• 70°

Super Bowl: Manning will be the key today

By Dave Goldberg

Associated Press

MIAMI — Forget the perception that the Chicago Bears are mere patsies for Peyton Manning.

They have a decent chance at winning today’s Super Bowl against the Colts. Really.

Maybe these guys aren’t quite the Monsters of the Midway — under today’s rules, Brian Urlacher might get flagged just for breathing on Manning. But their defense can still be pretty scary.

“The Bears have a way of turning first-and-10 into second-and-15 into third-and-20,” Tony Dungy said this week.

Yes, the Colts are seven-point favorites despite the Bears’ 13-3 regular-season record, second best in the NFL to San Diego’s 14-2. There’s a simple reason: It’s not the Bears who are the underdogs; it’s the NFC, which was as bad this season as the AFC was good. Its final four of Indy, New England, San Diego and Baltimore likely would be favored over any of the NFC semifinalists.

Beyond that, these Colts are following a path similar to one taken by a team Manning wants to emulate: the 1997 Denver Broncos.

Those Broncos were eliminated in their first game in 1996 after clinching home field with a month to go. And like this year’s Colts, who lost four of its last seven games, those Broncos struggled a bit, making the postseason as a wild-card team before sweeping through the playoffs and beating Green Bay 31-24 in the Super Bowl.

Last winter, Manning made a point of talking to the two leaders of that team: John Elway and coach Mike Shanahan. Last summer, he suggested that it might not be a bad thing if the Colts had a lower profile for the 2006 season than they had in 2005, when they won their first 13 games.

“You’ve got a team that’s a little ticked off,” Manning said, referring to last year’s playoff failure. “There are guys who will play that way. I think you need that to rebound from last season.”

There’s one more thing the Colts need to do to emulate those Broncos.

No, Manning is unlikely to do a spinorama for a first down, as Elway did in the signature play of that game.

But his gestures and waves at the line of scrimmage, often a ruse, may not be this time — he’ll point at the holes in the Chicago defense at safety and defensive tackle, vacated by the injured Mike Brown and Tommie Harris.

That’s enough to make the final score: Colts 31,24.


Comments closed.


College baseball: Top-seeded Arkansas routs NC State 21-2


Teacher accused of assaulting at-risk teen at New London military-style school


NC court: Students can use constitution to fight bullying


Vaccine surplus grows as expiration dates loom


Justice Department will review restrictive voting laws in Republican-controlled states


Wake Forest adding Ole Miss graduate transfer Khadim Sy to basketball squad


Gov. Roy Cooper appoints new Rowan County Superior Court judge


Sheriff’s Office: Gold Hill woman likely killed during break-in


Fatal car crash turns into homicide investigation


62-year-old man killed in Wednesday murder


Solar farm plans in Gold Hill met by resident concerns

High School

High school tennis: Salisbury’s Campion/Wymbs, Carson’s Perry/Conrad claim doubles titles


Quotes of the week


Local lawmakers weigh in on state budget process, potential for Medicaid expansion


Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black discusses meeting with Department of Justice, calls for action


School staff members to receive payments from unprecedented RSS bonus package June 23


Senators eye $579 billion in new infrastructure spending as part of $1 trillion plan


Veto likely for state bill on abortion limits


Wealthiest nations expected to pledge 1B vaccine doses for world

High School

High school baseball: Raiders win first conference tourney in 18 years


North Carolina Senate gives final OK to $2B tax-cut plan


Gov. Cooper visits Knox Middle School teacher, gives TikTok a try


Salisbury Police officer dies after contracting COVID-19


NC to give out $1 million each to 4 vaccinated residents