Super Bowl XLI

Super Bowl XLI

Infobox SuperBowl
sb_name = XLI

visitor = Indianapolis Colts
home = Chicago Bears
visitor_abbr = IND
home_abbr = CHI
visitor_conf = AFC
home_conf = NFC
visitor_total = 29
home_total = 17
visitor_qtr1 = 6
visitor_qtr2 = 10
visitor_qtr3 = 6
visitor_qtr4 = 7
home_qtr1 = 14
home_qtr2 = 0
home_qtr3 = 3
home_qtr4 = 0
date = February 4, 2007
stadium = Dolphin Stadium
city = Miami Gardens, Florida
attendance = 74,512cite news|title=Super Bowl Scoring Sums|author=Associated Press|authorlink=Associated Press|publisher=MSNBC|url=|accessdate=2008-02-04]
weather = Rain
odds = Colts by 6½, over/under line 49½ [cite web|url=|title=Colts big odds favorites over Bears in Super Bowl XLI|author=Associated Press|accessdate=2007-02-06]
MVP = Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Colts
anthem = Billy Joel, ASL performed by Marlee Matlin
halftime = Prince and the Florida A&M University Marching 100
network = CBS
announcers = Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
coin_toss = Dan Marino and Norma Hunt [cite web| url=|title=Goodell wants players held accountable|author=ESPN|accessdate=2008-01-17]
referee = Tony Corrente [cite web| url=|title=Corrente to referee first Super Bowl||accessdate=2008-01-17]
rating = 42.6 (national) [cite web|url=||title=Blockbuster: Best Super Bowl Ratings In 7 Years|accessdate=2007-02-06] (est. 93.2 million viewers) [ [ Colts-Bears draws No. 3 audience of all time] "", February 5, 2007.] 50.2 (Chicago) [cite web|url=,CST-FIN-feder06.article|,CST-FIN-feder06.article|title=Super Bowl ratings fall short of record|accessdate=2007-02-06] 55.5 (Indianapolis)
share = 64 (national) 77 (Chicago) 83 (Indianapolis)
commercial=$2.6 millioncite web|url=|title=Super prices for Super Bowl ads|accessdate=2007-01-17|date=2007-01-03]
last = XL
next = XLII

Super Bowl XLI was an American football game played on February 4, 2007, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, a suburb of Miami, to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion following the 2006 regular season. Kickoff was at 6:27 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion Indianapolis Colts (16-4) defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Chicago Bears (15-4), 29-17.

This game featured two teams ending long Super Bowl appearance droughts. The Colts made their first appearance in a Super Bowl game since winning Super Bowl V in the 1970 season during the team's tenure in Baltimore; they moved to Indianapolis in 1984. Meanwhile, the Bears made their first appearance since winning Super Bowl XX in the 1985 season. It was only the second time that two pre-expansion era (pre 1960) teams met in the Super Bowl. The first was Super Bowl XIV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was named the game's Most Valuable Player, completing 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown, with one interception. This was Peyton Manning's first Super Bowl title after being one of the league's most dominant quarterbacks throughout his ten-year-old career. Nielsen Media Research reported 93 million viewers for Super Bowl XLI, making it the fourth most-watched program in U.S. television history (trailing only the "M*A*S*H" finale and Super Bowls XLII and XXX)." [ Super Bowl Draws Third-Largest TV Audience Ever] "., February 6, 2007.]


Host selection process

Dolphin Stadium won the bid to host Super Bowl XLI on September 17, 2003 after a campaign against Arizona, Tampa Bay, New York City, and Washington D.C. With this game, the Miami Metropolitan Area tied New Orleans, Louisiana as the city to host the most Super Bowls (9). [cite web|url=|title=Miami awarded 2007 Super Bowl|publisher= [] |date=2003-09-17|accessdate=2006-12-10]

This was the fourth Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium, which has also been known as "Joe Robbie Stadium" and "Pro Player Stadium". The venue previously hosted Super Bowls XXIII (broadcast on NBC), XXIX (on ABC), and XXXIII (on FOX). Super Bowls II, III, V, X, and XIII were also in Miami, but held at the Miami Orange Bowl.

In February 2006, the NFL and the South Florida Super Bowl XLI Host Committee unveiled the slogan "one game, one dream" for the game, referring to the entire South Florida region working together to present the event.cite news|first=Sarah|last=Talalay|title=Committee Unveils Logo, Theme|publisher=Sun-Sentinel|page=7C|date=2006-02-17] The Super Bowl XLI logo was also unveiled, featuring the colors orange (to represent the sun) and blue (for the ocean). The "I" in the Roman numeral "XLI" was drawn to resemble a pylon placed at each corner of an end zone because "the goal is to get to the game." This year's logo has the same shade of orange as the logo of the host city's home team, the Miami Dolphins. The "XL" part is similar to that of Super Bowl XL's logo.


Chicago Bears

Chicago finished the season with an NFC best 13-3 record and advanced to the second Super Bowl in franchise history. The team excelled on defense, ranking third in fewest points allowed (255) and second in fewest points allowed per drive. [ NFL regular season drive statistics] from Football Outsiders] They also ranked second in scoring (427 points), although only tenth in points per offensive drive thanks to a league leading 65 points scored on defensive or special teams plays.

The Bears offense was led by quarterback Rex Grossman, the team's first round draft pick in 2003. Over the previous three seasons, Grossman had played in just 8 regular season games due to injuries, but he recovered to start in all 16 games in 2006. By the end of the season, he finished with 3,193 yards and 23 touchdowns, the most by a Bears quarterback since 1995. Grossman had difficulty avoiding turnovers, however, and threw 20 interceptions and lost five fumbles during the year. In the last seven games of the season, he turned the ball over 18 times. Many fans and sports writers expected head coach Lovie Smith to bench him at some point, but Smith insisted that Grossman would be the starter throughout the entire season.

Receivers Muhsin Muhammad (60 receptions, 863 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Bernard Berrian (51 receptions, 775 yards, 7 touchdowns) provided the main deep threat on the team, along with tight end Desmond Clark, who caught 45 passes for 626 yards and 6 touchdowns. Chicago's running game was led by running backs Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Jones rushed for 1,210 yards and caught 36 passes, while Benson rushed for 647 yards and scored 6 touchdowns.

Chicago's defense allowed the 5th least total yardage, allowed less than 100 yards per game on the ground, [ [ rushing defense statistics] ] and allowed the fewest yards per drive of any NFL team. The line was anchored by Adewale Ogunleye, who had 6.5 sacks, and Pro Bowler Tommie Harris, who recorded 5, along with rookie Mark Anderson, who led the team with 12 sacks. Behind them, two of the three Bears starting linebackers, Lance Briggs, and Brian Urlacher, were selected to the 2007 Pro Bowl. In the secondary, cornerbacks Ricky Manning, Jr. and Charles Tillman each recorded five interceptions.

The loss of Harris to injury after the twelfth game of the season coincided with a decline in defensive performance. Before his loss, the Bears allowed only two opponents to score more than twenty points (23 points to the Arizona Cardinals in week six and 31 to the Miami Dolphins in week 9). [ [ Tommie Harris 2006 game logs] , [] ] After his injury, Chicago opponents scored more than 20 points in six of the seven remaining games, including two of three playoff games. Only the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game were held below 21 points. [ [ Chicago Bears 2006 game results] , [] ]

The Bears special teams unit was considered by many to be the best in the league. This unit sent 3 players to the Pro Bowl, including special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo, kicker Robbie Gould (who led all NFL kickers with 143 points), and rookie return man Devin Hester, who gained 600 punt return yards with a 12.8 yards per return average, the second highest in the NFL. He also set a league record with 6 touchdowns on special teams.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts's first trip to the Super Bowl in 36 years was the culmination of a nine year long building process. In 1998, they drafted quarterback Peyton Manning to lead the team. Over the next four seasons, Manning, along with other stars such as receiver Marvin Harrison and running back Edgerrin James, turned the Colts into one of the best offensive teams in the NFL, but the team struggled to find consistency on defense and always ended up with either a losing season or elimination from the playoffs in the first round. In 2002, Indianapolis fired head coach Jim Mora and replaced him with Tony Dungy. Dungy had developed one of the best defenses in the NFL while coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it was hoped he could solve the Colts' defensive problems as well.

Over the next four seasons, the Colts won 48 of 64 games, but still could not find much success in the postseason. In 2002, they were blown out 41-0 in the wildcard round by the New York Jets. In 2003, they won their first two playoff games behind impressive offensive performances, and reached the AFC title game. There they lost to the eventual champion New England Patriots 24-14, with Manning throwing four interceptions. In 2004, the Colts had one of the most spectacular offensive seasons in NFL history, scoring 522 points and gaining 6,582 yards, while Manning set NFL records for most touchdown passes and highest passer rating. But again the Patriots defense (and snowy conditions) proved too formidable, as they lost 20-3 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

In 2005, the Colts defense improved, making the team the clear favorites in the NFL. They won the first 13 games of the season and finished with a 14-2 record, while ranking second in the NFL in both points scored and fewest points allowed. But once again they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs, this time to the #6 seeded Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-18. After another disappointing loss, Manning had developed a reputation of being unable to make it to a championship, a reputation that followed him from college after he was unable to win an NCAA title with the Tennessee Volunteers (who won a title the year after he graduated). The Colts lost some key players after the 2005 season, including James, who departed the Colts for the Arizona Cardinals, and kicker Mike Vanderjagt, the NFL's all-time leader in field goal percentage, who left for the Dallas Cowboys.

Still, the Colts remained one of the AFC's top teams in the 2006 NFL season. Manning made the Pro Bowl for the 7th time in his career, completing 362 of 555 passes for 4,397 yards and an NFL best 31 touchdowns, with an additional 4 rushing touchdowns and with only 9 interceptions and 15 sacks. His favorite target was Harrison, who caught 95 passes for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns. Receiver Reggie Wayne was also a major deep threat with 86 receptions for 1,310 yards and 9 touchdowns. Tight ends Ben Utecht and Dallas Clark were also reliable targets, each recording over 30 receptions for over 300 yards. On the ground, rookie running back Joseph Addai led the team with 1,081 yards and 4.8 yards per carry average despite not starting any games in the regular season. He also caught 40 receptions for 325 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. Running back Dominic Rhodes was also a major contributor, rushing for 641 yards and catching 36 passes for 251 yards. The offensive line was led by Pro Bowlers Jeff Saturday and Tarik Glenn. On special teams, the Colts signed kicker Adam Vinatieri to replace Vanderjagt. While Vinatieri's career field goal percentage was lower, the Colts considered him to be an improvement because of his reputation for making "clutch" kicks, a reputation aided by his game winning field goals in Super Bowl XXXVI and Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Indianapolis' defense ranked second in the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (who recorded 9.5 sacks and forced 4 fumbles) were widely considered to be among the best pass-rushing defensive ends in the NFL. Behind them, linebacker Cato June led the team in tackles (92) and interceptions (3). The Colts run defense, however, was a major problem, giving up 2,768 yards on the ground, an average of 173 per game and last in the NFL. Another major issue for the Colts was their coverage teams, as they ranked #30 out of 32 teams in average kickoff return yardage allowed and #31 in average punt return yardage allowed.

Indianapolis started out the season winning their first nine games, but ended up losing four of their next seven and finished with a 12-4 record, giving them the #3 playoff seed. Thus, they would have to win three games to make it to the Super Bowl.

tatistical comparison

The chart below provides a comparison of regular season statistics in key categories (overall rank amongst 32 teams in parentheses). [ [ 2006 NFL team statistics] , [] ]

*Completions/AttemptsaCarriesbLong playcReceptions

tarting lineups


*Referee: Tony Corrente
*Umpire: Carl Paganelli
*Head Linesman: George Hayward
*Line Judge: Ron Marinucci
*Field Judge: Jim Saracino
*Side Judge: John Parry
*Back Judge: Perry Paganelli
*Alternate Referee: Jeff Triplette
*Alternate Umpire: Butch Hannah
*Alternate Line Judge: Carl Johnson
*Alternate Field Judge: Buddy Horton
*Alternate Back Judge: Richard Reels


Advertising rates were reported as being slightly higher than in the year before, with CBS confirming a price of $2.6 million for some 30-second spots, compared with $2.5 million during Super Bowl XL. However, CNN reported that after discounts, the average price is likely closer to $1.8 to $2 million. Familiar advertisers in recent years such as Anheuser-Busch, CareerBuilder, General Motors and Coca-Cola bought multiple advertising spots, and other popular advertisers like Go Daddy and Emerald Nuts had commercials this year.

The only major hype related to commercials in the months leading up to Super Bowl XLI involved various campaigns to allow consumers to be involved in the creation of Super Bowl ads, inspired by consumer-generated content sites like YouTube. Frito-Lay announced a campaign in September 2006 to allow the public to submit ads for their Doritos brand and vote on the best one, which aired during the Super Bowl. Doritos actually aired two of the ads due to a close voting margin; the winning ad (featuring a chance meeting with a man and a woman that feature the qualities of Doritos) aired in the first quarter, while a second (with a checkout lady overly enamored with the product) aired in the second quarter. The five finalists each received $10,000 in this contest. General Motors announced a similar contest, open only to college students, for their Chevrolet brand; however, the ad would be produced professionally based on ideas suggested by the public. The winning ad featured men gathering around an HHR model with women in it and stripping off their clothes and giving it a car wash. The NFL itself advertised a similar contest to generate suggestions for a commercial promoting the league, with the winning concept featuring fans' disappointment that their teams' season was over. [cite web|title=Some Super Bowl ads to be work of 'ordinary people'|url=|date=2007-01-14|accessdate=2007-01-17]

The annual USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter survey chose a Budweiser ad featuring crabs worshiping an ice chest with that particular beer inside as the top ad of Super Bowl XLI, followed by another Bud commercial featuring a stray dog with mud spots climbing onto the brewery's trademark Clydsedale-drawn wagon in a parade. In all, Anheuser-Busch took seven of the top ten spots in the annual survey, sweeping the top three spots. A YouTube user survey chose the Doritos "Snack Hard" ad (produced for the incredible price of $12, the cost of three bags of the snack product) [cite web|title=Doritos eats up Cary startup's ad|url=|date2007-02-05|accessdate=2007-02-15] as their top ad, that ad finished fourth in the USA Today survey.

One ad that drew criticism from the gay community was for the Snickers candy bar featuring two men accidentally "kissing" each other after sharing the product in question, then proceeded to rip chest hairs as a manly act as homophobic. [cite web|title=Snickers ad pulled after gays complain|url=|date2007-02-06|accessdate=2007-02-15] The ad proved to be controversial, and the ad was cancelled the next day by Masterfoods USA (Mars, Incorporated's snack food division), and three other versions were deleted from the web site. The ad was ninth in the USA Today ad survey, and according to a Masterfoods publicist, not intended to harm anyone.

A different ad for General Motors featured a laid off assembly line robot contemplating suicide, which drew criticism from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The group asked for an apology from GM, and that the ad be taken off the air and the company's website. [cite web|title=AFSP Issues Statement to General Motors Regarding Super Bowl Ad||url=|date=2007-02-06|accessdate=2007-02-09] The suicide scene was replaced with a scene of the robot watching a car being crushed at a junkyard when it was shown again during the 79th Academy Awards on February 25.

Controversies prohibiting fan parties and presentations

Prohibiting tailgating

The NFL upset many fans by banning the traditional practice of tailgating at Super Bowl XLI. Originally, spokesmen for Dolphin Stadium announced that tailgating would be permitted as usual, however the NFL quickly contradicted this statement announcing an NFL owner-imposed ban on all tailgating and non-ticketed fans were forbidden within a two-block-radius of the stadium. [cite web|url=|title=NFL Officials Ban Tailgating at Super Bowl XLI||date=2007-01-29|accessdate=2007-01-30]

Prohibiting church display

The NFL upset a large number of fans by threatening churches with lawsuits if they had Super Bowl parties. National Football League assistant counsel Rachel L. Margolies sent a letter to the Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, ordering the church to cancel its party and remove the trademarked Super Bowl name from its website. [cite web|url=|title="church": Indy Church Ignores NFL, Shows Game Despite Warning|publisher=WRTV|date=2007-02-01|accessdate=2007-12-28] She said that the church could not use the words "Super Bowl" as it violates trademark law, could not charge admission as that violates copyright law, could not use its projection screen (only one television could be used and it could not be over 55 inches), and could not "promote a message" in connection with the game. Regarding the last point, the Fall Creek Baptist church planned to also show an extra video to highlight the Christian testimonies of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. "While this may be a noble message," Rachel L. Margolies wrote, "we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content." [cite web|url=|title="NFLchurch": NFL Defends Stance Against Church's Super Bowl Plan|publisher=WRTV|date=2007-02-01|accessdate=2007-12-28] In contrast, sports bars nationwide were allowed to show the game, as are businesses that televise sports as part of their everyday operations.

The Indianapolis Star picked up the story, and soon pastors across the U.S. were working to cancel their parties. Immediately the NFL received a backlash of bad publicity, with indignant football fans in constant sarcasm (akin to rules imposed about on-field behavior i.e. taunting opposition teams) referring to the NFL as the "No Fun League." [cite web|url=|title="NoFun": NFL Strikes Down Church Party||date=2007-02-01|accessdate=2007-12-28] For example, the enforcement of this policy earned the NFL a "Worst Person in the World" silver on the February 2, 2007 edition of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann". [cite web|url=|title="Worst": Less casualties or fuzzy math||date=2007-02-05|accessdate=2007-02-10|first=Keith|last=Olbermann|authorlink=Keith Olbermann]

After a long series of bad press, the NFL issued a written statement clarifying their policy, saying that they did not object to churches hosting Super Bowl parties so long as they did not charge admission and showed the game on "a television of the type commonly used at home". This statement did not attempt to forbid coordination of any other message with the game, something typically done by churches, nor did it attempt to forbid the use of the term "Super Bowl." [cite news|url=|title=No sanctuary for Super Bowl flock: Churches scramble to cancel parties after an NFL warning|publisher=Los Angeles Times|date=2007-02-03|accessdate=2007-02-05|author=Stephanie Simon] [cite web|url=|title=Church Super Bowl festivities may go on: NFL says just do not charge admission fees to parties|date=2007-02-02|author=Bob Unruh|] [cite web|url=||title=NFL warns churches to abide by Super Bowl party guidelines|accessdate=2007-02-06]


External links

* [ Official Super Bowl website]
* [ Host committee website]
* [ Game summary] at

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