With all the expanded media coverage the last two weeks, it was easy to forget that there was a football game to prepare for today. The Chicago Bears began their serious preparation for Super Bowl XLI. The Bears were in pads, helmets and shorts today and reports said that practice went very well. Ron Turner, the Bears offensive coordinator stated that the Bears offense worked on their first and second down play packages today, which is the Bears routine for Wednesday throughout the season.
According to Rich Eisen from the NFL Network, reports have it that the Bears looked relaxed, yet ready to go, ready to play this game. I agree, as the Bears seem to be using the “Play Angry” motto plus the underdog role to forge an us against the world bond. I feel good that this plays into the Bears hands perfectly. I am excited to see the Bears come out and prove to the world not only do they belong in the Super Bowl, but they can compete and are more than capable of winning this game.
The more time I spend breaking down the analysis, the picks by the experts, the comments, the more the keys to this game become simpler and simpler. Right now, Super Bowl XLI comes down the Peyton Manning vs. The Bears. It will obviously be more than that, but from the media perspective and slant, it is all about the X-Factor and aura of Peyton Manning vs. the underdog, bonding closer and tighter as every day goes by Chicago Bears football team. The Bears have no Peyton Mannings on their roster. Brian Urlacher is as close as it gets and he’s a middle linebacker.
As each day goes by, the Bears sit and stew, are asked the same questions about being second fiddle to the Colts, listen to how it’s finally Peyton Manning’s year, how it is his time and that he is the chosen one. Peyton Manning, the friendly, likable guy in the boy next door commercials, it’s his coronation, his time to rise and beat the demons that have held him back. All about how the Bears are the better team defensively, special teams and are quite competent offensively, but yet have no chance to win because of the ‘Peyton Manning effect”. I think the pressure is squarely on the broad shoulders of Peyton Manning and the Bears will enter Dolphin Stadium on Sunday night loose, but quietly motivated, letting all the perceived disrespect stew into their performance on the field of play. Many a statement has been made that the QB position is where half the Super Bowl MVP’s come from and that this is Peyton Manning’s right to claim, his coronation. Lets see what the experts say on Monday morning….
Back to the “expert” picks. Clearly in the experts eyes, the Bears are underdogs in every way possible for this game. The most hardened and experienced of analysts just can’t bring themselves to pick the Bears. You name it, you will be hard pressed to find an analyst worth his salt picking the Bears to beat the Colts. This is what I’ve seen so far this week:
Gil Brandt – NFL.com Analyst - Colts 27, Bears 17.
Dr. Z – CNNSI.com – Colts 34, Bears 24
Experts at CBS Sportsline - 4 of 6 pick the Colts to win the Super Bowl
Vinnie Iyer – SportingNews.com – Colts 34, Bears 24
ESPN Scouts Inc. Pick – Colts 28, Bears 24
ESPN Analyst Mark Schlereth’s pick – Colts (no score)
ESPN Analyst Chris Mortensen’s pick - Colts by 4 points
ESPN Around the Horn’s Woody Paige – Colts (“here’s no way in hell or Miami that Chicago can beat Indianapolis.”)
NFL Network Picks from today:
- Rich Eisen – shocking that the Bears are as big an underdog, Bears looked relaxed and appear to be a team ready to play this game, no pick.
- Terrell Davis – everybody is picking the Colts, so the pressure is on the Colts, Bears getting extra motivation from being underdog, no pick.
- Trent Dilfer – Bears look ready to work, no pick.
- Steve Mariucci – Bears have the best team, but picking the Colts because of one player, Peyton Manning
- Drew Brees, NO – Colts
- Carson Palmer, CIN – Colts
- Sean Payton, coach, NO – Colts
- Hines Ward, PIT – Bears
- Matt Hasselbeck, SEA – no pick
- Holly Robinson Peete – Colts
- Zach Thomas, MIA – Bears
- Roy Williams, DAL – Bears
- Brian Baldinger, analyst – Bears
- Donovan McNabb, PHI – Bears (and he’s a Cubs fan too!)
Other expert picks:
- Jimmy Johnson, Fox NFL Analyst on WSCR Chicago Sports Radio – Colts
- Boomer Esiason, NFL.com Analyst on WSCR Chicago Sports Radio – Colts
- Emmitt Smith on WSCR Chicago Sports Radio – Colts
- Al Harris, Packer’s CB on WSCR Chicago Sports Radio – Colts
- Chad Johnson, CIN WR on WSCR Chicago Sports Radio – Colts
Bears can’t even get a break in video games. The Madden ’07 forecast from ESPN – Colts 38, Bears 27
No wonder Adawale Ogunleye looks like he is over the media sessions, interviews and all the Super Bowl fluff. If you were listening for two straight weeks about how much the Colts were better than you, i’m sure you would have the same expression on your face…..