if nothing goes crazy on either team, I think the Colts are better prepared for the media, the abnormal nature of the game, etc.

167
by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 7:52pm

Re: 161

1. That appears to be total DVOA, not Defensive DVOA. Changes in the Offensive DVOA (i.e., Evil Rex appearances) probably have just as much effect on those numbers.

2. 64% is in no way sustainable, and is largely a function of small sample sizes.

3. You're taking that from the week six ratings, which don't take int account more D in the DVOA (i.e., better adjustments once we have more data about the teams strengths).

I'm not saying that there hasn't been a drop off, but the way you present it seems to exaggerate it. "Chicago has been mediocre to good over their last dozen games." In the last regular season rankings, they were 2nd in weighted Def. DVOA. In the last post-season ones they were 4th. That doesn't seem like mediocre to me.

I do agree that they have had problems, but I think it's fair to say that they are still one of the top units in the league.

168
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 01/29/2007 - 8:26pm

164
I agree with all of your points, I was talking about the team as a whole, not just the defense.

169
by Carlos (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 2:42am

okay, I know this doesn't belong here, but check out this video of FO's favorite underrated safety. Only 18 seconds.

You may then resume your SB hype!

170
by SteveNC (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 11:40am

Re 70:

Depends if you also have Robo-Onside-Kick-Catcher, who catches every single one of these kickoffs....

171
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 12:09pm

#161: Except they likely went significantly up after the Saints game as well. Honestly, I think it's a bit difficult to judge the Bears' late season slide. They've been inconsistent all year, so a few downward blips is not necessarily a trend.

With Bad Rex unlikely to make much of an appearance (zone defense without fantastic linebackers = wide open receivers. The kind even Grossman can't screw up) this game's going to be closer than people think. Heck, Chicago might even win it, though I doubt it.

172
by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 12:30pm

Anyone willing to dig somebody out of the snow on Sunday? The anticipation is killing me. I can't read enough about the game.

173
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 1:59pm

168
Yeah, they did, and I'd like to know how those numbers effect them.
Looking at their schedule though, it seems like their schedule was split in three segments. Great, then inconsistent, then mediocre. Then the Saints game. Before that game, the last time I was impressed with the Bears was the second half of the Giants game.

I also think that bad Rex is somewhat likely to make an appearance. Reasoning being, what does Rex do well?, throw the deep ball. What does Rex do badly? Throwing intermediate routes? Which is what the Colts willl give up. In a 'strength on strength' battle, I have a hard time thinking that Rex would win.

That said, I wouldn't be shocked to see the Bears win.

174
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 3:21pm

Oh, gosh, giving seven points to a team with a far superior defense, and an offensive line which may be every bit as good, if not better, than the opponents', is not very wise, and if the line has ever gotten to eight points anywhere, THAT is truly crazy, even with the disparity at qb. The Bears can certainly win, and the formula for doing so is about the same as it was for beating the Saints; have the Bears' lines just flat-out whip the Colts' lines, while being able to avoid multiple big plays (when the Bears are on defense) on those occasions when a saftey is dropped into the box for run support.

Of course, the game is being played in Miami, not Chicago, which means the Bears will be taking bigger risks if they do so as frequently as they did against the Saints. I'm really curious to see if Lovie Smith and Rivera will sell out as much to stop the run as they did against the Saints, and what Moore/Manning will do in response. I think Sean Payton made a mistake to nearly completely abandon physical play, which means running, when the Bears announced they were first and foremost going to stop the run. I don't think Manning will do the same, along with the fact that the Colts will be better situated in Miami to inflict some pain on the Bears for overstacking the run than the Saints were in Chicago. If Ogunleye, Kreutz, and Co. do some real bludgeoning, though, the Bears will win.

175
by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 3:23pm

I think a bad Rex sighting is highly likely. Rex is pretty limited in the routes he is comfortable throwing, and the Colts defense is designed to take away the principal one-the vertical stuff to Berrian. Throw in the fast Indy defensive ends and Grossman's terrible check downs and I think you are likely to see Grossman's worst playoff performance by far.

The Colts aren't a Belicheck defense, but they're not starting any loan officers past or future in their secondary, either.

176
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 3:44pm

I'll also say again that a halftime seven point lead will be even more determinative/predictive than is the norm in a Super Bowl. I'd say the Bears have about a 5% chance of overcoming such a deficit, and the Colts about a 10% chance.

177
by James C (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 3:51pm

I read on an article on the PFW website that states that the Colts resurgent run defense is partly due to them using a lot of cover three and and cover one defense in the playoffs to allow Sanders to stay closer to the line. It would also have made it easier to double Gonzalez, Heap and Watson, especially since none of those teams have a particularly quick wideout to cause too much havoc outside. Has anyone reviewed the game film enough to let me know if this is true? All I have to work with is what one reporter has written.

178
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 5:31pm

173: Yea, the Colts have little chance of coming back from a large deficit against a team with a good defense. Oh, wait.

179
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 5:41pm

#175, yeah, the first mistake is thinking that the Bears' defense is similar to the Pats', beyond them both being in the upper quadrant statistically.

180
by Goathead (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 7:03pm

173: Think about those odds you wrote down. I'd take 20:1 odds on the bears down 7 at the half in a heartbeat. If the Bears are within 7 that probably means evil Rex stayed home. 10:1 on the colts? You betcha.

181
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 7:16pm

I dunno, Goathead. There is nothing about 10-3, 7-0, or 13-6 that tells me definitively that Grossman has been non-hideous, and if the Colt score 17 or more in the first half, it likely means that the Bears are going to get taken out of their running game in the 2nd half, which would tend to really expose Grossman even more.

182
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 7:48pm

The Bears can certainly win, and the formula for doing so is about the same as it was for beating the Saints

I didn't know the Bears intentionally made it start to snow and sleet causing NO to fumble every other play? They're amazing! Bears in a landslide!

183
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 8:17pm

Wanker, I did note that game site was a huge difference, and it has been far from definitively shown that conditions caused New Orleans fumbles, or allowed the Bears to go on long touchdown drives without having been made to throw a pass.

184
by dbt (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 8:17pm

I don't think the Bears defense is going to give up a lead against this team, as good as they are.

185
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 8:20pm

Well, I don't think the Bears have a historically great defense, although it certainly is much better overall than the Colts', which is what gives the Bears the chance to win.

186
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 9:14pm

178: And if it's 17-10, you wouldn't take 20:1 on the Bears to win?

I think the percentages are a lot higher, but I completely agree that momentum will be of enormous importance given the talent distributions in this game. In particular the Bears will have a very hard time if they go down more than a touchdown (not 5%, but still).

187
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 9:24pm

In a regular season game? Sure. My impression, however, which certainly may be inaccurate, is that imbalances in the Super Bowl tend to get magnified more than what is normally the case even in other playoff games, which changes things.

188
by thad (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 10:24pm

Well think about it
How many teams have come back from 7 down at the half?
3? 4?
I am at the wizards game so I can't check
Damn those frisbee catching dogs are amazing!!!

189
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 10:28pm

To be fair, the sample size of Super Bowl games is pretty damned small, so one shouldn't go too far in using them as evidence.

190
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 10:51pm

I became curious, and looked it up. Only once has a team been down by seven or more at the half and gone on to hoist the trophy; when the Redskins trailed the Dolphins by exactly seven, and came back to win in the 2nd half. The number of times there has been a seven point or more spread at the half is even smaller than the number of total Super Bowls, of course, so that stat should be taken with a large grain of salt, but I do think a seven point or more halftime deficit is extremely unlikely to be overcome in the 2nd half, no matter by which team. I'd give the better chance to the Colts, of course, given they have a qb who can function better when behind, and when running isn't viable.

191
by Tony (not verified) :: Tue, 01/30/2007 - 11:26pm

Apologies if you guys have seen this already, but if not I think it's worth a look; it involves statistical predictors of this years SB:

http://www.harvardavenue.net/

Thoughts?

192
by KeithC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 1:57am

172:

If Indy feels the need to stop the big play, the Bears will just pound with Benson and Jones, like they did against the Saints.

And Rex can throw the 'medium' ball. He actually throws a pretty nice ball ten-fifteen yards down the field. Obviously the short passing game for him needs a lot of work, but I don't see why he won't be his 'average' self that he's been both games in the playoffs so far.

193
by KeithC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 2:02am

179: You know what, you're 100% right. It's not like the Bears defense led the NFL in takeaways or anything like that. It was all the snow and the Saints' fault for the TOs -- don't give ANY credit whatsoever to the Bears D.

194
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 2:22am

190: You know what, you’re 100% right. Let’s not give the Bears defense only some of the credit. The snow and the Saints had nothing to do with the TOs — cause we have to give ALL or NO credit whatsoever to the Bears D.

195
by Chad (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 6:28am

Colts by 3 (Vinateri).

196
by Goathead (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 10:33am

Will: Honestly, I think your percentages are way too small, but I'm not basing that on any data. Having said that, I'm still not convinced that the superbowl is all that different from other games pitting 2 very good teams against each other.

If I was to guess I'd say the Colts have about a 1/3 shot down 7 at the half, and the Bears maybe 1/5.

And, if evil Rex shows on Sunday, I'd say we'll see the Bears down a whole lot at the half - the Colts are REALLY good at making teams pay for leaving their D on the field too long.

197
by Goathead (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 10:39am

188: Interesting, but a couple of comments:

1) The Colts D has been much better in the playoffs. If their Run Defense performs like it did in the regular season (as would dominate this analysis) then the Bears should be favored.

2) Sounds great but there have been a lot of SBs with a clear favorite - and in most cases that team wins (exceptions - Denver's 1st, NE's 1st). If the analysis predicted those I'd be impressed, if those are the ones it got wrong I'm less impressed.

198
by Eddo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 12:18pm

This isn't really a reply to any specific post in this thread, but it seemed like the best place to say this...
Is it just me, or is incredibly lazy sportswriting to say that the Super Bowl will come down to how well Grossman plays? Everyone said it against the Seahawks, and what happened? Rex had a very average game and the Bears won because their defense finally started stopping Seattle when it mattered most. Everyone said the same thing against the Saints, and what happened? Rex had another very average game, and the other phases of the game (rushing offense, special teams, defense) decided the game.
Now I'm not saying that Rex's play is a non-factor, but for guys like Peter King (in his Tuesday edition of MMQB) to say that the Bears' hopes rest on Grossman seems to be lazy writing.
End of rant...

199
by Mark R (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 2:13pm

When was the last time a Super Bowl coach got to sit it the stands and watch the opposing team play a game? That might give Lovie and the Bears a slight edge.

200
by MCS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 2:20pm

Mark-

IMHO, the coaches get more from the official game film than they could ever get sitting in the stands.

Can you think of any specific information available to the people in the stands that isn't available, in greater detail, from the game film?

201
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:00pm

Re: 195

I think the key thing you're overlooking is that Grossman played average in both of those games. The fact that he was average instead of throwing 9 INT's is every bit as valid a reason for them winning as their defense and special teams.

202
by Not saying (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:03pm

165 I was talking about the team as a whole, not just the defense.

That's surprising to me, since you were responding to a post about injuries on the defense. That's what I was talking about.

On a completely unrelated note, for those of you who were upset about Brady doing the coin toss last year, you might be interested to know that Marino will be doing it this year.

203
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:05pm

In a completely unsupported WAG I think the critical "mass" for the Bears is 20 points. As in keeping the Colts to 20 points or less. That is four drives for the Colts resulting in points. Of course, a team can get to 20 in different ways but thinking in "normal" game terms of two TDs and two FGs.

To win the Bears obviously need a minimum of 21. One from the offense, one set up by special teams, and one set up by the defense.

And examining DVOA and individual matchups I think it's plausible (to me and my little brain).

And on a completely unrelated note, folks are repeating the mantra that if Grossman plays poorly then the Bears have no shot. Well, what about Indy? At least Grossman is surrounded by capable units in every phase of the game (receivers, running backs, offensive line, defense, special teams). If Manning is off his feed the Colts are in serious trouble. 'Cause this ain't the Chiefs.

Just sayin'.....

204
by MCS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:06pm

Late to the discussion.

I find 7 comeback victories in the history of the SB. Three of them had a deficit of 7 points:

V. Balt trailed Dalles 13-6 at the half (win 16-13)

XVII. Wash trailed Miami 17-10 (win 27-17)

XXVIII. Dal trailed Buff 13-6 (win 30-13)

The sample size is rather small.

More irrelavent data:
17.5% (7/40) SB victors came back from halftime deficit
7.5% (3/40) SB victors came back from 7 pt. halftime deficit
0% SB victors trailed by more than 7 at the half
55% (22/40) SB victors led by 7 or more at the half.
35% (14/40)SB victors led by less than 7 at the half. Two were ties.

Does it mean anything? Hard tellin'

205
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:14pm

What gets neglected, and where the Bears are getting a phenomenal break, is that this is the third straight playoff game for the Bears in which they will be facing a below-average defense. I'd be shocked if this has happened more than one other time since the merger. Grossman's chances of playing adequately against a below-average defense are much, much, better, and yes, the Colts' defense has been on the upswing, but that is equally as good an argument for a reversion to mean.

206
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:22pm

Will:

Dude, gotta admit, writing nice things about the Bears is killing me. Just KILLING me.

Figured if anyone would understand it would be a your team plays in a dirigible hangar, Barney color lovin', your family bathes in lutefisk Minnesota freak.

207
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:24pm

Thanks for the correction, MCS; I dunno how I read two of those boxscores wrong. It is interesting, although perhaps not significant, that 7 point comebacks are the largest.

208
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:34pm

Badger, I really do normally pull for the NFC North teams in the playoffs, except when they play the Vikings, but I can't do it this year, mostly because I'm really pulling for Dungy, but also because Grossman rubs me the wrong way, especially after he said News Year's Eve may have interfered with his preparation for the Packers. Having said that, anybody who gives 7 points and takes the Colts is flat-out freakin' nuts. I don't care about the quarterbacks, you just do not give seven points while taking a squad with an inferior defense, inferior special teams, and a less physical, and possibly also inferior, offensive line. The Bears are the smart bet (ack).

209
by Goathead (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:43pm

Anyone read Dr. Z's breakdown? Bugs me that he refers to the Colts' "hurry up" - yes they love the no huddle, but they rarely have quick snaps.

But, what surprises me the most is that he (and seemingly everyone else) is looking at the breakdown, and noting that the Bears are an overall better team when evaluating all of the starters - then picking the Colts by more than 7. I'm starting to think the Bears may ACTUALLY be getting disrespected :-)

210
by Mark R (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:46pm

MCS-
As a Bears fan, I'll look for every advantage possible.
I've got no evidence for this, but I'd say that a coach in the stands could pick up things that even a well-informed fan wouldn't notice. Especially when combined with the luxury of coming back later and correlating any observations with game film and scouting reports.

211
by MCS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 4:23pm

Will (205) - That sums up my approach to the playoffs. Usually root for your own division. I just don't like Grossman.

All the talk about Peyton's shot. Is this Urlacher's only shot?

212
by James C (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 4:24pm

#207

When Tom Moore picks his nose and flicks it - that means run. When he eats it - that means pass.

Quick put it in the game plan.

213
by MCS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 4:28pm

You may have a point, Mark. I truly don't know.

(Sorry for the double post, two topics.)

214
by Mark R (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 4:44pm

#208
Tom Moore, or Anthony McFarland?

(I know, he's a defensive lineman...but I couldn't resist it.)

215
by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 5:06pm

#206: What gets me about all these "who has the better whatever" articles is that they totally disregard matchups. Tank Johnson is a better DT than Raheem Brock? So what? Last I checked, they're never on the field at the same time. The question is whether Tank Johnson is a better DT that Ryan Lilja is an OG, and whether Raheem Brock is a better DT than Ruben Brown is an OG.

216
by Goathead (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 6:07pm

DGL: True, but I suppose its easier to go through a player by player comparison by position. If Team A has a better DT, and Team B has a better OG, it'll be a wash. If Team A has both a better DT and a better OG, advantage team A.

What bugs me is that people are going through this to generate word count, but then saying "but in the end I'll make my pick based only on the QB's". OK, if you REALLY think Grossman is that bad, write a really short story: Rex sux so I'm pickin the colts.

217
by John P (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 6:42pm

Peyton Manning is playing like crap. He has one good half of play in the entire playoffs. His QB rating is worse than Grossman's. Manning is throwing 2 picks a game. People are getting carried away by what they expect to see, instead of seeing what is happening. Colts finally make the Super Bowl, so Manning most be a great QB. Umm, no. Teams have been successful at taking away his WRs, so what little success he has had is to his TE. However, the Bears stop opponent TEs like nobody's business, so Peyton will be stymied. The writer's will instantly stop writing about Peyton finally making it, to how he is still the greatest choke artist of all time.

218
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 6:51pm

Re: Will Allen & Badger

It always surprises me when people root for their division rivals. I'll root for all 29 teams other teams above any division rival.

219
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 6:52pm

No Hochuli!

I found an article which lists the refs for the Super Bowl and the referee will be Tony Corrente officiating his first Super Bowl. I'm pretty sure the Hochster didn't ref a game in the playoffs. Since I know he had to have a high grade, he must have prior commitments - like shaping the guns and finding shirts big enough to contain his pythons. Jeff Triplette is the backup ref.

220
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 6:58pm

[Manning's] QB rating is worse than Grossman’s.

KC/Balt/NE -or- Sea/NO
#20/#1/#7 -or- #23/#22 (Pass DVOA)

Gee, I can't possibly see why Manning's QB rating might be lower than Grossman's. The only reasonable conclusion is that Manning has been playing like crap.

221
by JohnB (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 7:29pm

I think that the idea that Rex throws a good long ball and struggles with short and intermediate passes is a myth. The long ball is used to set up the run and if it happens to connect so much the better. Against the Saints the touchdown drive that put the Bears up 25 to 14 was all Rex except two Jones runs. Of course there was the TD to Berrian but the other passes were: 15 yards to Berrian; 20 yards to Moose; 12 yards to Berrian and then the TD.
Lazy journalism was mentioned above and I think this is another example. If the Colts want to stack the line and take away the deep ball I think you'll see Rex checking down all game long.

222
by Will Allen@cs.com (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 7:47pm

JohnB, Grossman struggles when he is subjected to any adversity whatsoever, which is why he tends to be o.k. to good against below average defenses, and tends to absolutely stink against good defenses. He is quite often mechanically unsound, and becomes mechanically terrible against good defenses which can get him out of his comfort zone. I don't have much idea as to what Colts defense will show up, so I don't know what to expect from Grossman.

223
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 7:51pm

212 THANK YOU! I was looking for where to post a comment to Dr Z about that very issue. But wasted to much time doing it and gavce up.

214, You haven't watched the Colt games, have you? VS KC Manning hit 80% of his throws and had 2 bad ones (boy were they bad). Against Balt, his rating, FWIW, was probably better than the average rating against them. And his job is not only throwing--he calls the plays at the line. If they run 11 times successfully, that's him putting them into a position to do that, not just the OL and RB executing. Do you think Addai's last three runs vs NE were not assisted by the fact that Manning was the QB and the D played to hedge against the pass a bit?

Wanker79, nice point.

224
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 7:53pm

Will Allen,
What's up with the full email address? Credit Suisse? I had you pegged as an attorney.....

225
by dbt (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 8:27pm

Rex throws three or four good passes: quick slant, skinny post, and sideline out. Occasionally the middle screen, especially to Cedric Benson who everybody expects to run or be a decoy.

I fear every time he throws a quick out or a dumpoff in the flat, especially when he is staring down receivers, it's an invitation for a pick 6. Other than the slant--which is based on the line creating an obvious passing lane--these are all passes that give him time to read the defense and get some elevation to get it over the d-linemen.

226
by dbt (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 8:34pm

Ugh, Dr. Z rips Gould for never trying a 50+ yarder:

link

4-10-MIN34 (12:26) R.Gould 52 yard field goal is GOOD, NULLIFIED by Penalty, Center-P.Mannelly, Holder-B.Maynard. PENALTY on CHI-R.Garza, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at MIN 34 - No Play.

Granted, it doesn't count in the official stats, but that's not his fault, now is it? He's perfectly capable of hitting longer field goals.

227
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 8:46pm

Not to pile on, but here are some splits from ESPN.com's stats bank for Rex:

QB rating
Sept 101
Oct 81
Nov 57
Dec 64

on grass 73
on turf 75

vs AFC 55
vs NFC 81

behind LOS 50
1-10 yds 78
11-20 yds 78
21-30 94
31-40 87
40+ YDS 77

It seems to support the claims of better on the long ball (20-40 yards) than the short and med balls. Not looking great in terms of month to month trends (sheesh! And somebody here had the nerve to call Manning "Mr. October" a month ago), or AFC/grass performance.

You know where his rating is really high? In the red zone. According to this data, he has taken only 4 shotgun snaps all year? How is this possible? Against the blitz he does about his average, with a 77 rating.

228
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 8:57pm

I musta' accidentally pasted that somehow, and it even isn't my e-mail address. Weird. Nope, I'm not an attorney, just an entrepreneur, making his lonely way in this cold, hard, world.

229
by KeithC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 10:41pm

Bobman (224) --

The Bears -- or Ron Turner, I should say -- refuse to run snaps out of the shotgun. It's one of the main things about Turner's offense that frustrates the hell out of me. You have a short, immobile QB in Grossman, all signs would point to a heavy shotgun offense, or at least five-ten SG snaps per game. I honestly don't get it...

230
by JohnB (not verified) :: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 11:00pm

Grossman is still a work in progress. Being a Bears fan I want to think he's learned his lesson about forcing balls -- his only interception in the playoffs was a pass that bounced off Moose into the hands of the Seattle loan officer.
Anyway, I guess we'll see Sunday. BTW, the Sporting News has a pretty good write up explaining why Indy's defence is better than you think (unless you're a Colts fan).

231
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 12:05am

I don't think forcing balls is his major fault. I think his mechanics go completely to crap the moment he gets a whiff of pressure, and that causes most of his problems. This is definitely something that a qb can improve at, but usually only in the off-season.

232
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 1:06am

Not many QBs learn about forcing balls--in fact, the better they are and more success they have, I suspect the bigger their blinders are when the game is on their shoulders (or when they perceive it to be). Peyton Manning was good example of this for five solid seasons. Favre still sometimes. Hasselbeck I think has this too. I don't think Brady had this problem much, if at all. If Grossman has really outgrown it, I'd say he's an exception.

233
by Josh (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 1:17am

Some quick analysis on Corrente, the Super Bowl ref:
Tied for first for most penalties, but around middle of the pack in total penalty yards - had the most penalties declined;
Near bottom of facemask penalty calls, only four, all of 15 yard variety;
Second most false starts called;
Around middle of pack in holding, offsides, personal foul and pass interference calls; and
Tied for third with four others in roughing the passer calls.

Very disappointed we had no Hochuli in the playoffs

234
by Tal (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 7:29am

Manning will do well and he'll throw for a lot of yards and maybe a couple of TD's. The Bears will limit his scoring, nonetheless, so the big matchup of the game really is the Bears offense against Colts D.

But I still don't get it: why will the game's result fall down to Rex's performance? The Colts are a good passing D, but their running defense is terrible... do you really think Ron Turner will try to win this game via Rex?

Oh, and the Colts run defense hasn't become better in the playoffs, by the way. Here are the rushing numbers by Colts rivals in their three games:

Chiefs - 16 for 47 yds / 2.94 yds per att
Ravens - 19 for 77 yds / 4.05 yds per att
Pats - 22 for 92 yds - 4.18 yds per att

KC did nothing right that day, but the Ravens and the Pats were running the ball pretty efficiently. In fact, in the first half of the Ravens game, Baltimore ran 13 times for 66 yards (5.08 rush yds per att). So did the Pats, running 15 times for 84 yards (5.6 rush yds per att). The Colts STILL can’t stop the run, as you can see here.

So what went wrong? In both games, opposing offensive coordinators panicked in the 2nd half. Though the Ravens were never down by more than 9, Billick went pass wacky and the Ravens only ran the ball 6 times. The Pats seem to have been overcome by Manning’s comeback and also abandoned the run, rushing only 5 times.

How did the Colts respond to this? They ran the ball, respectively, 39, 32, and 28 times against the Chiefs, Ravens, and Pats. Down 21-6 in the Pats game, instead of abandoning the run, they rode along it and kept the opposing defense guessing while wearing it out. From the moment the 2nd half began, the Colts passed the ball 10 times and ran it 11 to tie the score 21-21. When down 28-21, they passed the ball 3 times, and ran it 4 for the TD. This is very important for the defense: it keeps it fresh. Add to it that Indy’s D has been able to only focus on defending the pass on 2nd halfs and, suddenly, it looks like Indianapolis is able to stop the run.

It can’t, and the Bears are about to prove it. They’ll rush about 40 times in the Super Bowl. Unless Lovie and Ron Turner also panick, of course…

235
by James C (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 10:24am

I wouldn't say Grossman's biggest problem was forcing the ball. His biggest problem is the inexplicable throw straight at a linebacker who he never saw, or a safety cheating up from deep coverage (read Sharper, Collins twice). When he makes the correct pre-snap read and the defense doesn't do something he isn't expecting he tends to make the correct call. If that happens then he should be OK as he is accurate and has a good enough arm with a very fast release. If the Colts want to try to pry Evil Rex out of his box they need to avoid playing him too vanilla, I will be interested to see whether they break their own trends and blitz a bit more and mix up their coverages. If I were Ron Meeks I would.

236
by James C (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 10:53am

#226, KeithC

Ron Turner uses the West Coast offense theory that a QB's footwork should help him to make the reads and the throws on the play. That is for any given play the drop and pocket movement should be timed alongside the routes that the receivers are running. The quarterback watches the safeties first and the defense second on his drop from center with the ball already in his hands. His first progression is at the end of his drop, and then depending upon how the defense is playing he has pre-programmed footwork to help him get the throw out. If you subscribe to this system then there isn't a halfway house for it, you either do it for all plays or not. If you start introducing the shotgun snap the QB is doing something completely different with his feet and it reduces the consitency of the drop. The QB is also looking at the ball when in theory you should be looking at the defense. Bill Walsh used to go absolutley spare when he saw shotgun snaps (it was the final straw for Marriucci in SF) and you could go back and watch every game Montana played in and you would never see him take one snap from the shotgun and he wasn't too tall. One of the things that winds me up about Grossman is that his footwork can get really lazy. He needs to get away from center a lot faster and his footwork as a whole could do with being a whole lot crisper. All the gut blitzing that has been bothering him all year would have meen much less of a problem if he would just get his drop faster.

237
by JohnB (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 11:32am

232
I'm hoping Grossman get's the full Rusty Jone's treatment in the off-season. After two years of major leg injuries I'm assuming his muscles aren't recovered to the point that they need to be. He'll never be mistaken for a scrambler, but he was much, much more elusive as a rookie and 2nd year starter.

238
by KeithC (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:15pm

232: I appreciate the explanation, and certainly agree about Grossman's footwork needing 'work'. Like 233 says, I also hope that he'll be fully over his injuries for this whole offseason and perhaps improve upon his quickness. I'm not asking for Mike Vick speed, just a little bit more quickness in, say, stepping up in the pocket to deliver a pass.

239
by Josh (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 2:24pm

A little analysis of Tony Corrente, Super Bowl ref:
Tied for first for most penalties, but around middle of the pack in total penalty yards - had the most penalties declined;
Near bottom of facemask penalty calls, only four, all of 15 yard variety; Second most false starts called;
Around middle of pack in holding, offsides, personal foul and pass interference calls; and
Tied for third with four others in roughing the passer calls.
Also had very few challenges and low reversal rate.
Had some memorable bad roughing the passer calls this season, including one against Urlacher on Dec 3 vs. Vikings.
Very disappointed we had no Hochuli in the playoffs.
Corrente was the ref in the Chargers Pats game, which is strange because I thought refs only do one playoff game.

240
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 3:09pm

More FO content on Fox, just not linked at this site. Good Aaron piece linked at my name instead.

Weird....

232, Thanks for a great explanation.

230... Tal, Not sure how or why two SB winning coaches would panic and suddenly get dumb, especially since "everyone in the world" saw what Herm did and predicted that the next game would be different. Just like you're doing.

If Chi can run the ball 40 times, I expect them to win. But I've heard that prediction for the past month and it hasn't come true yet.

241
by dbt (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 4:15pm

Grossman's biggest problem is when he throws a ball up for grabs for no good reason. He hasn't had one of those picked in the playoffs yet but not for lack of trying. He threw one what-the-hell pass against Seattle to a receiver who had already broken off his route but the safety couldn't get over to pick it at the Seattle goal line in time.

The one touchdown to Berrian against the Saints was a classic WTF, let's see what happens throw. An even slightly decent play by the cornerback and that's an interception.

242
by Me (not verified) :: Thu, 02/01/2007 - 9:23pm

Dude, as a Bears fan, very worried, but still know we can take it.

Exactly as someone waaay up there said, Peyton will get his yards, its about limiting his scoring.

Bears O vs. Colts D a big battle in this one. Ron Turner needs to get his head out of his ass and call a NFC CHampionship like game. Run that ball Ron!

243
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 02/02/2007 - 12:43pm

Re 230

You do realize that they gave up 5.3 yards a carry during the season, right? How is 2.94, 4.05 and 4.18 not an improvement? Counting only the first half would make more sense if the games were huge blowouts, but they weren't.

Also, the Patriots rushing total in the first half might be more accurately described as 14 carries for 49 yards (3.5 ypc), plus 1 carry for 35 yards. That paints a somewhat different picture, more like "mostly effective, but with one big lapse".

I would also suggest that it could be something the Colts are doing that's making these coaches abandon the run in the second half. Maybe it's a certain look they're showing, or whatever. Belichick and Billick do know a thing or two about football. I doubt they would suddenly forget about running the ball, especially against the Colts.

244
by Tony (not verified) :: Sun, 02/04/2007 - 2:56pm

Weather forecasts call for strong wind and sporadic showers in Miami. Advantage: Bears.

245
by BearManBronco (not verified) :: Sun, 02/04/2007 - 3:18pm

My qualitative comment is that the Bears defense isn't very good. Obviously everyone has mentioned the fact that they cut their teeth on the week NFC, and the weaker NFC North.

I hope I'm wrong.

After watching the Broncos defense for the first half of the season (Bear fan living in Denver), I had the same feeling about the Broncos. Statistically, they were performing, but there was a weakness that was there to be exploited.

Coincidentally, I think it Peyton Manning who first exploited the Broncos defense. The Broncos never had a pash rush, and Manning picked them apart all day--including the game-winning drive with 2 minutes left. I worry that the Bears will succumb to the same fate, given their pass rush and D-backs that probably aren't even the equal of the Broncos.

I don't see the "Dallas Clark scenario" playing out. I think the Colts should be fine with the "Harrison/Wayne scenario."

The Bears, however, will need a big game from Desmond Clark if they are going to be competitive. Let's hope that Ron Turner has more than a few play action -- fake the deep ball -- throw it to D. Clark 15 yards down the seam. In my mind, that type of play is going to be what wins the game for the Bears. It sets up both the running game and the deep ball to Berrian.

That is all. GO BEARS.

246
by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/04/2007 - 7:16pm

206,

The comparisons of the Colts and their opponents is always this way. Against NE, I saw the matchups like this -- Pats better at DL, LB, Sec, special teams, coaching, off. line, TEs, and RBs. Colts better at QB and WR. After watching the game, that's still the way I see the talent breakdown.

Today, Bears better at DL, LBs, Sec, special teams, off. line, and maybe RB. TE is a wash (and if you think of Dallas Clark as slot WR, Bears). Colts better at QB and WR. Coaching is probably a wash.

It's this way every time the Colts play a contender. They are worse on defense, special teams and the O-line every time. They are better at WR and QB every time. RB and TE can vary.

The key for the Colts is always the same -- can they hold up in pass pro without having to go max protect? If they can, they win. If they can't, they usually lose. [They couldn't vs. Ravens and it was a struggle.]

That is it, as simple as anyone can make it. If the Colts can protect with reasonable success with their basic protection schemes, they win. Even if the defense gets torched.

247
by jebmak (not verified) :: Sun, 02/04/2007 - 7:56pm

Okay, all I have to say about this Super Bowl pre-game is that more entertaining stuff came out of my ass this morning.

248
by Paul (not verified) :: Sun, 02/04/2007 - 8:01pm

Is it too late to sneak Champ Bailey into Tillman's uni? It is? OK, then i'm out of ideas...tried as hard as I could, can't see the Bears winning

249
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 12:30am

Those short-yardage problems are borne out in the statistics. The Football Outsiders offensive line stats show that when the Colts had a yard or two to go on third or fourth down, they converted just 60 percent of the time, ranking 22nd in the league. And 22nd is actually the best the Colts have ranked in the last five years.

hey MDS
way to not give us a sample size
Colts 3-4 in the last game.
Really meaningful
Really advanced
Pretty powerful metric

250
by jebmak (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 12:47am

The thing that I like about #245 is that he waited until after the Colts won to post.

I am just glad that we don't have to deal with any more idiots saying that Manning "can't win the big one". Guess talking heads will have to come up with somthing new to be stupid about.

251
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 1:41am

246
I think he was being sarcastic. I hope...

252
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 3:00am

Course I wasn't being sarcastic
That article by MDS sucked
No context
No idea how many plays it affected
No impact on the game