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Champion has a nice ring for Manning of the hour

February 05, 2007

All those taunts from Steve Spurrier, who used to say you can't spell the Citrus Bowl without UT, a swipe at Peyton Manning's inability to win the big game at the University of Tennessee.

All those images of Bill Belichick dancing around inside Manning's head after all those Patriots victories over the Colts, including two in the playoffs.

All those questions after last year's home playoff loss to the Steelers after a nearly flawless regular season.

Finally, Manning can claim the only item missing from his otherwise magnificent resume: champion.




A thrilling start belies a bad ending

They scored first. But it didn't last.

They gave Chicago a thrill. But by the end of the night, they hadn't given Indianapolis a good enough fight.

They had won the NFC's championship in the Chicago snow. But they ended up losing the NFL's here in the Sunshine State in a steady rain.

Super Bowl XLI began as wildly Sunday night as any of the previous XL ever played. As fast as an Indy 500, a gentleman by the name of Devin Hester revved up his engine and scored a 92-yard touchdown for the Bears in 14 seconds flat.

But that was pretty much that. From that point on it was a football game that everyone expected, Peyton Manning of the Colts proving to be a clearly superior quarterback to Rex Grossman of the Bears at this point in their careers.


Chicago Tribune


So cool, so poised and now so decorated

Tony Dungy probably didn't even get wet.

The first black coach to lead a team to a Super Bowl championship did it in a torrential downpour -- that figures -- and did it by imitating a stroll in the park on a clear spring day. Did it, in fact, by setting the tone for his team to remain just as placid and unruffled, where almost anybody else, any other team, would have been at least been flustered by the circumstances.

Dungy, tormented by close calls so often before, fired once because he wasn't considered fiery enough to win it all, suffering a personal loss (his son's suicide last season) greater than any in football, and lashed to a quarterback who similarly was considered incapable of carrying himself and a team to the summit -- Dungy and Peyton Manning are atop the football world today, by a 29-17 verdict, because they stayed so unshakably, unnervingly cool.

Didn't raise their voices, didn't raise their heart rates -- all Dungy, Manning and the Indianapolis Colts raised was the Lombardi Trophy.


Baltimore Sun


Manning finally seizes the moment

He walked off the field winner of the Big One at last and into applause beneath the Dolphin Stadium stands Sunday night. Camera lights flashed and a league publicity man came up to greet Peyton Manning, then pointed down the hall toward the interviews.

And on the night he won a Super Bowl, Peyton Manning walked behind a barricade through a tunnel. Stadium workers done for the night stopped in their steps and clapped. Some shouted his name. Manning smiled, but never stopped. Beside him were two Broward County Sheriff's Office escorts.

They kept pushing him forward, toward a door where a gantlet of soldiers stood. When the soldiers saw Manning on the night he finally won a Super Bowl they began to whoop and shout.

And maybe this is where the best quarterback on the brink of being defined by significant defeats realized just what he had done.


Washington Post


Bears get grounded by an unlikely source

This was your standard tropical depression, your garden-variety major disappointment. This was a dream interred, a hope smashed.

This was flat-out awful.

All that good karma and all those good vibes the Bears brought here for winter break dissolved in a steady rain Sunday.

If a team can be post-mortemed to death, the Bears surely will be, but it's really pretty simple. When the Colts decided to run the ball in the second half, they turned the Bears into throw rugs. And when the Bears needed Rex Grossman to bring them back, he couldn't. One was a surprise, the other wasn't.


Tampa Tribune

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