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Monday, January 29, 2007
Updated: July 14, 4:39 PM ET
The Pulse: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Friday, February 2

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.

Friday's Big Question

1. Who will win the Super Bowl?


Both Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman can redefine their legacies with a Super Bowl win this Sunday.
After months of struggle and strife, it's all come down to one game.

In the AFC's corner, you have a high-powered offense with a brilliant but troubled quarterback, a team that has become more and more complete as the playoffs have progressed, culminating in a rousing comeback against their perennial postseason nemesis. In the NFC's corner, you have a defense that sometimes outscores everyone else on the field, paired with a quarterback with a Jekyll and Hyde approach to passing.

Who will win? We'll have to look to the actual game for that, but whatever the result, SportsNation believes it'll be a close one.

SportsNation XLI Map

What will be the outcome of Super Bowl XLI?
39% Colts win a close game
29% Bears win a close game
25% Colts win in a blowout
7% Bears win in a blowout

Which player's performance will be the difference in Super Bowl XLI?
45% Peyton Manning
38% Rex Grossman
9% Brian Urlacher
9% Adam Vinatieri

From Friday's Morning Buzz:

We're getting close to the start of lunch talk. So we need to get some official Super Bowl predictions in.
Buzzmaster

Indy 28, Chicago 13 Camera shots of the Manning family: 2,145,500 References to African-American coaches in the game: 1,345,400.
John
Dayton, OH

I predict Grossman will be sharing a loft with Bartman by the end of February.
Dan
Chicago, IL

Colts 27, Bears 13. I have 7 and 7 in an office pool and every quarter pays $250. Money in the bank, son.
Travis
TX

Bears 27, Colts 17...defense wins. Remeber the Ravens held them to 15.
Jonathan
Blacksburg, VA

Peyton: 362 yds, 4 TD. Bears: 211 yards rushing. Colts 38, Bears 27.
Tim
New York, NY

I predict Billy Joel will sing the anthem in under 1:44.
RC
Cincinatti, OH

Super Bowl prediction: My wife will talk during the game, and tell me to shut up during the commercials.
Matt
Omaha, NE

What I want is 31-27 Colts, but lately with all the teams that "the experts" think have no chance tending to win, my money would be 27-24 Bears.
Brian
Madison, WI

I predict there will be two commercials that my boss will show in our meeting on Monday.
Jordan
Peoria, IL

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Peyton will win it for Indy.
Benji
Cedar Falls, IA

As painful as it is to pick the Colts, the Bears just aren't that good to win. Colts 42, Bears 27.
Sean
Erie, PA

Colts by 3 touchdowns.
Josh
Indianapolis, IN

Colts 31. Da Bears 13. Sorry SN, it's the year of the Colt.
Tal
Boston/Miami

Colts 19, Bears 10. Vinatieri kicks go-ahead field goal in 4th quarter, Peyton gets his TD near the end.
Ryan
Ringwood

Bears 21, Colts 17, Kyle Orton's beard 28. Orton wins super bowl. Eat it!!!
Mike
Chicago, IL

Bears 31, Colts 24, and for the tiebreaker, we will see The Manning Face 9 times.
Robert
Huntsville, AL

I predict Tom Waddle will come out of retirement and have 15 catches for 250 yards. Bears 28, Colts 17!
Matt
Georgetown, KY

Peyton over Payton's ghost, 31-16.
Ryan
Fargo, ND

Colts 31, Bears 16. MVP Dan Klecko!
Scott
NJ

Sexy Rexy brings it home! 31-24 Bears.
Jason
Nashville, TN

From Gene Wojciechowski's 15 Reasons why the Bears will win:
Two words, and then some Roman numerals: Super Bowl XXI. Remember what happened?

John Elway got all the pregame hype as the superior quarterback, but then Phil Simms, who had had a weird, inconsistent regular season (22 TD passes, 21 interceptions), proceeded to set Super Bowl records for most consecutive completions (10) and highest completion percentage (88.0, 22-of-25). He threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns, was named the MVP, said he was going to Disney World and Disneyland (the first MVP to say so), and then celebrated the New York Giants' 39-20 victory against the Denver Broncos.

I'm not saying Bears QB Rex Grossman is going to complete 88 percent of his passes (the best he did this season was 79.3 versus the San Francisco 49ers), but there are some similarities between his 2006 and Simms' 1986. And it won't be a problem channeling the former Giants star. Simms is doing the game for CBS.
Gene Wojciechowski

From Scouts Inc.'s Super Bowl scouting report (Insider-only):
Prediction: Colts 28, Bears 24

Super Bowl picks from the experts:
Colts: 13 experts
Bears: 5 experts

Super Bowl picks from celebrities:
Colts, 28-17. The Colts have more horse power. Besides, I'd rather have lucky horseshoes on the mantle than a bear's claw.
Buzz Aldrin, second man to walk on the Moon

Colts, 28-24. I feel like Aaron Moorehead's dad, Emery. He played for the Bears you know, and Aaron is a Colts receiver. I'm kinda torn. But I feel its gotta be Peyton Manning's turn. 28-24.
Adam West, Batman

Colts, 28-17. Because if you add 28 and 17, you get 43. Add 4 and 3, and you get 7. Which is Mickey Mantle's number. We like Peyton Manning. We've heard he has a monkey.
Penn & Teller, magicians/comedians

2. What do you think of Brett Favre?


Brett Favre will have one more chance at glory.
Brett Favre still hasn't played his last game at Lambeau Field.

Putting off his eventual retirement by another year, the Super Bowl-winning veteran elected to come back to the Packers in 2007. Favre's numbers have been declining, but he still ranks near the middle of the pack among active QBs. Of course, there's always that extra spark of competitiveness that allows him to pull a win out of nowhere. Will he be able to keep it up and pull the Packers out of the doldrums?

SportsNation is, quite overwhelmingly, betting that he will.

Will the Packers make the playoffs with Brett Favre under center?
83% Yes
17% No

From Jeremy Green's Super Bowl chat:
What do you think of Brett Favre coming back?
Chauncey
Teaneck

I like it. He played much better last season and he looked like he was having fun playing again. The Packers were a Giants loss away from the playoff and have a lot of young talent. He can still sling it so I like it.
Jeremy Green

From fan stories of Favre's career:
I was watching the April practices in Green Bay, and the quarterbacks were together near the fence. After calling out the play, Brett faded back to make-believe pass, looked one way, then the other, and "passed" the ball to an imaginary receiver -- looking straight at me as he did it.

I yelled "TD Packers" after catching the ball, and that produced a big grin from Brett.
Steve Bilitz
Maplewod, Minn.

Thursday's Big Question

1. Who is a better coach: Lovie Smith or Tony Dungy?


Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy have both broken barriers.
Lovie and Tony. Tony and Lovie. Two coaches with a track record of success will meet in Super Bowl XLI on Sunday. Which has the advantage?

Both of them have certain things in common; a soft-spoken manner, a reputation as excellent in-game coaches, even a skin color. They're handling far different teams and situations, however. Tony Dungy has the game's model quarterback performing alongside a potentially shaky defense, while Lovie Smith has a potentially shaky quarterback performing alongside the game's model defense. Who will handle the challenge the best?

SportsNation thinks Dungy has done a better job under more pressing circumstances and thinks he'll have a more successful career.

Which coach will end up with the better career won-loss record?
79% Tony Dungy
21% Lovie Smith

Which coach will end his career with more Super Bowl rings?
60% Tony Dungy
40% Lovie Smith

Which team has the edge at head coach?
65% Colts: Tony Dungy
35% Bears: Lovie Smith

From Gregg Easterbrook's Super Bowl chat:
Could you script your first three plays of the superbowl if you were Tony Dungy?
Jon
Tampa, FL

Dungy's script:
1). Grossman fumbles
2). Grossman throws interception
3). Lovie sends in Jim McMahon
Gregg Easterbrook

From Chris Mortensen's Wednesday Super Bowl chat:

Rex is not as bad as everyone thinks. Why do think the critics have always been out get him?
Justin
Montata

I think media and fans are just generally less patient in this day and age. The dynamics of the NFL and the demand for instant gratification can be a little outlandish. But I'm not sure anything's going to change now - that's why coaches like Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy with their patient, logical approach are a quarterback's dream.
Chris Mortensen

From Mark Schlereth's Wednesday Super Bowl chat:
What are the chances of Lovie Smith going to Dallas, if any?
Chris
St. Louis, MO

I think there's about a zero chance of that happening. Lovie Smith is going to be with the Bears for a very long time. They'll make him a handsomely paid coach. He's a man of integrity. What he says goes. When he says, I don't want focus coming off of this football team, so early in the season when Chicago was talking to him, he said I don't want that to be a distraction. And he meant it. He's setting an example for the players. We don't want contract squabbles during the season.
Mark Schlereth

Wednesday's Big Question

1. What do you think of Peyton Manning?


Peyton Manning will be going for it all this Sunday.
He's the most recognizable quarterback in the NFL, but how much do we truly know about Peyton Manning?

He's the league's biggest star, routinely putting up big numbers in a near-clinical way; count the number of times he finds open receivers in otherwise-broken plays, and you'll come away impressed. By all accounts, he's personable and a class act.

He's also the league's biggest goat, notable for his high-profile combustions in the playoffs, completely out of character performances which feature multiple killer interceptions and the constant presence of the "Manning Face". He's gotten farther than he ever has before, but can he handle the pressure?

SportsNation isn't quite sure how Peyton will perform in this Super Bowl, but thinks he'll have at least one ring before it's all said and done.

How will Peyton Manning perform in Super Bowl XLI?
41% Good: 350+ yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
36% Mediocre: 300+ yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
10% Bad: 250+ yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
9% Amazing: 400+ yards, 4 TDs, no INTs
4% Disastrous: 200+ yards, no TDs, 4 INTs

How many Super Bowl rings will Peyton Manning win?
36% Two
33% One
23% None
5% Three
3% More than three

From Skip Bayless' Super Bowl chat:

Who's the Goat of the Super Bowl, Skip?
Mark
Seattle, WA

Peyton, if he doesn't win it the way most people assume he will. Or already has. Didn't they have a victory parade last week in Indy? All I hear here in Miami is, "Isn't it great that Peyton finally broke through and won a big one?" Man, I would not want to be in Peyton's cleats this week.
Skip Bayless

From Woody Paige's Super Bowl chat:

Who are you going for, Woody?
Adam
NC

The Colts were my pick before the season began and I haven't wavered on that. I honestly have a personal feeling about Peyton winning the Super Bowl. I not only love watching him play and think he will be one of the greatest QBs in the history of the game. I'm friends with his father and have known him since college. I was very impressed when I first met Peyton, with his knowledge of football. He could tell me the backup QB of Notre Dame in 1991. He also could name a dozen old NFL quarterbacks and what they accomplished and I find as I deal with pro athletes, most of them have no clue about the history of the game. Long ago when I talked to Barry Bonds about them hanging out in the clubhouse, I asked him about his memories about baseball and he said he didn't care about baseball. I've talked to athletes about former players and they didn't know. I find it amazing that the players don't study the past. I know most of the old time sports writers. I grew up collecting baseball, basketball, football cards. I can tell you batting averages from players from the 1950s, even though I can't tell you what I had for dinner last night. So I'm impressed with Peyton Manning the man. He and his brother flew planes full of food to the victims of Katrina. I love his commercials. I think he's changed the game from the QB position. I think he deserves to win a Super Bowl.
Woody Paige

From Mel Kiper's Super Bowl chat:

Can the Bears defense get enough pressure on Manning to disrupt the Colts' passing game?
Karl
Tulsa, OK

I think they will generate some pressure. Will it be enough? I don't know. Manning at that OL has done a very good job but the Bears will present problems. In the end, I've always felt the Bears defense has been overhyped. I'm more concerned about what the Bears can do offensively. I'm not sure they can keep up, so I'm picking the Colts to win by more than 7.
Mel Kiper

Tuesday's Big Question

1. What do you think of Media Day?


Lovie Smith and the Bears were probably more at home on the field than at Media Day.
Forget the Super Bowl. Who wants to watch that tired old exhibition when we've got Media Day to tide us over?

Where else can you see bored coaches dealing with tiresome questions? Or irritated athletes also dealing with tiresome questions? How about "wacky" entertainment reporters desperately trying to be funny? Clearly, this is all much more compelling than some silly game.

SportsNation's memories of Media Day aren't typically fond, although some seemed to legitimately enjoy the craziness.

What is your favorite part of Super Bowl media day?
54% When it's over
17% Awkward/embarrassing questions
13% Answers from bored players
6% Wacky reporter stunts
4% Forlorn backups with no podium

What is the most memorable Media Day moment?
50% 'Hollywood' Henderson says Terry Bradshaw can't spell 'cat'.
18% Shannon Sharpe defends Ray Lewis.
14% Jim Plunkett asked about his blind mother and deaf father.
9% MTV's Downtown Julie Brown at Super Bowl XXV.
9% Ray Buchanan wears dog collar.

From Tuesday's Chicago Bears Media Day chat:

Urlacher seems to be getting a little tired of the comparisons to great Bears of the past like Singletary and Butkus, but he says "It's an honor to play the same position. I have a long way to go to be like them."
Buzzmaster

Grossman just gave an official count: 12 games he was proud of, 6 games he played ''bad''.
Buzzmaster

Buzz, your posts per minute are dangerously low today.
Keith
PA

Sorry. It's a little crazy out here.
Buzzmaster

He must not have very high standards.
Phil
Syracuse, NY

I get sick of people comparing me to the greats of the past as well.
Benji
Cedar Falls, IA

I think Buzz is being distracted by Tank Johnson's arms cache.
Jack
Toronto

I'm behind Tank now. He's got about 60 media folks around him. He has a diamond earing on, a Chanel tattoo, a kickin' black do-rag and dark sunglasses. I wouldn't mess with him.
Buzzmaster

Wow, offensive lineman Olin Kreutz is pretty ticked. He did not want to have a podium today. ''I'm pissed that I have this podium seat. I don't know why they gave me one. I think it's because Mike Brown got hurt and he would have had it. I don't want to have to talk to you all, but I guess I have to deal with it.''
Buzzmaster

Buzz, has anyone asked Rex about his Florida Gators and their National Championship win yet?
Tom
FL

No, but Alex Brown was pretty stoked. ''To have the Gators win both the football and basketball national championships has allowed me to talk noise with the boys all year long. And if we can get a Super Bowl win, with a Gator like Rex Grossman leading my team, that would be the ultimate.''
Buzzmaster

Kreutz must have flunked his Dale Carnegie course.
Jeff
IA

You would think everyone has all the ''Love Smith is a black head coach'' quotes they need but apparently not.
Buzzmaster

From Tuesday's Indianapolis Colts Media Day chat:

So, who has podiums for the Colts besides Manning and Dungy?
Bobby
Chicago, IL

Bob Sanders, Jeff Saturday, Anthony McFarland, Marvin Harrison, Cato June, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Vinatieri.
Buzzmaster

Has Marvin Harrison made a comment that he's about to break his playoff best with a 4-catch, 30-yard outing?
Louis
Montreal

Ouch. He's not saying much. Very quiet, as expected.
Buzzmaster

Vinatieri doesn't get a first name?
Peter
GA

I could have just said V. He's earned it.
Buzzmaster

No podium for Freeney?
Neal
Philadelphia, PA

Yes! I forgot him.
Buzzmaster

Buzz, is there anyone there this year from the David Letterman show?
Jeff
IA

Good question. Haven't seen anyone from the show.
Buzzmaster

Bob Sanders gets the award for sunglasses that cost more than I earn in a year. He's sporting diamond-studded sunglasses at his podium. ''I've been looking forward to breaking these out all season. I've got about 10 pairs of shades in my closet, but it's too cold and gray in Indianapolis to wear them. These are my Super Bowl shades.''
Buzzmaster

Why are Sapp and Strahan in the background?
Erik
St. Pete

Sounds like Buzz is distracted by TV Azteca's reporters.
Keith
NY

I don't know but they moved on to Jeff Saturday when Manning wouldn't acknowledge him.
Buzzmaster

I guess Sapp is here for the NFL Network and Strahan is here for Fox.
Buzzmaster

Monday's Big Question

1. Which team has the positional advantage in Super Bowl XLI?


Brian Urlacher and the Bears' LB corps are a dominant force.
Super Bowl XLI is only a week away, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Everyone's heard the major questions a million times already. Will Peyton choke? Will Good Rex or Bad Rex show up? Do you take the Irresistable Force or the Immovable Object? What about the coaching matchup? We've tried to answer them all in one fell swoop.

See how more than 69,000 SportsNation voters weighed Super Bowl XLI's position-by-position matchups below.

Which team has the edge at quarterback?
94% Colts: Peyton Manning
6% Bears: Rex Grossman

Which team has the edge at running back?
67% Bears: Cedric Benson, Thomas Jones
33% Colts: Joseph Addai, Dominic Rhodes

Which team has the edge at wide receiver?
89% Colts: Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne
11% Bears: Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhammad

Which team has the edge at tight end?
70% Colts: Dallas Clark
30% Bears: Desmond Clark

Which team has the edge on the offensive line?
53% Colts: Ryan Diem, Tarik Glenn, Ryan Lilja, Jeff Saturday, Jake Scott
47% Bears: Ruben Brown, Roberto Garza, Olin Kreutz, Fred Miller, John Tait

Which team has the overall edge in offense?
90% Colts
10% Bears

Which team has the edge on the defensive line?
75% Bears: Alex Brown, Tank Johnson, Adewale Ogunleye, Ian Scott
25% Colts: Raheem Brock, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Anthony McFarland

Which team has the edge at linebacker?
95% Bears: Lance Briggs, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Brian Urlacher
5% Colts: Gilbert Gardner, Cato June, Rob Morris

Which team has the edge at cornerback?
85% Bears: Ricky Manning, Jr., Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher
15% Colts: Jason David, Nick Harper

Which team has the edge at safety?
61% Colts: Antoine Bethea, Bob Sanders
39% Bears: Chris Harris, Danieal Manning

Which team's defense is better against the run?
90% Bears
10% Colts

Which team's defense is better against the pass?
68% Bears
32% Colts

Which team has the better overall defense?
92% Bears
8% Colts

Which team has the edge at kicker?
83% Colts: Adam Vinatieri
17% Bears: Robbie Gould

Which team has the overall edge on special teams?
78% Bears
22% Colts

Which team has the edge at head coach?
65% Colts: Tony Dungy
35% Bears: Lovie Smith

From Rodd Newhouse's Monday Chat:

Can the Bears stop Peyton Manning?
Ben
Kensington, CA

I really think they have a legitimate chance to slow down the Colts, but not stop them. The Colts and Manning really only struggle against 3-4 defenses. The Bears run a 4-3. While I think the Bears' defense is one of the tops in the NFL, I do not think they can stop Manning unless they come up with some different defensive schemes that confuse Manning.
Rodd Newhouse

Hey Rodd, which free agent linebacker do you think will have a bigger game in the Superbowl: Cato June or Lance Briggs?
Tom
Philadelphia, PA

Great question! Both are excellent players, but I have been a Briggs fan for a long time. June is a converted safety who has very good speed and range, but I really like the true LB instincts that I see in Briggs, his ability to fill downhill and his play in space. Both are great, and I would take either, but I'd take Briggs over June right now.
Rodd Newhouse

I am really sick and tired of all the stupid critics of Rex Grossman. All they do is call him inconsistent, Good Rex/Bad Rex, the worst QB to play in a Super Bowl, rash, and all sorts of trash. What people have to realize is that this really is his rookie season and he has done reasonably well. How good was Peyton Manning in his rookie season? Terrible. Now he's an MVP candidate. Watch Rex in years to come.
Chuck
Chicago, IL

Rex is no rookie, though. I am not bashing him either, but he is NO Peyton Manning. Rex does not have a presence/awareness that most of the great quarterbacks have. I mean, how many rookies have ever had as low a passer rating as Grossman?
Rodd Newhouse