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Against the odds

Bears are poised to defy Super Bowl expectations

Posted: Tuesday January 23, 2007 12:15PM; Updated: Tuesday January 23, 2007 2:05PM
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He often hasn't been pretty to watch, but Rex Grossman has been good enough to lead the Bears to a 15-3 mark this season.
He often hasn't been pretty to watch, but Rex Grossman has been good enough to lead the Bears to a 15-3 mark this season.
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Chicago Bears fans, poor souls, must be asking themselves, why, oh why, should Lovie and the gang even bother showing up in Miami?

The NFL pundits, those pontificating Phd.'s of gridiron prognostication (most of whom, of course, predicted the Saints would run right through the Bears last Sunday) are now piling on, forecasting an easy win for the Colts in Super Bowl XLI. Peyton Manning, the guy who couldn't win the big one a fortnight ago, is suddenly the Cool Hand Luke of the postseason, the man who out-dueled Tom Brady, a quarterback in full whose time has come. The running game has become smashmouth: the hammer, Joseph Addai, and the sledge, Dominic Rhodes. The Colts defense, so weak against the run all season, is now called an impenetrable wall of human granite. The wide receivers, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, are now complemented by an equally formidable weapon at tight end, Dallas Clark, who caught a game high six passes for 137 yards against the Patriots. To boot, they have the best clutch kicker in the game in Adam Vinatieri.

The sons of Lovie Smith? Let us count the ways the experts have dissed 'em.

1) The Bears had the NFL's easiest schedule.

2) In Rex Grossman they have the worst Super Bowl passer since Garo Yepremian, a zero rating waiting to happen.

3) With their reliance on defense and the running game, the Bears play football like it's still 1932.

4) In the last six games, including playoffs, their supposedly fearsome defense has allowed an average of 23.8 points per game.

Put it all together and it makes a man wonder how these Bears ever went 15-3?

To hear the experts tell it, this sounds like the most lopsided Super Bowl since, well, 2002, when the high-powered St. Louis Rams were picked by everyone and his sister to steamroll the New England Patriots, led by some rookie QB fill-in named Brady.

We know how that came out. Experts, be damned. The game's played on the field, it's played with emotion and it's played with a slippery oblong ball that takes funny bounces. Here are five reasons the pundits are full of Colts manure, and Da Bears will whup Tony Dungy's boys on Feb. 4.

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