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The real underdog in Super Bowl XLI

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
You know, like every other Joe American out there, I love to cheer for an underdog. I love to cheer for a team that nobody else respects or feels can compete at the highest level when the stakes are high.
That's why I loved cheering for the Colts in the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
"WHAT?!" you say. "The Colts weren't the underdog! The Bears were the absolute underdog! NOBODY was picking them. Vegas had them as seven-point dogs! This isn't even an argument; the Bears were the only underdog in this Super Bowl. End of story!"
Except that isn't the end of the story. Yes, the Bears were considered the underdog team, but the real underdog in this Super Bowl wore white and blue. The real underdog in this Super Bowl was the Indianapolis Colts' defense.
I mean, think about it.
When, if ever, did you ever see a sports talking head talking about the Indianapolis defense winning the Super Bowl? The template, which I also used in my Super Bowl preview column, was that this game would be decided as a battle of Chicago's defense against Indianapolis' offense.
However, anytime that the Bears were picked to win the Super Bowl, it almost always would include a discussion of how the Colts' defense was "soft" or "weak against the run."
To be fair, the Colts' defense was soft against the run during the regular season. Indianapolis allowed 2,768 yards rushing in those 16 games, and the second-place team (Tennessee) allowed 2,313 yards.
That changed when the postseason got started, however. Indy's run defense averaged just 82.8 rushing yards per opponent, an average number that was even lower before the Super Bowl (Chicago had 111 rushing yards). Also, the Colts had five interceptions in their first three postseason games, yet all the press was about how the Bears were the turnover-creating machine.
During the Super Bowl, it was the Indianapolis defense that shined the brightest. The Colts forced four fumbles by the Bears, recovering three of them, and picked off Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman twice. The Bears had just 11 first downs and ran 48 plays to Indy's 81.
Yes, a certain amount of that offensive ineptitude can be blamed on Chicago's offense and a lack of rhythm, but you can't discount the obvious impact the heretofore "underdog" Indianapolis defense played in this game. The Colts' defense played all night long like they had something to prove, and they did. They had to prove that this team was more than Peyton Manning and those flashy receivers and running backs.
Much was written and said about Chicago's underdog status in the buildup to the Super Bowl, but it was that other underdog who made the biggest difference.
Now for the commercials: Yawn. I found myself yearning for the days of when ad agencies would just toss a bunch of monkeys on the screen and let them do crazy crap. No, Kevin Federline doesn't count.
Usually, there's at least one commercial that I find myself talking about and wanting to view again online, but there just wasn't anything like that this year. I know a lot of people liked the Carlos Mencia Bud Light commercial, but I didn't. I've never found Mencia funny, and expected more from beer companies – those usual beacons of light in the commercial darkness.
If I had to pick my favorite commercial, I'd go with the David Letterman-Oprah Winfrey teaser for CBS – considering how often Oprah's been the butt of Dave's jokes I thought the combination of the two was hilarious.
I also liked the Blockbuster "mouse" commercial. I'm a sucker for lame puns. Yes, I'm serious. And don't call me Shirley.

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