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Darrel Manson

Super Bowl XLI

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OK, sports fans, it's time to make your picks for the upcoming NFL season.

Going first with out anything too outlandish:

AFCW: Denver

AFCN: Pittsburgh

AFCS: Indianapolis

AFCE: New England

AFC wild cards: San Diego and Cincinatti

AFC championship game: Indy over Pittsburgh

NFCW: Seattle

NFCN: Chicago

NFCS: Carolina

NFCE: NY Giants

NFC wild cards: Arizona and Atlanta

NFC championship game: Da Bears over the Giants (but the weekend of the championship games will have lots of talk about brother QBs in th Superbowl. Not this year, though.)

XLI: Peyton gets a nice ring.

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SI says the Dolphins will win the AFC. I'm a Dolphins fan, and even I know that's crazy.

Dale

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OK, we're 12 games into the season. The division races seem to be all but wrapped up. The wild-card race is on.

In the AFC, we have 5 teams at 7-5 fighting for the two wild card berths.

In the NFC, we have 4 teams at 6-6 fighting for the two wild card berths.

As it stands now, I think Cincinatti and the New York Jets are picking up the two wild card births. Cincinatti is getting hot at the right time. Mangini has got the Jets going in the right direction and the have the easiest remaining schedule.

In the NFC, it is just a matter of who won't mess it up. Call it a hunch, but I think Carolina and the New York Giants are going to pull it out. Based off the way they're playing, I have no justification for this.

Overall, it looks like whoever comes out of the AFC will win the Super Bowl, but in one game anything can happen. Plus, a superior conference doesn't necessarily mean a title. I think the past NBA and MLB seasons are proof of that.

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My playoff picks weren't too bad. I picked one correctly in both the NFC and AFC. I didn't see the Eagles surge or the Cowboys faltering but who did?

Current Super Bowl Pick: Baltimore vs. Chicago

Chicago wins 10-7 in the first Super Bowl ever with no offensive touchdowns.

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[a little ranting here]

Since New England beat San Diego on Sunday, I've read multiple pieces about how the Chargers gave the game away, how NE capitalized on SD mistakes...basically how the Chargers out-played the Pats but still managed to lose the game. Am I the only one who find this talk ridiculous? The Chargers looked to me like a good team with a good running back. The Pats looked to me like a pretty good team with a lot of determination and experience. No huge differences, just a decent game of football, rather similar to a lot of playoff games over the years.

It is true that the numbers are tilted in favour of SD, but really, what do the numbers mean anyway?

Also, I was really disappointed with LT's behaviour after the game. Not because other guys haven't acted similarly or worse, but because I've come to expect more from him. And then there was the fawning AP article which informs us how "[e]ven Tomlinson's big game couldn't save mistake-prone Chargers". Look, there were a number of mistakes on both sides, but in the end, the Pats won because they were the smarter, stronger, better team. Or did I watch a different game?

I say this despite a long-time dislike for the Patriots. Go Colts. :)

[\rant]

Edited by Jeff Kolb

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At this point, I'd like to see a Chicago (Da Bears!) vs. Indianapolis game.

With my luck, it will end up being New Orleans vs. New England.

Since New England beat San Diego on Sunday, I've read multiple pieces about how the Chargers gave the game away, how NE capitalized on SD mistakes...basically how the Chargers out-played the Pats but still managed to lose the game. Am I the only one who find this talk ridiculous?

I didn't see much of that game. If anything, the Seahawks out-played the Bears but still lost.

Edited by Clint M

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I watched most of the SD/NE game and I must say it was a weird game. SD just did dumb, dumb stuff. I don't know if you can say SD outplayed NE considering all the dumb stuff they did. I've never seen so many stupid penalties at the pro level. Fumbling on a fourth down interception was weird. SD just seemed to do alot of things that let NE keep in the game.

I was a bit bummed I didn't get to watch the Seattle/Chicago game. It started at 10 am on the west coast, meaning I'm at church. Maybe it was better that way, I'm a nervous wreck watching Seahawks games. Last week when Glenn of the Cowboys fumbled into his own end zone I started celebrating so loudly I caused my infant to cry madly. Last year I lost sleep for a week after the Super Bowl. I think the Chicago game might have been like that.

Since Baltimore lost I guess I have to revise my Super picks:

Chicago vs. Indianapolis.

I still think Chicago will win it all. There is something about that team that reeks of destiny.

Still, I'm rooting for New Oreleans. I'm not sure how anyone who doesn't have ties to any of the three other teams could not root for NO.

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I just want everyone here to know that I was in Chicago today, and that to everyone I saw I said the Bears were going to win by 24, and that even the Chicago fans laughed me off the planet. Well, boo hoo. They didn't win by 24. They won by 25. Who didn't know that no stinking southern team could win a game at Soldier Field? The Bears are now 15-3 this year, and a loss at Soldier Field is rare.

Tell the critics to shut their fat faces. I am sick of Rex Haters.

This is now the matchup I've been hoping for, and I've been watching Indy all year long. The Bears can beat this team. I've been saying it all year. Will they? That is harder to say. They prefer to play in the harsh elements, and they will be out of their element for SB41.

But I can't even handle it. I love Manning. He is awesome, and he proved it tonight. His whole offensive line can collapse on him and yet he can take on all 21 players on the field. I cannot wait for this game. I really want to see our Big D take him down.

Maybe then we'll have a few Urlacher commercials in place of all the Peyton ones.

-s.

Edited by stef

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Since Baltimore lost I guess I have to revise my Super picks:

Chicago vs. Indianapolis.

I still think Chicago will win it all. There is something about that team that reeks of destiny.

Oh yeah. ESPN needs to give me a job.

About Rex Grossman - I'm still not sold on him, but who cares I'm a Seattle guy. I'll leave that to Chicago people. I didn't get to see any of the game but the first touchdown pass he threw in the fourth quarter (to Brennan I think) was a total lame duck throw that could have just as easily be an INT, yet it was not. It was seeing throws like that that make me think Chicago is a team of destiny.

And yes, there was no way a southern dome team was going into Chicago and pulling out a win.

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And yes, there was no way a southern dome team was going into Chicago and pulling out a win.

The Fox guys kept quoting a stat that said dome teams were 0-10 in conf championship games. Was that only for times when they were the visiting team? Or are they now 1-10?

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And yes, there was no way a southern dome team was going into Chicago and pulling out a win.

The Fox guys kept quoting a stat that said dome teams were 0-10 in conf championship games. Was that only for times when they were the visiting team? Or are they now 1-10?

It must have been as the visiting team because the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl a few years back and they are a dome team. If my memory serves me, they had home field throughout the playoffs. There was much ado that year because they became the first dome team to win the Super Bowl. They also had the advantage of having the Super Bowl being played in a dome.

So I guess if the past repeats itself, the game being played in Miami should help Chicago.

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About Rex Grossman - I'm still not sold on him, but who cares I'm a Seattle guy. I'll leave that to Chicago people.

I think the main point is that for several years (well, maybe a hundred, but even more in recent years) we have complained that we have what we believe is the best D in the NFL. The thought is that if any good quarterback can come in AND STAY HEALTHY that we would win a Superbowl. That has come in the form of Rex Grossman, and all of us in Chicago, team included, have a huge chip on our shoulder at the national media, who pick those whom they wish to fawn over and then bash us. We've known for two or three years that we had a Superbowl team IF ONLY we had a healthy quarterback. We don't need a star, and the cool thing is, as classy as he is, I don't think Rex is even looking to be a star. He just loves the game, the competition, and finding himself in that.

The whole city has a huge chip on its shoulder, so remember that when you see the spread for how bad Indianapolis is going to beat us. I do think Indy is a great team, but the chip on our shoulders has grown so big now that I really do think it's unstoppable. And the great thing about this Bears team is that they have now proven they can dismantle the "Best Offense in the NFL," a statistic that I just think is weird when I hold New Orleans up to San Diego or Indianapolis or New England.

New England. Wow. I am so glad not to see Tom Brady's ugly mug again this year. Maybe that's another reason I seem to admire our SB opponent so much. They took Johnny GQ out of this thing. Gotta love it. (Although it would've been nice to break his spine in revenge for one of our three losses this year.)

-s.

Edited by stef

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This is so tough. My nephew-- the spawn of a born-and-bred Steeler fan and a born-and-bred Redskin fan who share white-hot Penn State fealty and live in the Indianapolis suburbs-- has the sort of Colts fever that you can really only have when you're eight. On the other hand, there's my man Stef.

This is making it tough to find a team to pull for. Still, though, don't listen to any of that seven-point favorite rubbish, Stef. In the last three months the baseball Cardinals beat the heavily-favored Tigers and Florida beat heavily-favored Ohio State. Nobody has any idea what's going to happen in the Super Bowl.

Still, was anybody put off other than me by Bob Irsay's "Give all glory to God" bit? I mean, I know it's nice to deflect the praise, but that's just a weird theological knot that I can't begin to untie without wondering why we're even going there.

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don't listen to any of that seven-point favorite rubbish, Stef.

I certainly do not. New Orleans was favored by three and we beat them by 25. If anything, we have enjoyed the chip and have blasted the critics every time they've made us into the underdog. I think the team actually revels in that position.

Oh my! My preseason picks got the superbowl teams right.

=D>

Congratulations! You certainly picked the right teams as far as I'm concerned, except that you got it wrong on who will get the ring.

-s.

Edited by stef

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As a Bears fan, I'm extremely happy to see a return to form.

But if we lose to the Colts, I won't be disappointed. I'd rather the Bears potentially lose the Super Bowl to the Colts than, oh, the Patriots, the Chargers, etc.

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If anything, we have enjoyed the chip and have blasted the critics every time they've made us into the underdog.

Well, inching past the Seahawks with a field goal in overtime is hardly "blasting the critics," especially since the Bears were largely favored to win that game, and several national sportscasters/writers agreed that Seattle played harder and better that day. '

But still, I'm always happy to see underdogs succeed.

And at this point I'm rooting for the Bears... especially since a Bears victory will increase my belief that the 'hawks remain a Super Bowl-caliber team, despite all of their injuries and setbacks this year.

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As a Bears fan, I'm extremely happy to see a return to form.

But if we lose to the Colts, I won't be disappointed. I'd rather the Bears potentially lose the Super Bowl to the Colts than, oh, the Patriots, the Chargers, etc.

Totally 100% agreed. But the worst SB loss for a Bears fan would be to the GB Pack.

If anything, we have enjoyed the chip and have blasted the critics every time they've made us into the underdog.

Well, inching past the Seahawks with a field goal in overtime is hardly "blasting the critics," especially since the Bears were largely favored to win that game, and several national sportscasters/writers agreed that Seattle played harder and better that day. '

But still, I'm always happy to see underdogs succeed.

And at this point I'm rooting for the Bears... especially since a Bears victory will increase my belief that the 'hawks remain a Super Bowl-caliber team, despite all of their injuries and setbacks this year.

Jeffrey, "inching past..." Holy moly, I don't know how the Seattle fans felt during that game, but here in Chicago we were completely gutted. That was one of the best football games I've ever seen. So intense! And yes -- we sweated it out and inched past.

But just so you know -- even though the Bears were favored (was it by 6?) any national TV guy that picked the Bears would always add a caveat: "In spite of the Rex Factor," or "in spite of the last six weeks' Defensive letdowns" (of which we won five games), or "in spite of the poor Offensive coaching." There will even be a caveat if we somehow do win against Peyton Manning, so I guess this chip will never go away.

-s.

Edited by stef

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Hmm. search doesn't show much about the Souper Bowl. Everybody taking an extra buck to church on Sunday?

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The betting line on the game as of 2/3:

Indianapolis -7

Money line varies from Indy -225, Chi +185; to Indy -250, chi. +210 (those are sizable odds)

Over/under is at 48

Edited by Darrel Manson

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The money line has adjusted just a shade this morning (probably in response to the rain) but still heavily toward Colts.

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Op-Ed piece in LA Times today on this SuperBowl as a battle of good and evil.

Quoting the article:

"But the Indianapolis Colts are not the Baltimore Colts. In 1983, in one of the most egregious scandals in the history of American sports, the Colts' vile owners fled Crabcake Corners under cover of darkness, loading up all the Johnny Unitas and Alan Ameche memorabilia in Mayflower moving vans and hauling it off to the banks of the Wabash, or thereabouts. Unlike the Cleveland Browns, who had the common courtesy to change both their name and uniforms when they relocated a few years later and became the Baltimore Ravens, the Colts refused to give up the name they had pilfered, even though they had promised to do so."

Without wishing to refute Queenan's main point about the dastardly Robert Irsay, this is a fairly disingenuous paragraph. Re: the "common courtesy" of the Baltimore Ravens, there are still many of us near the polluted, frozen shores of Lake Erie who think back on Browns/Ravens owner Art "Satan" Modell as the second coming of Hitler, and the fine, proud, gritty citizens of Baltimore as the swine who stole our team.

"Instead, the Colts chose to maintain the appalling fiction that a vaunted football franchise transplanted to a mesmerizingly inconsequential Midwestern city could possibly have any connection with a mythical team from one of the proud, gritty metropolises that line the East Coast."

Please. Oh yeah, I forgot. We're in that 2,950 mile flyover zone between the coasts. Nothin' but corn and gap-toothed moonshiners. This guy needs to get out more. I'm sure he'd receive a warm welcome in Indianapolis.

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