Super Bowl Flashback: XLI Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts

NFC ChampsThe Chicago Bears 2006 season was one to be remembered. QB Rex Grossman was either loved or hated by Chicagoans. Bernard Berrian was a breakout star as WR, and Thomas Jones was doing a great job at RB.

Our offense was like a schizophrenic, but managed to win 13 games in the regular season. Rex Grossman threw for 27 touchdowns to go along with 20 interceptions. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September. Something was happening in Chicago, and it was special.

The real star for the Bears was our defense. They had a league-leading 44 takeaways and Brian Urlacher was in his prime. If you remember right, it was his picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Super Bowl preview issue, and media referred to us as “Brian Urlacher and the Chicago Bears.” It was never Rex Grossman or anyone else. That didn’t change until Jay Cutler arrived.

The most amazing win was the one in Arizona. It was on MNF and Sexy Rexy threw 4 picks and lost two fumbles. Down 20 points at the end of the third quarter, I literally saw Brian Urlacher rally the defense on the sidelines and take charge of the game. Devin Hester took one in for a score, and Mike Brown recovered a fumble and turned it in to 6 as well.

After all our amazing comeback, Arizona still had a chance to win, with a Neil Rackers field goal. Which he missed! I didn’t realize it at the time, but who knew Dennis Green’s post-game press conference rant, “The Bears are who we thought they were!” would go down in history? Lovie Smith called his team a “Team of Destiny.” I believed him.

We had our first loss of the season in week 9 against the Dolphins, it was 1985 all over again.

As good as we were that year, we didn’t get a lot of positive attention from the media, or the odds-makers. Rex Grossman’s sporadic play had Lovie Smith on the defensive and “Jay is our Quarterback.” uh, I mean, “Rex is our Quarterback.” was first-born.

We were the #1 seed going into the playoffs and faced the Seahawks in the divisional round at Soldier Field. A real close one, it took a Robbie Gould field goal to win it for us, 27-24. Next week we would face the Saints and I remember everyone saying they would beat us. We dominated in that one though, 39-14.

The snow had started to fall in Chicago, and the Bears had brought the Halas trophy back to Chicago. NFC Champions. Seeing Brian Urlacher hold up that trophy was one of my favorite Bears memories. Our Bears were going to the dance.

I bought a recliner off  Craigslist, and a widescreen TV for Superbowl 41. We had all waited a long time for this one. I was as excited about my team as I could remember since 1985. Of course the Bears didn’t get a lot of love, and the Colts were favored. I got pretty tired of hearing it, you know Peyton Manning finally going to the Super Bowl and all that stuff.

The game was in Miami and the halftime show was Prince. It was raining for most of it. I had done all my preparations and was as ready as I’d ever be. I wasn’t making wings yet, I think I had pizza. I was so nervous, you would think that I was the one playing. My much-younger-than-me girlfriend was coming over for support, even though she could care less about the Bears. Good thing she’s an “Ex.”

I remember all the flashes from cameras in Dolphin stadium as the Colts kicked off. Devin Hester was there to catch it and ran it in for a score! I couldn’t believe it! The Bears would start out at 7-0 with like, no time off the clock. This might be easier to win than I thought.

The Bears really did own the first half in my opinion, but 5 turnovers gave way to the Colts beating us 29-17. Such a roller coaster of emotion. To come so close to getting another Super Bowl win, and to lose was heartbreaking. I was devastated.

I still have that recliner and TV, not the girlfriend though. I met my wife, Beth and we now live in West Virginia. We are in the process of buying our first house, and have a great boy by the name of Robbie.

Do Marc Trestman and Phil Emery have the Bears headed towards winning one? Yes, I think so. With our offense being what it is, all we need is a serviceable defense. Then maybe Robbie will get what I got, the chance to see our Beloved in the Big Show. It would be the best thing ever.

What are your memories of XLI? I want to hear from you guys, us Bears fans have to start to rebuild. Please comment below.

 

 

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