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Colts gallop to Super Bowl win
Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning is named Most Valuable Player.
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2007 09:01 GMT

MVP Peyton Manning holds the Vince Lombardi trophy
after winning Super Bowl XLI in rainy Miami [AFP].

The Indianapolis Colts did the job on both offence and defence to win their first Super Bowl title in 36 years after defeating the Chicago Bears 29-17 at a rainy Dolphin Stadium in Miami on Sunday.
The Colts defence forced numerous turnovers including two interceptions and three fumble recoveries on a wet night, while quarterback Peyton Manning completed 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards and was named Most Valuable Player for his efforts.

"There was no panic, nobody gave up," a proud Manning said.

"We stuck together as a team, and we are proud to bring this trophy back to Indianapolis."

Indianapolis' Tony Dungy become the first black coach to hold the Vince Lombardi Trophy aloft, while Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears coach, joined Dungy as the first black head coaches to take teams to the Super Bowl.

"That we brought a championship to Indianapolis is complete joy," said Dungy, whose teenage son tragically committed suicide in 2005.

"We got a party tonight, we got a parade tomorrow in Indianapolis and we are going to the White House. Those are the things I am thinking about right now."

The inclement weather played a big part in the final match of the season with steady rain falling from kick-off throughout most of the match, causing slippery conditions under foot and also with ball in hand.

"Everybody did their part," Manning said.

"How about that. I came down to Miami to play in the soaking rain. You wouldn't expect it. We just kept doing our jobs."

Bears score early

Bears' Devin Hester returns the first touchdown
ever from a Super Bowl opening kick-off [EPA]

The Colts initially had to come from behind when Bears kick-returner Devin Hester scored the first ever touchdown on a Super Bowl opening kickoff, running the ball in from 92 yards out to give Chicago a dream start after just 14 seconds.

Hester, usually a defensive back, scored a National Football League (NFL) record six touchdowns on kick returns in the regular season, earning him a trip to the Pro Bowl.

Manning got off to a slow start for the Colts in heavy rain, throwing one out of four completions and an interception, before eventually finishing with 17 from 26 for 193 yards at the half, including a 53-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Reggie Wayne.

"It was tough," Wayne said after the match.

"The weather was going against us, and we stuck it in there. We did what we had to do to win and we are world champs."

In the tough conditions Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri aborted the point after attempt to give the Bears a 7-6 lead.

Interception seals the match

Colts' Kelvin Hayden, centre, scores the match
sealing touchdown off an interception [EPA]
The Bears hit back though, with quarterback Rex Grossman also getting off to a slow start before hitting receiver Muhsin Muhammad for a four yard touchdown to make it 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Vinatieri kicked a field goal and Colts running back Dominic Rhodes crashed over for a touchdown from one yard out in the second quarter to have Indianapolis leading 16-14 at half-time.

Indianapolis went further ahead in the third quarter after kicking two filed goals to the Bears' one, making it 22-17, before Colts defensive back Kelvin Hayden sealed the match in the final quarter with a 56 yard interception return for a touchdown.

"I'm proud to represent the African-American coaches and to be the first African-American to win this," Dungy told the crowd.

"It means an awful lot to our country.

"I thought about all the guys who came ahead of me, who could have done it and didn't get the opportunity. I dedicate the game to them."

A team effort

Indianapolis' Tony Dungy became the first
black coach to win a Super Bowl [AFP]
Chicago's poor handling hurt them the most, giving up three fumbles in the wet conditions.

"We didn't hold onto the ball and that cost us the game," Bears running back Thomas Jones said.

"They just came out and played well and we turned the ball over."

Colts players collected $73,000 each in prize money while the Bears earned $38,000 dollars each for being runners-up.

"It's truly a team win and a team effort," said Manning, who will be presented with a Cadillac on Monday for his MVP performance.

"It feels great to be a part of this team and a part of this championship."

Source:
Agencies
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