Which player will a smug Jim Nantz tell us we were wrong about this time, Peyton Manning or Rex Grossman?
The smart money says Manning. Although it’d be great to listen to Nantz and Phil Simms belittle Grossman the entire game only to see the Bears quarterback step up in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl and deliver a win.
“Those of you who thought Rex Grossman couldn’t win the big one, you were wrong,” a flip-flopping Nantz will bellow through the expanse of Dolphin Stadium.
The point is, there are two redemption stories in Super Bowl XLI. One is, obviously, Manning’s quest for NFL immortality, which has been beaten over out heads more than a Whack-a-Mole at this point. The other is Grossman’s mission just to shut everybody up.
The Chicago media is up in arms because Grossman referred to some of them as “ignorant.” Consider that he is sitting there taking cheap shots for the better part of two weeks from every writer looking for the easy angle so he or she can hit the beach an hour early, and yeah, he has a point.
The Bears are going to win, because their defense is going to smother Manning all evening, forcing him to throw at least a pair of interceptions. Brian Urlacher and company will likely recover at least three fumbles. And the Manning apologists will wonder where the Colts defense went after a miraculous coming out party.
Chicago may even win because of Grossman, which would be the sweetest outcome of all for all those who’ve spent the past month dumping on the man, valid criticism or not.
My prediction: Bears 23, Colts 10. Lovie drives the bus.
Here’s how others see the game playing out:
To beat the Colts, you have to be able to do three things. You have to stop the run. You have to put pass pressure on Manning. And you must have defensive backs and linebackers who are good enough to stop both the wide receivers and the tight ends. The Ravens could do all this, but the offense self-destructed. The Patriots had the first two, but not the third.
The Bears can stop the run, and they can have the coverage or the pass pressure. Without Harris it will be hard to have both, but last week's game against New Orleans is a very good sign for Bears fans. If the Bears play like that against the Colts, they should hold down Manning enough to give their offense a chance to win the game.