Super Bowl XLI
Super Bowl XLI pitted the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts against the NFC champion Chicago Bears, ending Super Bowl droughts for both franchises. Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and his team, including quarterback Rex Grossman and linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher, aimed to carve their own spot in Chicago sports history by crawling out from beneath the shadow of the beloved 1985 Super Bowl Champion Bears, led by "Da Coach," Mike Ditka. Across the Illinois-Indiana state line, Colts head coach Tony Dungy and his quarterback, Peyton Manning, sought to do the most with the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance since winning Super Bowl V … during the team's stay in Baltimore. Regardless of the outcome, history was made at Super Bowl XLI: as both Dungy and Smith were African-American, it would mark the first time in NFL history that an African-American coach would lead a team to the Lombardi Trophy.
Super Bowl XLI was played on February 4, 2007, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, and became the first Super Bowl to take place in the rain. After winning the coin toss, Chicago got off to a quick start … the fastest in the game's history … as returner Devin Hester ran back the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. With Chicago up 7-0, Indianapolis narrowed the score to 7-6 after Reggie Wayne caught a 53-yard pass from Manning. The Colts refused to relinquish control of the game, taking a 16-14 lead into halftime. The second half was almost all Indy, as the Colts forced five turnovers, including cornerback Kelvin Hayden's 56-yard interception return for a touchdown. Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (who made history as the first kicker to play in five Super Bowls and the first to win four rings) made three field goals during the game, en route to a 29-18 Colts victory. Manning, who completed 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown, was named the game's MVP. Interestingly, the victory marked Manning's first Super Bowl title, despite being one of the NFL's most dominant quarterbacks. Dungy followed Tom Flores and Mike Ditka as one of only three men to claim a Super Bowl ring as both a player and a coach.