Peyton Manning

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Posted by kaori 04/27/2009 @ 00:11

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News headlines
Only Peyton Manning is more irreplaceable than DeMarcus Ware - Dallas Morning News
Some pass-rushers aren't effective against the run -- take Dwight Freeney, who often vacates his gap to try to rush around the offensive tackle to the passer. Ware's not like that. When it comes to stopping the run, the only gap against which the...
One Man Debate: QB Peyton Manning - FakeTeams
by Skeller on Jun 22, 2009 8:00 AM EDT in Football 1 comment More photos » by MICHAEL CONROY - AP FILE - In this Jan 1, 2006 file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, left, talks with offensive coordinator Tom Moore....
Peter King comments on Ryan Leaf and Brandon Marshall - SI.com
"I think Peyton Manning really felt for Ryan Leaf," King said. Manning knew it could have ended up bad for one of them. Dan and King said that Leaf would have been a lot better off if he had been compared to Akili Smith instead of Manning....
Steve Kelley What happened to Ryan Leaf? - Seattle Times
Quarterback who came into the NFL with Peyton Manning has found only disappointment and trouble while Manning found success. Their careers were on parallel planes. Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf were possibly the best one-two quarterback punch ever to...
Peyton Manning passes thoughts on Colts - Boston Herald
By Herald wire services All Peyton Manning wants from the Indianapolis Colts is a game plan. It may take the team a little longer to satisfy the three-time MVP. The front office is trying determine how retired assistants Tom Moore and Howard Mudd will...
Does Eli Manning Deserve to Be the Highest-Paid Player? - New York Times
Peyton Manning's due $29.8 million over the next two. Now McNabb's in line to make exactly $10 million more than Brady in 2009 and '10 combined. You tell me how laughable that is. Brady's not saying a word. His agent, Don Yee, is not saying a word....
Colts' Manning to be Indianapolis pitchman - msnbc.com
Known for his many TV commercials, quarterback Peyton Manning says Indianapolis has been “tremendously supportive” throughout his NFL career. Opened in 1955, Disneyland has offered countless smiles and thrills, undergone a number of changes to keep up...
Peyton Manning, Ball State unveil new youth health campaign - Ball State Daily News
INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning helped launch a campaign with Ball State University and the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent to help fight childhood obesity on Monday. Project 18, dubbed after Manning's...
QB Glennon staying with Wolfpack plan - CharlotteObserver.com
The next time you see Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning making 308 hand signals at the line of scrimmage and milking the play clock to the final second, blame Duke coach David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe was Manning's position coach at Tennessee...
Manning, Ball State team up to help kids - Ball State Daily News
INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning helped launch a campaign with Ball State University and the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent on Monday to help fight childhood obesity. The initiative, dubbed Project 18...

Peyton Manning

Manning cropped.jpg

Peyton Williams Manning (born March 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American football quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. One of only two three-time NFL MVPs, he is statistically one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He was drafted by the Colts as the first overall pick in 1998 after a standout college football career with the Tennessee Volunteers. The son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, he is the older brother of current New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning holds NFL records for consecutive seasons with over 4,000 yards passing and the most total seasons with 4,000 or more yards passing in a career. Manning holds the highest career passer rating among active quarterbacks and his 94.7 rating puts him second all-time behind only Steve Young. He is the all-time career passing yards and passing touchdowns leader for the Colts franchise.

Since the Colts drafted Manning in 1998, the team has the highest conversion rate on 3rd down (44.6%) and 4th down (61.1%) plays in the NFL. While leading the Colts to their Super Bowl XLI victory in 2006, Manning helped the team to an NFL record by converting 56.1% of its 3rd downs.

Having become the NFL's most marketable player, Manning has appeared in numerous commercials, was featured on the covers of the NFL Fever games for the Xbox, and hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.

Manning attended Isidore Newman High School. He lead his team to a 34-5 record during three seasons as starter. He was named Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player-of-the-Year and Columbus (Ohio) Touchdown Club National Offensive Player-of-the-Year in 1993.

Manning stunned many when he chose to attend the University of Tennessee instead of Ole Miss, his father's alma mater. He became Tennessee's all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards and 89 touchdowns and won 39 of 45 games as a starter, breaking the Southeastern Conference (SEC) record for career wins.

As a freshman, Manning was the third-string quarterback, but injuries to Todd Helton and Jerry Colquitt forced him to take over the Mississippi State game, a 24–21 loss. In his first start, the following week against Washington State, the Vols won, 10–9, and the Vols won all but one of their remaining games, finishing the season 8–4 with a 45–23 victory over Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl.

Manning and the Vols started off the 1995 season with victories over East Carolina and Georgia, before heading off to Gainesville to play the Gators. Against Florida, he threw for 326 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading the Vols to a 30–21 halftime lead. However, the Gators outscored the Vols 41–7 in the second half, winning 62–37. This would be the Vols' only loss of the season, as they won their remaining 8 regular season games, including a 41–14 win over Alabama and then defeated Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl. The Vols ended the season ranked third and Manning came in sixth in Heisman Trophy voting.

The Vols opened the 1996 season ranked second behind Nebraska and one of the favorites to win the national championship. However, after winning their first two games against UNLV and UCLA, the Vols again lost to Florida, 35–29, with Manning throwing four interceptions. After winning their next four games, the Vols were upset by Memphis, despite Manning passing for 296 yards. The Vols won the remainder of their games, including a 48–28 win in the Citrus Bowl over Northwestern, a game in which Manning passed for 408 yards and 4 touchdowns; he was named the game's MVP.

Manning completed his degree in three years, and was projected to be the top overall pick in the NFL Draft, but returned to Tennessee for his senior year. In his senior season, the Vols opened the season with victories against Texas Tech and UCLA, but for the third time in his career, Manning fell to Florida, 33–20. The Vols won the rest of their regular season games, finishing 10–1, and advanced to the SEC Championship game against Auburn. Down 20–7, Manning led the Vols to a 30–29 victory. Throwing for 4 touchdowns, he was named the game's MVP, but injured himself in the process. The 3rd-ranked Vols were matched-up with 2nd-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl; if Tennessee won and top-ranked Michigan lost to Washington State in the Rose Bowl, the Vols would win the national championship. However, the Vols' defense could not stop Nebraska's rushing attack, giving up over 400 rushing yards in a 42–17 loss. As a senior, Manning won numerous awards; he was a consensus First-team All-American, the Maxwell Award winner, the Davey O'Brien Award winner, the Johnny Unitas Award winner, and the Best College Player ESPY Award winner, among others; however, he did not win the Heisman, finishing runner-up to Charles Woodson. In 2005, Tennessee retired Manning's number (#16). One of the streets leading to Neyland Stadium has been re-named Peyton Manning Pass.

Manning was selected first overall in the 1998 draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In his rookie season, he passed for 3,739 yards with 26 touchdowns, set five different NFL rookie records, including most touchdown passes in a season, and was named to the NFL All-Rookie First Team. Manning's first win came against fellow rookie quarterback Ryan Leaf, 17–12 over the Chargers. Weeks later, Manning faced off against Steve Young; he threw three touchdowns, tying a Colts rookie record, but the 49ers kicked a late field goal to win, 34–31. In November against the Jets, Manning threw for three touchdowns in a 24–23 win; he was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for this performance. It was the first game-winning drive of Manning's career, as he hit Marcus Pollard with the game-winning TD pass. The Colts lost many close games, including five games in which they had led by double-digits at some point, and finished 3–13.

The Colts opened the 1999 season with a 31–14 victory over Buffalo, but gave up a 28–7 lead the following week against the Patriots and lost. After defeating San Diego 27–19 in a game in which Manning threw for over 400 yards, and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for they lost again, to Miami. The Colts responded by winning 11 of their remaining 12 games, finishing 13–3 and the AFC East champions. The 10 game turnaround from the previous year set an NFL record. As the second seed in the AFC, the Colts earned a first round bye, and faced Tennessee in the play-offs. The Colts lost 19–16 to the Super Bowl bound Titans and Manning was held without a touchdown. Manning finished the year with 4,135 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns, and was named both Second-team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl, both firsts for him. In the Pro Bowl, he passed for 270 yards with 2 touchdowns.

The Colts started off the 2000 season inconsistent. Following an opening week victory against Kansas City, they blew a 21–0 lead against the Raiders. The Colts responded with a Monday Night victory against Jacksonville, a 43–14 win in which Manning threw for 430 yards and 4 touchdowns; Manning was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for this performance. The Colts won 4 of their next 5 games, including one against New England in which Manning posted the first perfect passer rating of his career, but then lost 4 of the 5 games following that. The Colts regained their momentum, winning their final 3 games, including a 31–10 win over Minnesota on Week 17. Manning threw for 4 touchdowns in the win and was again named AFC Offensive Player of the Week and the win gave the Colts a 10-6 record as well as a wild card spot in the play-offs. In the wild card game, the Colts fell to the Dolphins, 23–17 in overtime. Manning passed for 194 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He finished the season with 4,413 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns and was named Second-team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl. At the Pro Bowl, Manning threw two touchdown passes.

During the 2001 season, Manning and the Colts introduced the league to their now-signature no-huddle offense, and used it to great effect in a Week 1 rout of the Jets, 45–24. The next week, the Colts advanced to 2–0 with a win over Buffalo, behind Manning's 421 yards passing. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for this game. However, the Colts lost the following week to New England, and continued their slide losing their following two games. The Colts briefly rebounded, winning two games, but then lost seven of their last nine, finishing the season 6–10. Despite the poor record, Manning finished the season with 4,131 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns.

The Colts started off the 2002 season 4–1, before a 3 game losing streak sent them to 4–4. The Colts responded by winning all but two of their remaining games, including a 35–13 upset of the Eagles in which Manning had a perfect quarterback rating for the second time in his career, giving them a 10–6 record and a spot in the play-offs. However, the Colts were pummeled by the Jets in the Wild Card game, 41–0, with Manning passing for only 137 yards. He finished the year with 4,200 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl team. In the Pro Bowl, Manning completed five of eleven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

The 2003 Colts began the season 5–0, including a 55–21 blowout of the Saints in which Manning played his third perfect game, earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. After an overtime loss to Carolina, the Colts won all but three of their remaining games, finishing 12–4. In a Week 14 win against Atlanta, Manning threw for five touchdowns and was named player of the week a second time. He also earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors for the month of October. In the Wild Card playoff round Manning and the Colts defeated the Denver Broncos 41–10, his first playoff win. He passed for 377 yards and 5 touchdowns in the game, earning him a perfect passer rating, his second of the season and the fourth of his career. After the game, Manning was awarded Player of the Week honors for the third time that season. In the divisional playoffs, Manning led the Colts to a 38–31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. In the AFC title game Manning was shut down by the New England Patriots defense and posted the third lowest passer rating of his career at 35.5. The Patriots defense intercepted Manning four times and sacked him another four, as the Colts lost the game 24–14. During the season, Manning was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for September and was named the AP NFL co-MVP along with Titans quarterback Steve McNair. Manning also received the ESPY Award for Best NFL Player. Manning led the league with 4,267 passing yards and threw 29 touchdowns; he was named First-team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl. He passed for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Pro Bowl, a 55–52 loss.

The 2004 Colts opened the season with a 27–24 loss to the Patriots, after Mike Vanderjagt missed a potentially game tying field goal in the closing seconds of the game. The Colts won their next four games including a 45–31 win over Green Bay in which Manning threw 5 touchdowns, earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, but then lost their next two games, to Jacksonville and Kansas City, despite Manning throwing for 840 yards combined in the two games. The Colts responded well, winning their next 8 games before losing their final regular season game to Denver, a game in which Manning played only one series. During the month of November, Manning was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week twice; once for his 5 touchdown performance in a 49–14 blowout of Houston and once for his performance in a 41–9 win at Detroit in which he threw 6 touchdowns in less than three quarters. Due to his performances in November, Manning earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for a fourth time in the week 16 game against San Diego where he led the Colts to a 34–31 victory after trailing by fifteen in the fourth quarter.

During the season, Manning threw for 4,557 yards, had a record 121.1 quarterback rating and 49 touchdowns, which was also a record (since broken)., He was selected as the 2004 NFL MVP drawing 49 of 50 votes, was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year and was named the Best NFL Player at the ESPY Awards for the second consecutive year; Manning also received the ESPY Award for Best Record-Breaking Performance for his 49 touchdown passes. The Colts finished the season with a 12–4 record and their second straight AFC South title. They were the third seed in the AFC. Three Colts receivers had 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns that season.

In the Wild Card game against Denver, Manning passed for 458 yards and 4 touchdowns. However, the Colts' 2004 season ended in Foxborough for a second straight year with a 20–3 loss against New England, when Manning recorded a season-low passer rating of 69.3. It was Manning's seventh consecutive loss to the Patriots in Foxborough and the Colts' three points were their lowest single game point total since their opening game of the 2003 season. Manning was named a Pro Bowl starter; in the Pro Bowl, he threw 3 touchdowns in a 38–27 victory and was named the game's MVP. Manning was also a unanimous First-team All-Pro selection.

In 2005, the Colts had a greatly improved defense over that of recent years. Combining this with their offense, they won their first 13 games, including a 40–21 rout of the two-time defending Super Bowl Champions, New England. This was Manning's first road win against the Patriots in 8 attempts, and his 3 touchdowns passes earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. By week 15, the Colts had a perfect 13–0 record, and had secured the AFC South and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Nevertheless, Tony Dungy made the decision to play all of his regular starters against the Chargers. However, the Colts played a sub-par game against the Chargers and fell short of the win; the score was 26–17. Manning finished the season with 3,747 passing yards, the first time he had thrown for under 4,000 yards since his rookie season of 1998, largely due to the fact that Manning sat out much of the final two games with the top AFC seed clinched. His quarterback rating of 104.1 was the highest in the league for the season.

In the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers visited the RCA Dome for the second AFC divisional playoff game of the 2005 season. In the 4th quarter with only a few minutes left in the game, Manning threw what looked to be the game-ending interception to Troy Polamalu, but the interception was overturned (a call the NFL later admitted was incorrect). The Colts went on to score, and were able to get the ball back down three points near the end of the game. On 4th down, Manning was sacked near his own goal line, and the game seemed to be over as the Steelers were one yard from a touchdown. On the next play, the ball was fumbled by Jerome Bettis and picked up by Colts defender Nick Harper who appeared to have a clear path down the sideline for what might have been the game-winning score. However, Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger managed to dive in front of Harper and tackle him by the leg, saving a touchdown. Then the Colts drove down the field to the Steelers 27 yard line, before Mike Vanderjagt missed a field goal as time ran out.

Manning came in second in voting for the MVP award to Shaun Alexander ending his streak at two years. He was named the 2005 winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and nominated for the FedEx Air Player of the Year Award, along with Tom Brady and Carson Palmer. Manning was also named First-team All-Pro for the third consecutive year and named to the Pro Bowl squad; in the Pro Bowl, he threw one touchdown pass and three interceptions.

The Colts started the 2006 season 9–0, including victories against Houston and Washington in weeks 2 and 7 that earned Manning AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, and a week 9 victory over New England. Manning was also named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after a week 17 victory against Miami. The Colts finished the season 12–4 and the AFC South Champions, and entered the play-offs as the number 3 seed. Manning ended the regular season with 4,397 passing yards and a league-leading 31 touchdown passes. His quarterback rating (101.0) was the highest in the league for the third year in a row.

Manning's Colts defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the playoffs by a score of 23–8, then won their game against the Baltimore Ravens, 15–6. In the AFC Championship game, the Colts trailed 21–3 before coming back to defeat the Patriots for the title by a score of 38–34. Late in the fourth quarter, Manning led an 80 yard touchdown drive to take the lead and finished with 349 passing yards and two touchdowns. The comeback was the largest deficit ever overcome in a conference championship.

Manning led the Colts to a 29–17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI and was voted the Super Bowl MVP. Manning, who had been criticized for failing to win big games, exorcised his big-game demons with the win. "In years' past when our team's come up short, it's been disappointing," he told reporters. "Somehow we found a way to have learned from some of those losses and we've been a better team because of it." For his role in the Colts' championship run, Manning was awarded the ESPY for Best Championship Performance. Manning was again named to the Pro Bowl and was also named Second-team All-Pro; in the Pro Bowl he played only two series, passing for 67 yards. Following the Super Bowl win, Manning agreed to restructure his contract to save the Colts $8.2 million in salary cap space.

Manning's Colts opened the NFL season with 7 wins, pitting them against an undefeated Patriots squad in a match-up that was being called "Super Bowl 41.5". Manning and Addai helped the Colts to a 13–7 half-time lead, and an early fourth quarter touchdown upped the lead to 20–10. However, Brady led the Patriots to two late touchdowns, to hand Manning his first loss of the season, 24–20. Manning finished the game with 225 yards passing, including a passing touchdown. He also had a rushing touchdown.

Manning did not bounce back from the loss well. Against the San Diego Chargers he threw for a career-worst and franchise-record 6 interceptions. Despite this, he was able to rally the Colts from a 23–0 deficit to 23–21, and gave Adam Vinatieri an opportunity to take the lead with a 29-yard field goal. Vinatieri's miss sunk the Colts to 7–2. Manning did not play particularly well against the Kansas City Chiefs either, throwing no touchdowns. However, he managed to lead the Colts on a late drive for a game-winning field goal, rushing for two yards on 4th and 1 in the process. Manning finished the game with 163 passing yards, allowing him to overtake 40,000 in his career. The victory was Manning's 100th. The Colts won their next 5 games, securing them with yet another AFC South title, as well as the AFC's number two seed in the play-offs. In the final game of the season, Manning played only two series before being replaced with back-up Jim Sorgi; the Colts lost the game to the Titans, 16–10. Manning finished the season with 4,040 passing yards, 31 touchdown passes, and a quarterback rating of 98.0. In the divisional round of the playoffs, Manning and the Colts lost to the Chargers, 28–24. Manning helped the Colts to 4 different leads but could not lead a final touchdown drive for the win. Manning finished the game with 402 yards passing and 3 passing touchdowns. Manning was named a Pro Bowl starter and passed for 147 yards and a touchdown in three series.

On July 14, 2008, Manning had surgery to remove an infected bursa sac in his left knee. Manning, who had worn a knee brace due to problems since he was in college, sat out all four preseason games and missed most of training camp.

In the first regular season game at new Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts lost 29–13 to the Chicago Bears. The following week they fell behind 15–0 to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2nd half before rallying to win the game on Adam Vinatieri's 47 yard field goal. Manning passed for 311 yards as the Colts avoided their first 0–2 start since Manning's rookie season.

Week 3 matched the Colts with division rival Jacksonville. Manning threw 2 interceptions in the game, including one that was returned for a TD by Rashean Mathis. Jacksonville rushed for 236 yards and held the ball for over 41 minutes. Still, trailing by 6 late in the game Manning led the Colts on a 77-yard TD drive to take a 21-20 lead. Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee made a 51 yard field goal to win the game and drop the Colts to 1–2.

For the third week in a row, Manning used the 4th quarter to bring the Colts back from a 27–10 deficit in the last 5 minutes against the Houston Texans to a 31–27 victory. It was the first time an NFL team had won a game in regulation after trailing by 17 points in the last 5 minutes. Manning threw a 7 yard TD pass on 4th & 6 to rookie tight end Tom Santi to make the deficit 27–17. Houston QB Sage Rosenfels, starting for the injured Matt Schaub, then fumbled the ball on a scramble, and it was returned 68 yards for a TD by Gary Brackett. After another Rosenfels fumble, Manning threw the 5-yard game-winning TD pass to Reggie Wayne. The Colts scored 3 TDs in 2:10.

On October 12 Manning led the Colts to a 31–3 blow out win at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens to avoid their first 0–3 start at home since 1997. The win moved Manning past Terry Bradshaw on the all-time wins list with 108. Manning was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the 17th time in his career for his effort of 3 TD passes and 271 yards passing. It was revealed during the game by CBS commentators Jim Nantz and Phil Simms that Manning had a second surgery on his knee before the season started. Colts coach Tony Dungy confirmed this report the day after the Baltimore game.

The Colts suffered their largest margin of defeat, 34–14, in Green Bay the following week. Manning threw 2 interceptions that were returned for touchdowns (2nd time in career; 1st was 9/30/01 vs. New England Patriots). The next week the Colts went into Tennessee on Monday Night Football to face the 6–0 Titans. They led 14–6 in the 3rd quarter, but Tennessee scored 25 unanswered for a 31–21 victory and almost assured the Colts they would not win the AFC South division title for the first time in 6 seasons. At 3–4 the Colts opened up November with their annual showdown against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. The game lacked the luster the rivalry has carried, as there was no Tom Brady, no undefeated season on the line, and neither team was in 1st place of their division. Still, the game was close all the way. Tied at 15 in the 4th quarter, Manning set up Adam Vinatieri for a 52 yard field goal that proved to be the winning points in an 18–15 victory. Manning completed 21 of 29 passes for 254 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Colts were 4–4 halfway through the season and still alive in the AFC playoff race.

At San Diego, Manning completed 32 of 44 for 255 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT in a 23-20 victory. The interception snapped his streak of 140 pass attempts without an interception, the longest streak of his career. After the Chargers rallied from a 10 point deficit in the 4th to tie the game at 20, Manning led the game-winning drive by completing a 14 yard pass to Marvin Harrison on 4th and inches at midfield. Adam Vinateri kicked the winning 51 yard field goal three plays later. It was Manning's 5th game-winning drive in the 4th quarter this season. The win snapped a 3-game losing streak to the Chargers. Manning passed for a season-low 125 yards at Cleveland, but the Colts won their 5th straight game, by a final of 10–6.

In a 35-3 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals, Manning threw 3 TD passes while completing 26 of 32 passes for 277 yards. It marked the 11th straight season Manning had thrown at least 20 TD passes, the 2nd longest streak ever. Against the 0–13 Detroit Lions, the Colts found themselves in a 21–21 game in the 4th quarter. Manning led his 6th game-winning drive of the season and the Colts pulled away 31-21. It marked their 7th straight win, 7th straight season with 10+ wins, and they became the only team in NFL history to have a winning streak of at least 7 games in 5 straight seasons. Manning completed 28 of 37 passes for 318 yards and 1 TD.

Needing a win to clinch the 5th seed in the playoffs, Manning had one of his best career performances in Jacksonville on Thursday Night Football. He completed his first 17 passes of the game. In addition to completing his last 6 against Detroit, Manning's 23 straight completions fell one shy of the NFL record (Donovan McNabb - 24). The Colts trailed 14-0 in the first half and 24-14 to start the 4th quarter. Manning led his 7th 4th quarter comeback of the season and the Colts put the game away with a defensive TD for a 31-24 victory to clinch a 7th consecutive playoff berth. Manning completed 29 of 34 passes (85.7%) for 364 yards and 3 TDs. It increased his NFL record streak of seasons with 25 TD passes to 11. Manning and the Colts tied a NFL record by winning 3 games in a season in which they trailed by at least 14 points. For his efforts Manning won AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time in 2008. It was the 19th time he has won the award, passing Dan Marino for the most all-time since the award was originated in 1984. He also was selected as the FedEx Air Player of the Week. With the playoff seed secured, Manning only played the opening drive against the Titans in Week 17. He completed all 7 of his passes for 95 yards and a TD, extending his NFL record to nine seasons with 4000 yards passing, and also extended the record to a sixth straight season he led the Colts to at least 12 wins. At the end of the 2008 season, Manning was named NFL MVP for the 3rd time, tying Brett Favre for the most MVP awards in NFL history.

Manning's pre-snap routine has become one of the most recognizable scenes in the NFL. Prior to each play in a football game, the offensive team generally huddles. In the huddle, the quarterback tells the other players what play they will run. Manning and the Colts skip the huddle, instead choosing to line up without a play called, known as a hurry-up offense. Once the Colts are lined up, Manning examines the opposing team's defense and chooses a play that he believes will be successful. After he makes his decision, Manning communicates this play to the rest of the team through a series of audibles in the form of verbal and hand signals. In order to prevent the other team from determining what each of the signals means, Manning includes numerous fake signals that do not change the play. Under this play-calling system, the Colts have maintained a strong offense.

Manning married his wife Ashley in Memphis on St. Patrick's Day in 2001. Ashley was introduced to him by her parents' next-door neighbor the summer before Manning's freshman year in college.

During the summer, Archie, Peyton, Eli, and Cooper run the Manning Passing Academy, a five day camp which aims to improve the offensive skills of quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs. In addition to the Mannings, the camp has included many prominent players from football as coaches, such as Colts wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Peyton, along with Archie, authored a book entitled Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy, which was released in 2000. The book covers Archie's and Cooper's lives and careers, and Peyton's life and career up to the time that the book was released, and examines football from both Archie's and Peyton's points-of-view.

Manning has donated over $8,000 to Republican politicians, among them Fred Thompson, Bob Corker, and President George W. Bush.

Manning has become the NFL's most marketable player, appearing in several television and printed advertisements for some of the NFL's biggest sponsors. Manning is recognized as a pitchman for the following companies: Sprint, Sony, MasterCard, Gatorade, DirecTV, H.H. Gregg, and the American Red Cross. Manning also was the spokesman for Xbox's NFL Fever games, and was featured on the covers of the games.

Manning made an appearance on Satuday Night Live's sports extra in 2008 in which he was in a children's football scene, and a high school basketball scene. An ESPN This is SportsCenter ad from 2006 features the entire Manning family; parents Archie and Olivia, with their sons Peyton, Eli and Cooper, touring the SportCenter studios with Peyton and Eli engaging in horseplay behind everybody.

He was also featured in one of a series of DirecTV commercials where celebrities are seen in their element, then suddenly begin addressing the viewer. In his commercial they parodied his pre-snap audible routine and known delay in calling for the ball by having him pitch NFL Sunday Ticket instead of changing the play during a blowout game against the Tennessee Titans. Manning also appears in advertisements for St. Mary's Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Manning also hosted Saturday Night Live with musical guest Carrie Underwood on March 24, 2007, his 31st birthday. The episode earned the show's highest household rating in more than 10 months in the metered markets. During his opening, he alluded to his most-marketable status by joking that he had accomplished two of his life goals: his team, the Colts, winning a Super Bowl and his appearance on over half of America's television commercials. He has also won "Favorite Male Athlete" for the Kids Choice Awards. On May 27, 2007 Manning waved the green flag to begin the 91st Indianapolis 500.

Shortly after beginning his NFL career, Manning started his own charity, the Peyback Foundation. The Peyback Foundation's mission is to help disadvantaged kids, and focuses its efforts in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Indiana.

On September, 2007, St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed its children's hospital to "Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent." Manning and his wife made a donation of an undisclosed amount to St. Vincent's and have had a relationship with the hospital since his arrival in Indianapolis.

Additionally, Manning has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month three times (9/2003, 11/2004, 10/2006) and Offensive Player of the Week on 19 occasions (18 AFC, 1 NFL/playoff).

Manning holds the post season NFL record rating of 145.7 in a 400 yard game.

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Tennessee Volunteers football

Tennessee Football has seen moderate success since the 1998 National Championship.

The Tennessee Volunteers football team, is the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), NCAA Division I football team. The team is a member of the Southeastern Conference. They play their home games at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. Their last national championship was in the 1998 college football season.

On November 3, then-Head Coach Phillip Fulmer announced that he would be stepping down from his position as head coach at the end of the 2008 season after winning 152 games at his alma mater.

On November 30, 2008, UT announced that Lane Kiffin (Oakland Raiders former head coach) had been selected to replace Phillip Fulmer.

Tennessee's football program began in 1891, but the program's first win would not be recorded until the following season. On October 15, 1892 The football team defeated Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee by the score of 25–0. Tennessee would compete their first 5 seasons without a coach. In 1899, J. A. Pierce became the first head coach of the team. The team had several coaches with short tenures until Zora G. Clevenger took over in 1911.

In 1921, Shields-Watkins field was built. The new home of the Vols was named after William S. Shields and his wife Alice Watkins Shields, the financial backers of the field. The field had bleachers that could seat 3,200 and had been used for baseball the prior year.

In 1922, the team began to wear orange jerseys for the first time.

Neyland quickly surpassed the Nashville school which had been dominating football in Tennessee. He also scored a surprise upset victory over heavily favored Alabama in 1928. Neyland captured the school's first Southern Conference title in 1927, on only his second year on the job. In 1929, Gene McEver became the football program's first ever All-America. He led the nation in scoring, and his 130 points still remains as the school record.

In the 1930s, Tennessee saw many more firsts. They played in the New York City Charity Game on December 5, 1931, the program's first ever bowl game. They scored a 13–0 victory over New York University, being led by Herman Hickman. Hickman's performance in the game caught the eye of Grantland Rice, and Hickman was added to Rice's All American team. Hickman would later play professionally in New York, for football's Brooklyn Dodgers. After the 1932 season, Tennessee joined the Southeastern Conference, setting the stage for years of new rivalries. Captain Neyland led the Vols to a 76–7–5 record from 1926 to 1934. After the 1934 season, Neyland was called into military service at Panama. This period saw the Vols rattle off undefeated streaks of 33, 28 and 14 games.

Tennessee struggled to a losing record during Neyland's time in Panama. He returned to find a rebuilding project in 1936. In 1936 and 1937, the Vols won six games each season. However, in 1938, Neyland's Vols began one of the more impressive streaks in NCAA football history. The 1938 Tennessee Volunteers football team won the school's first National Championship and earned a trip to the Orange Bowl, the team's first major bowl. They outscored their opponents 283–16. The 1939 regular season was even more impressive. The 1939 team was the last NCAA team ever to hold their opponents scoreless for an entire regular season. Surprisingly, the Vols did not earn a national title that year, but did earn a trip to the famed Rose Bowl. They lost that game 14–0 to Southern California. The 1940 Vols put together a third consecutive undefeated regular season. That team earned a National title from two minor polls, and received the school's first bid to the Sugar Bowl, where they lost to Boston College. After the 1940 season, Neyland was again pressed into military service, this time for World War II. His successor, John Barnhill did well in his absence, going 32-5-2 during the war years of 1941 to 1945. The Vols did not field a team in 1943 due to the war. This was the last season that the Vols missed.

After World War II, Neyland retired from the military. He returned to Knoxville with the rank of General Officer and led the Vols to more success. From 1946 to 1952, Neyland's Vols had a record of 54–17–4. They won conference titles in 1946 and 1951, and National titles in 1950 and 1951. The 1951 team featured Hank Lauricella, that season's Heisman Trophy runner up, and Doug Atkins, a future college football and Pro Football Hall of Fame performer. Neyland retired due to poor health in 1952, and took the position of athletic director. The Vols would see spotty success for some 40 years after that, but it would be the late 90's before the Tennessee program had similar winning percentages.

Wyatt, who had been a hall of fame player for Neyland, struggled at Tennessee. He won more than 6 games only twice, in 1956 and 1957. The 1956 team did win an SEC Championship, going 10–1, but Wyatt's team never returned to a bowl game after the 1957 season. Assistant James McDonald took over for Wyatt in 1963, going 5–5.

Before the 1962 season, on March 28, 1962, General Neyland died in New Orleans, Louisiana. Shields-Watkins Field was then presented with a new name: Neyland Stadium. The stadium was dedicated at the 1962 Alabama game, and by that time had expanded to 52,227 seats. Incidentally, Neyland had a hand in designing the expansion efforts for the stadium while he was athletic director. His plans were so forward looking that they were used for every expansion until 1996, when the stadium was expanded to 102,544 seats.

Doug Dickey, who had been an assistant at Arkansas under Frank Broyles, replaced McDonald in 1964. Dickey was entrusted with rebuilding the program, and his six seasons at the school saw considerable change. Dickey scrapped the single wing formation and replaced it with the more modern T-Formation offense, in which the quarterback takes the snap "under center." He also changed the helmets of the Vols, removing the numbers from the side and replacing them with a "T." His third change, like the change of the helmets, still remains today. Dickey worked with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band to create a unique pregame entrance for the football squad. The band would open a block T with its base at the locker room tunnel. The team would then run through the T to the sideline. The T was reoriented in the 1980s when the locker room was moved behind the north end zone, and the entrance remains a prized tradition of the football program.

Dickey had some success in his six seasons as a Vol. He led Tennessee to a 46–15–4 record and captured SEC titles in 1967 and 1969. The 1967 team was awarded the National Championship by Litkenhous polling.

Following the 1969 season, Dickey left Tennessee to coach at his alma mater, the University of Florida. He would later return to Tennessee as the Athletic Director. Dickey was replaced by Bill Battle. Battle was a 28 year old coach from Alabama, and was the youngest head coach in the country at the time that he took over. Battle won at least 10 games in his first three seasons; however, he lost to Auburn in each of those seasons. Therefore, he did not win a conference title, and would not do so during his time as head coach.

Johnny Majors won a National Championship at Pittsburgh in 1976, but decided that the job at Tennessee was too good to pass up. Majors replaced Battle in 1977, on the heels of two five loss seasons. Majors would go on to lose his first game as head coach to the University of California, by a score of 27–17, in Knoxville. Majors struggled his first four seasons going 4–7, 5–5–1, 7–5, and 5–6. His teams saw mild success in 1981, going to the Garden State Bowl and going 8–4; and in 1983 winning the Citrus Bowl and going 9–3.

Majors later led the Vols to a resurgence following their losing season in 1988. The 1988 Vols lost their first 6 games and went on to finish with a 5–6 record. The Vols followed that effort with back-to-back SEC titles in 1989 and 1990 (although the University of Florida technically won in 1990, they were ineligible due to sanctions). The Vols played on a January 1 bowl game every season in the early 90's under Majors. However, in the Fall of 1992, Majors suffered heart problems. He missed the early part of the season. Interim coach Phillip Fulmer took over and scored upsets over Georgia and Florida. Majors returned and lost three straight conference games to Arkansas, Alabama, and South Carolina. The Alabama loss on the Third Saturday in October cut the deepest as the Vols had lost seven in a row to the Crimson Tide. The administration decided to make a change after the regular season. Majors was forced to resign and Fulmer took over before the Hall of Fame Bowl.

1994 saw a down turn in the record of the Vols, but events shaped the bright future of the program. Starting quarterback Jerry Colquitt suffered a season ending knee injury in the first series of the season against UCLA. Backup Todd Helton suffered a similar fate early in the fourth game of the year at Mississippi State requiring backups Brandon Stewart and Peyton Manning to take action. The following week freshman quarterback Peyton Manning would take over the controls and not let go until he departed to the NFL. Manning would be a 4-year starter for the Vols, and he led them to an 8–4 record in 1994. The next season, Manning led the Vols to a 41–14 win over Alabama, breaking the long winless streak. The only loss of the 1995 season was a 62–37 loss to Florida. The loss to the Gators was the 3rd in a row, and would prove to be the major hurdle between the Vols and the National title.

The Vols would put together 11–1, 10–2, and 11–2 seasons in the final three seasons with Manning as quarterback. Manning entered his senior season as a solid favorite for the Heisman Trophy. The trophy would eventually be awarded to Charles Woodson of Michigan, setting off an uproar among the fans. Manning did lead the Vols to an SEC title in 1997, before losing his final game to eventual National Champion Nebraska.

After 3 seasons with high expectations, the Vols faced a new task. Tennessee was expected to have a slight fall off after their conference championship the previous season. They lost QB Peyton Manning, WR's Marcus Nash and Andy McCullough, and LB Leonard Little to the NFL. Manning was the first pick overall in the 1998 NFL Draft. They were also coming off of a 42–17 loss to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, and were in the midst of a 5 game losing streak to their rivals the Florida Gators.

However, the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers football team would prove to exceed all expectation. Led by new quarterback Tee Martin, All American linebacker Al Wilson, and Peerless Price, the Vols captured another National title and would win the first ever BCS Title game against Florida State. They finished the season 13–0, ending a remarkable run of 45–5 in 4 years. Those four seasons, the Vols were led by Fulmer, Offensive Coordinator David Cutcliffe and Defensive Coordinator John Chavis. Cutcliffe took over at Ole Miss as a head coach following the 1998 regular season.

Since 1998, the Vols have made three trips to the SEC Championship Game: 2001, 2004, and 2007. The 2001 team beat then head coach Steve Spurrier and Florida in the Swamp 34–32, moving them up to #2 in most polls and giving them a shot at the BCS title game in the Rose Bowl vs Miami. But they would lose to underdog #21 LSU in the SEC Championship Game. In 2005, the team suffered its first losing season since 1988, going 5–6, fielding a nationally-ranked defense but an anemic offense. Cutcliffe returned to the Vols as offensive coordinator before the 2006 season, which reunited the successful group of Fulmer, Chavis and Cutcliffe. Tennessee rebounded to go 9–3 in the 2006 regular season, losing two heartbreakers at home to Florida and LSU. This earned a spot in the 2007 Outback Bowl, where they lost to underdog Penn State, 20–10. The 2007 season was the first in team history in which the Volunteers allowed 40 or more points in more than one game (3 times). The Vol's defense did considerably better than expected with help from Seniors Xavier Mitchell, Antonio Reynolds, and Jerod Mayo, and also from Frshman Eric Berry. They would eventually win the SEC Eastern Division title and would go on to play eventual National Champion LSU Tigers. The Vols would lose to the Tigers 21-14. After the SEC Championship, the Vols were invited to play the University of Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2008.

On January 11, 2008, it was announced that Dave Clawson had been hired as the new offensive coordinator for the Vols by head coach Phillip Fulmer. He replaced David Cutcliffe, who moved to Duke University as head coach. Jonathan Crompton started at quarterback for the first four games of the 2008 season and went 1–3, after which he was replaced by sophomore Nick Stephens. BJ Coleman is the third quarterback on the roster. Clawson's appointment introduced problems with the Volunteer's offense, leading to one of the worst performing offenses under then-Head Coach Phillip Fulmer's career. The Vols posted a dismal 5-7 record in the 2008 season, resulting in Fulmer's ouster at the end of the season.

On December 1, 2008, Lane Kiffin, former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, was announced as the new head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. It was also reported that once the 2008 NFL regular season ended, Lane's father, Monte Kiffin, would join him in Knoxville. Monte would replace John Chavis as the Volunteers defensive coordinator.

On December 31, 2008, it was announced that former University of Mississippi head coach Ed Orgeron would become associate coach and defensive line coach as well as recruiting coordinator for the Vols. Jim Chaney was also announced as the Vols new offensive coordinator replacing Dave Clawson. Chaney was the tight ends coach for the NFL's Saint Louis Rams, and was the offensive coordinator at Purdue University under Joe Tiller.

Smokey is the mascot of the University of Tennessee sports teams, both men's and women's. There is a live blue tick hound mascot, Smokey IX, which leads the Vols on the field for football games. There is also a costumed mascot that appears at every Vols game, and has won several mascot championships.

Smokey was selected as the mascot for Tennessee after a student poll in 1953. A contest was held by the Pep Club that year. Their desire was to select a coon hound that was native to Tennessee. At halftime of the Mississippi State game that season, several hounds were introduced for voting. "Blue Smokey" was the last, and howled loudly when introduced. The students cheered and Smokey became the mascot. The most successful of the live dogs was Smokey VIII who saw a record of 91–22, two SEC titles and 1 National Championship.

Prior to each home game, the Vols will file out of Stokely Athletic Center, down past the Tennessee Volunteers Wall of Fame, and make their way down Peyton Manning Pass and onto Phillip Fulmer Way. Thousands of fans line the street to shake the players' hands as they walk into Neyland Stadium. Through rain, snow, sleet, or shine, the Vol faithful are always out in full force to root on the Vols as they prepare for battle. The fans are pumped up with Rocky Top played by The Pride of the Southland Band.

The "T" appears two places in Vol tradition. Coach Doug Dickey added the block letter T onto the side of the helmets in his first season in 1964. Johnny Majors modified the T to a more round look in 1977.

The Volunteers also run through another "T." This T is formed by the Pride of the Southland marching band with its base at the entrance to the Tennessee locker room in the North endzone. The team makes a left turn inside the T and runs toward their bench on the east sideline. When Coach Dickey brought this tradition to Tennessee in 1965, the Vols locker room was underneath the West stands. The Vols would run through that T and turn back to return to their sideline. The locker room change was made in 1983.

Tennessee first sported the famous checkerboard design in the mid sixties. They brought the design back in 1989. This tradition was also started by Dickey in 1964, and remained until artificial turf was installed at Neyland Stadium.

The checkerboard was bordered in orange from 1989 until natural grass replaced the artificial turf in 1994. The return of natural grass brought with it the return of the green (or grass colored) border that exists today.

The Orange and White colors worn by the football team were selected by Charles Moore, a member of the very first football squad in 1891. They were from the American Daisy which grew on The Hill, the home of most of the classrooms at the university.

The Orange is distinct to the school, and has been offered by The Home Depot for sale as a paint, licensed by the university. The home games at Neyland Stadium have been described as a "Sea of Orange" due to the large number of fans wearing the school color.

The color is Spot color PMS 151 as described by the University.

Around 200 or more boats usually park outside Neyland Stadium on the Tennessee River before games. The fleet was started by former Tennessee broadcaster George Mooney who parked his boat there first in 1962. Tennessee, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Washington are the only schools with their football stadiums built next to major bodies of water.

Rocky Top is not the official Tennessee fight song, but is the most popular in use by the Pride of the Southland Marching Band. The Band began playing the fight song during the 1970s after it became popular as a Bluegrass tune by the Osborne Brothers. The fight song is widely recognized as one of the most hated by opponents in collegiate sports. For more info see: Rocky Top.

The Volunteers (or Vols as it is commonly shortened to) derive that nickname from the State of Tennessee's nickname. Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State," a nickname it earned during the War of 1812, in which volunteer soldiers from Tennessee played a prominent role, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.

Tennessee claims 6 national championships. The following is a list of the 6 national championships listed by the Vols. Only four (1938, 1950, 1951, and 1998) were recognized by major polls. The Associated Press has only acknowledged Tennessee as National Champions twice, but the #1 Vols lost in the Sugar Bowl in 1951 after being named AP and UPI National Champions due to the polls being conducted before the bowl season prior to 1968 and 1974 respectively.

Tennessee has won a total of 16 conference championships, including 13 SEC Championships. The Vols are the last team to win back to back SEC championships, in 1997 and 1998.

As winners of the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division, Tennessee has made five appearances in the SEC Championship Game, with the most recent coming in 2007. The Vols are 2–3 in those games. The Vols also shared the Division with Florida and Georgia in two other years, but tie-breakers allowed Florida and Georgia to go to the game in 1993 and 2003 respectively.

Tennessee entered the 2007 season coming off a 9–4 record (5–3 SEC) in 2006. In 2007 the Vols had an up and down year. The Vols had huge losses to Cal, Florida, and Alabama but the 2007 team had a lot of fight. The Vols beat one of the best teams in the country in Georgia 35–14 and secure themselves as SEC East Champions, then lost a heartbreaker in the SEC Championship to LSU 21–14.

Tennessee accepted the bid to play in the Outback Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten Conference. The game was televised by ESPN on New Year's Day. Erik Ainge threw for 365 yards and two touchdowns in his final game for the Vols, who also got a stellar performance from a defense that improved dramatically after early season losses to California and Florida. Ainge completed 25 of 43 passes without a turnover to win MVP honors. Jerod Mayo lead the defense with 13 tackles while Jonathan Hefney ended his career with 8 stops. The Vols defense forced 3 turnovers, had 5 sacks, and possibly played their best game of the year.

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National Football League Most Valuable Player Award

The National Football League Most Valuable Player Award (NFL MVP) is given by various entities, most notably the Associated Press (AP), to the player who is considered most valuable in the league. The AP NFL MVP has been shared three times, in 1960, 1997, and 2003. Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning all won the award three times in their careers, the most of any NFL players.

In the early afternoon, EST, on January 2, 2009, the AP released its second list of the Associated Press Most Valuable Players of the day. It listed winners from 1961 to the current winner, Peyton Manning. Presently the Associated Press is maintaining that the MVP award began in 1961. It is possible that this is a reaction to an article published at Pro Football Weekly that suggests the AP awards as listed by the AP were incorrect. As recently as the morning (EST) of January, 2, 2009, the AP listed the 1957 MVP as Jim Brown, the 1958 MVP as Gino Marchetti, the 1959 MVP as Charlie Conerly, and the 1960 co-MVPs as Norm Van Brocklin and Joe Schmidt. The Pro Football Weekly.com article disputes the 1958, 1959, and 1960 winners. Since, as the PFW article points out, the AP began using the term "MVP" in 1961, it seems the pre-1960 winners are no longer considered "MVPs" but "Players of the Year".

The NFL awarded the Joe F. Carr Trophy (named after the league president, 1921-39) to the league's MVP from 1938 to 1946.

United Press International gave an NFL Player of the Year Award from 1948 through 1969, excepting 1949-50, and 1952. In 1970 UPI instituted separate awards for the NFC and AFC. In 1975 UPI added a Defensive Player of the Year Award for both the NFC and AFC.

This award ran from 1955 through 1996 and was a poll of NFL players. The award winner is presented with the Jim Thorpe Trophy (not to be confused with collegiate football's Jim Thorpe Award). Beginning in 1997 the Jim Thorpe Trophy was presented by the Jim Thorpe Association, with the winner determined by a "vote of NFLPA representatives".

Beginning in 1954 “The Sporting News” NFL MVP is still in existence. From 1970-79 The Sporting News chose AFC and NFC players of the year, returning to an NFL-wide choice in 1980.

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Super Bowl XLI

Super Bowl XLI logo.svg

This game featured two teams ending long Super Bowl appearance droughts. The Colts made their first appearance in a Super Bowl game since winning Super Bowl V in the 1970 season during the team's tenure in Baltimore; they moved to Indianapolis in 1984. Meanwhile, the Bears made their first appearance since winning Super Bowl XX in the 1985 season. It was only the second time that two pre-expansion era (pre 1960) teams met in the Super Bowl. The first was Super Bowl XIV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was named the game's Most Valuable Player, completing 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown, with one interception. This was Peyton Manning's first Super Bowl title after being one of the league's most dominant quarterbacks throughout his ten-year-old career.

Dolphin Stadium won the bid to host Super Bowl XLI on September 17, 2003 after a campaign against Arizona, Tampa Bay, New York City, and Washington D.C. With this game, the Miami Metropolitan Area tied New Orleans, Louisiana as the city to host the most Super Bowls (9).

This was the fourth Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium, which has also been known as "Joe Robbie Stadium" and "Pro Player Stadium". The venue previously hosted Super Bowls XIII (broadcast on NBC), XXIX (on ABC), and XXXIII (on FOX). Super Bowls II, III, V, X, and XIII were also in Miami, but held at the Miami Orange Bowl.

In February 2006, the NFL and the South Florida Super Bowl XLI Host Committee unveiled the slogan "one game, one dream" for the game, referring to the entire South Florida region working together to present the event. The Super Bowl XLI logo was also unveiled, featuring the colors orange (to represent the sun) and blue (for the ocean). The "I" in the Roman numeral "XLI" was drawn to resemble a pylon placed at each corner of an end zone because "the goal is to get to the game." This year's logo has the same shade of orange as the logo of the host city's home team, the Miami Dolphins. The "XL" part is similar to that of Super Bowl XL's logo.

Chicago finished the season with an NFC best 13-3 record and advanced to the second Super Bowl in franchise history. The team excelled on defense, ranking third in fewest points allowed (255) and second in fewest points allowed per drive. They also ranked second in scoring (427 points), although only tenth in points per offensive drive thanks to a league leading 65 points scored on defensive or special teams plays.

The Bears offense was led by quarterback Rex Grossman, the team's first round draft pick in 2003. Over the previous three seasons, Grossman had played in just 8 regular season games due to injuries, but he recovered to start in all 16 games in 2006. By the end of the season, he finished with 3,193 yards and 23 touchdowns, the most by a Bears quarterback since 1995. Grossman had difficulty avoiding turnovers, however, and threw 20 interceptions and lost five fumbles during the year. In the last seven games of the season, he turned the ball over 18 times. Many fans and sports writers expected head coach Lovie Smith to bench him at some point, but Smith insisted that Grossman would be the starter throughout the entire season.

Receivers Muhsin Muhammad (60 receptions, 863 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Bernard Berrian (51 receptions, 775 yards, 7 touchdowns) provided the main deep threat on the team, along with tight end Desmond Clark, who caught 45 passes for 626 yards and 6 touchdowns. Chicago's running game was led by running backs Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Jones rushed for 1,210 yards and caught 36 passes, while Benson rushed for 647 yards and scored 6 touchdowns.

Chicago's defense allowed the 5th least total yardage, allowed less than 100 yards per game on the ground, and allowed the fewest yards per drive of any NFL team. The line was anchored by Adewale Ogunleye, who had 6.5 sacks, and Pro Bowler Tommie Harris, who recorded 5, along with rookie Mark Anderson, who led the team with 12 sacks. Behind them, two of the three Bears starting linebackers, Lance Briggs, and Brian Urlacher, were selected to the 2007 Pro Bowl. In the secondary, cornerbacks Ricky Manning, Jr. and Charles Tillman each recorded five interceptions.

The loss of Harris to injury after the twelfth game of the season coincided with a decline in defensive performance. Before his loss, the Bears allowed only two opponents to score more than twenty points (23 points to the Arizona Cardinals in week six and 31 to the Miami Dolphins in week 9). After his injury, Chicago opponents scored more than 20 points in six of the seven remaining games, including two of three playoff games. Only the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game were held below 21 points.

The Bears special teams unit was considered by many to be the best in the league. This unit sent 3 players to the Pro Bowl, including special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo, kicker Robbie Gould (who led all NFL kickers with 143 points), and rookie return man Devin Hester, who gained 600 punt return yards with a 12.8 yards per return average, the second highest in the NFL. He also set a league record with 6 touchdowns on special teams.

The Colts's first trip to the Super Bowl in 36 years was the culmination of a nine year long building process. In 1998, they drafted quarterback Peyton Manning to lead the team. Over the next four seasons, Manning, along with other stars such as receiver Marvin Harrison and running back Edgerrin James, turned the Colts into one of the best offensive teams in the NFL, but the team struggled to find consistency on defense and always ended up with either a losing season or elimination from the playoffs in the first round. In 2002, Indianapolis fired head coach Jim Mora and replaced him with Tony Dungy. Dungy had developed one of the best defenses in the NFL while coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it was hoped he could solve the Colts' defensive problems as well.

Over the next four seasons, the Colts won 48 of 64 games, but still could not find much success in the postseason. In 2002, they were blown out 41-0 in the wildcard round by the New York Jets. In 2003, they won their first two playoff games behind impressive offensive performances, and reached the AFC title game. There they lost to the eventual champion New England Patriots 24-14, with Manning throwing four interceptions. In 2004, the Colts had one of the most spectacular offensive seasons in NFL history, scoring 522 points and gaining 6,582 yards, while Manning set NFL records for most touchdown passes and highest passer rating. But again the Patriots defense (and snowy conditions) proved too formidable, as they lost 20-3 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

In 2005, the Colts defense improved, making the team the clear favorites in the NFL. They won the first 13 games of the season and finished with a 14-2 record, while ranking second in the NFL in both points scored and fewest points allowed. But once again they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs, this time to the #6 seeded Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-18. After another disappointing loss, Manning had developed a reputation of being unable to make it to a championship, a reputation that followed him from college after he was unable to win an NCAA title with the Tennessee Volunteers (who won a title the year after he graduated). The Colts lost some key players after the 2005 season, including James, who departed the Colts for the Arizona Cardinals, and kicker Mike Vanderjagt, the NFL's all-time leader in field goal percentage, who left for the Dallas Cowboys.

Still, the Colts remained one of the AFC's top teams in the 2006 NFL season. Manning made the Pro Bowl for the 7th time in his career, completing 362 of 555 passes for 4,397 yards and an NFL best 31 touchdowns, with an additional 4 rushing touchdowns and with only 9 interceptions and 15 sacks. His favorite target was Harrison, who caught 95 passes for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns. Receiver Reggie Wayne was also a major deep threat with 86 receptions for 1,310 yards and 9 touchdowns. Tight ends Ben Utecht and Dallas Clark were also reliable targets, each recording over 30 receptions for over 300 yards. On the ground, rookie running back Joseph Addai led the team with 1,081 yards and 4.8 yards per carry average despite not starting any games in the regular season. He also caught 40 receptions for 325 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. Running back Dominic Rhodes was also a major contributor, rushing for 641 yards and catching 36 passes for 251 yards. The offensive line was led by Pro Bowlers Jeff Saturday and Tarik Glenn. On special teams, the Colts signed kicker Adam Vinatieri to replace Vanderjagt. While Vinatieri's career field goal percentage was lower, the Colts considered him to be an improvement because of his reputation for making "clutch" kicks, a reputation aided by his game winning field goals in Super Bowl XXXVI and Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Indianapolis' defense ranked second in the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (who recorded 9.5 sacks and forced 4 fumbles) were widely considered to be among the best pass-rushing defensive ends in the NFL. Behind them, linebacker Cato June led the team in tackles (92) and interceptions (3). The Colts run defense, however, was a major problem, giving up 2,768 yards on the ground, an average of 173 per game and last in the NFL. Another major issue for the Colts was their coverage teams, as they ranked #30 out of 32 teams in average kickoff return yardage allowed and #31 in average punt return yardage allowed.

Indianapolis started out the season winning their first nine games, but ended up losing four of their next seven and finished with a 12-4 record, giving them the #3 playoff seed. Thus, they would have to win three games to make it to the Super Bowl.

The chart below provides a comparison of regular season statistics in key categories (overall rank amongst 32 teams in parentheses).

Although the Colts' rushing defense looked extremely weak during the season, it ended up being a key factor on their road to the Super Bowl. First, Indianapolis defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 23-8, holding Chiefs running back Larry Johnson (who rushed for 1,789 yards during the season) to just 32 yards on 13 carries. Then, they defeated the Baltimore Ravens 15-6, winning on a playoff record-tying five field goals by Vinatieri and holding running back Jamal Lewis (who rushed for 1,132 yards during the season) to just 53 yards.

Then the Colts faced their arch-rival New England Patriots in the AFC title game. New England jumped to an early 21-3 lead, but Indianapolis stormed back in the second half, outscoring the Patriots 32-13 with an additional field goal late in the first half. The Colts' final scoring drive did much to help Manning lose his image of always choking in big games. With 2:22 left in the game, the Colts had the ball on their own 20-yard line trailing 34-31. On the first four plays of the drive, Manning completed three passes, moving the ball 69 yards to the Patriots 11-yard line in just 24 seconds. Three plays later, Addai scored a 3-yard touchdown run to put them in the lead, 38-34 with only 60 seconds left in regulation. The Patriots responded with a drive to the Colts 45-yard line, but defensive back Marlin Jackson ended the drive with an interception to give Indianapolis the win. This happened to be the biggest comeback in AFC-NFC Conference Championship history.

Meanwhile, the Bears started out their post-season with a 27-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks with Robbie Gould's 49-yard field goal in overtime. One week later, they defeated the New Orleans Saints 39-14. Chicago dominated most of the game, jumping to a 16-0 early lead. Two touchdown passes from Saints quarterback Drew Brees, cut the score to 16-14, but the Bears responded with 23 unanswered points to propel them to their first Super Bowl since 1985. Thomas Jones finished the game with a franchise postseason record 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

It was the first time since the 1996 postseason that the home team won both of the conference championship games. The Colts were the first dome team to win the Super Bowl in an outdoor game. (The St. Louis Rams were the first dome team to win a Super Bowl (XXXIV). The 2006 Indianapolis Colts were the first division champion to win a Super Bowl with four postseason wins and the second division champion (2003 Carolina Panthers) to win a conference title with three postseason wins.

The Indianapolis Colts held pre-game practices for Super Bowl XLI at the Miami Dolphins Training Facility on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. The Colts' "Team and Family" hotel was the Marriott Harbor Beach. At the 2007 Indianapolis 500 pre-race ceremonies on May 27, 2007, eventual Super Bowl XLI MVP Peyton Manning stated to ABC Sports commentator Brent Musberger that the day before the game that two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves gave a pep talk to the Colts team.

The Chicago Bears held pre-game practices for Super Bowl XLI at the Miami Hurricanes Football Facility, on the campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

Chicago defensive tackle Tank Johnson was required to request a judge's order to leave the state of Illinois due to an arrest for unlicensed ownership of six firearms and two assault rifles. On January 23, 2007, the judge granted him permission to travel out of state to play in the Super Bowl.

Chicago and Indianapolis are the two closest cities, geographically, to ever play in a Super Bowl (at 182-mile (293 km) apart, they are slightly closer than New York and Baltimore, whose teams played each other at III and XXXV). This prompted Colts coach Tony Dungy to joke to Jim Nantz, at the end of the AFC Championship game, that the two teams should split the difference and play the game in Fort Wayne. The game was also referred to by many Indiana and Illinois residents as the I-65 Super Bowl, as the cities are connected by the interstate.

The game was televised in the United States by CBS in high-definition with play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and color commentator Phil Simms. This was the first Super Bowl announced by Nantz. Additionally, the game had Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots reporting on the sidelines and Lesley Visser and Sam Ryan in the stands.

This was the first Super Bowl aired on CBS since the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake incident three years earlier, in Super Bowl XXXVIII; and the first since the Viacom/CBS split at the end of 2005. Extensive pre-game coverage, hosted by The NFL Today team of James Brown, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason and Dan Marino, whose name graces the address of the game site (2269 Dan Marino Boulevard), began at noon (US EST) with NFL Films’ “Road to the Super Bowl” year in review (narrated by Tom Selleck). This was followed by "The Phil Simms All-Iron Team", and a four-and-a-half hour Super Bowl Today pre-game show followed by game coverage at 6:25 PM. Other contributors to the pre-game show included Katie Couric, anchor of the CBS Evening News, Armen Keteyian, CBS News Chief Investigative Corrrespondent, Randy Cross, who reported from Iraq where U.S. military forces played a touch football game known as "The Baghdad Bowl" and Dick Enberg, who participated in his 12th Super Bowl telecast as a host, play-by-play announcer, or contributor. Westwood One provided radio coverage of the event, with Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason as announcers.

The American Forces Network (AFN) provided coverage of the Super Bowl for U.S. forces stationed overseas and to all U.S. Navy ships at sea.

The opening title sequence of CBS television coverage featured the composition Lux Aeterna, by artist Clint Mansell, in the background.

Nielsen Media Research reported 93 million viewers for Super Bowl XLI, making it at the time the fifth most-watched program in U.S. television history (trailing only the M*A*S*H finale and Super Bowls XLIII, XXX, and XLII).

The Super Bowl was broadcast live in Canada on CBS (which is available in Canada) as well as Global TV and NTV which both took the main CBS commentary, and on the French cable channel RDS. In the United Kingdom the Super Bowl was broadcast on ITV1, Sky Sports 1 & Sky Sports HD1 with Sky Sports taking the main CBS commentary and ITV taking the NFL supplied international commentary feed of Spero Dedes and Sterling Sharpe.

Before the game, Cirque du Soleil, Romero Britto and Louie Vega performed as the pre-game act, and Billy Joel sang the National Anthem, accompanying himself on piano. He also performed at Super Bowl XXIII, which was also played at the same venue. Joel became the second person to sing the National Anthem twice for a Super Bowl; Aaron Neville sang the national anthem before Super Bowl XXIV, in New Orleans, and Super Bowl XL (along with Aretha Franklin), in Detroit.

Marlee Matlin and Jason Hay-Southwell performed the National Anthem in American Sign Language.

Besides participating in the CBS telecast of the pre-game show, Dan Marino also participated in the coin toss along with Norma Hunt, the widow of Lamar Hunt, the former owner of the Kansas City Chiefs and the man who gave the Super Bowl its name.

American singer and musician Prince performed in the Pepsi Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show. The setlist for Prince's performance was a short rendition of "We Will Rock You" by Queen, his signature hit "Let's Go Crazy", "Baby, I'm a Star", cover versions of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit "Proud Mary", the Bob Dylan composition "All Along the Watchtower", and the Foo Fighters song "Best of You", and in light of the conditions, he fittingly finished the performance with another signature song, "Purple Rain" in the downpour. The 12-minute performance featured Prince accompanied by two dancers he calls “The Twinz” and the Florida A&M University marching band, the Marching 100. Prince had rehearsed with the drum line for a week before the performance. The event also marked the first time that a Microsoft Windows based keyboard workstation, the NeKo developed by Open Labs, Inc., was played live at the Super Bowl. The performance was on a large, central stage which was shaped after the artist's logo, and was outlined with lights. He played before 74,512 fans at Dolphin Stadium (who had been given flashlights to point at the stage during the performance of Purple Rain). The event was carried “to the biggest audience of his life -- 140 million television viewers.” Overall, the show was energetic and quite well-received by the rain-soaked audience surrounding the stage. Music critics were extremely enthusiastic about his performance, one calling it "arguably the best halftime show in Super Bowl history", and others saying it was one of the best ever.

Following the game, however, controversy emerged about a silhouetted camera shot of Prince, projected against a large sheet by a bright light on the other side of the performer. The controversy centered around his guitar, which detractors claimed seemed phallic, critics stating that it "looked embarrassingly rude, crude and unfortunately placed." Though the guitar has been considered by some an extension of a male player's sexuality (especially highlighted by such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, and even Prince himself), supporters of Prince say that the show did not, in fact, become any more sexually charged than usual, noting that "a guitar at waist level does look like an enormous phallus." ABC late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live responded to this mild controversy by including two satirically pixelized Super Bowl clips on its weekly segment "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship" for the February 9, 2007 episode. The first "censored" clip was the kickoff show introduction for CBS' coverage of the Super Bowl, with the first two letters of "kickoff" blurred out as if "jackoff" were censored, then with a clip of the shadow of Prince playing guitar with the guitar neck blurred out as if an actual penis were being blurred.

Former Colts and Dolphins head coach Don Shula presented the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the Colts after the game, and Peyton Manning was named MVP.

The Bears won the coin toss and elected to receive. For the first time in Super Bowl history, the game was played in the rain, which was continuous throughout the game.

The rain did not hinder Bears' return man Devin Hester, who ran back the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to give Chicago the earliest lead in Super Bowl history. The Colts avoided kicking to Hester for the rest of the game, allowing him only one punt return, and choosing to squib kick whenever Hester was in the deep kickoff return position.

On Indianapolis' first drive of the game, defensive back Chris Harris intercepted a deep, third-down pass from Peyton Manning and returned it 6 yards to the Bears' 35-yard line. However, Chicago could not gain a first down on their ensuing possession and they were forced to punt. After several short runs and passes, Manning beat the Bears' defense with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne, cutting the Bears' lead to 7-6 after punter/holder Hunter Smith fumbled the snap on the extra point attempt. On the ensuing kickoff, Chicago tight end Gabe Reid fumbled Adam Vinatieri's bouncing kickoff while being tackled by Robert Mathis; Colts linebacker Tyjuan Hagler recovered the loose ball. However, on the next play, Indianapolis gave the ball back when running back Joseph Addai fumbled the handoff and Bears defensive end Mark Anderson recovered it.

On the first play after the turnover, Thomas Jones' 52-yard run moved the ball to the Colts' 5-yard line. Three plays later, Rex Grossman threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to receiver Muhsin Muhammad, giving the Bears a 14-6 lead. After forcing an Indianapolis punt, Chicago lost another turnover when Cedric Benson's fumble was recovered by Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney on the Bears' 43-yard line. Indianapolis subsequently advanced to the 36-yard line, but decided to punt rather than risk a 53-yard field-goal attempt.

Following a Chicago punt, Indianapolis drove 47 yards and scored with Vinatieri's 29-yard field goal to make the score 14-9. Chicago was forced to punt again on their next drive, and return man Terrence Wilkins returned the ball 12 yards to his own 42-yard line. Manning started out the drive with a 22-yard completion to Marvin Harrison. His next pass went to tight end Dallas Clark for 17 yards. Two more completions moved the ball to the Bears' 11-yard line, and then Dominic Rhodes took the ball to the end zone with three consecutive carries, the last one a 1-yard touchdown run to give his team a 16-14 lead with 6:09 left in the second quarter.

After another Chicago punt, the Colts advanced to the Bears' 36-yard line before defensive back Charles Tillman ended the drive by forcing and recovering a fumble from tight end Bryan Fletcher. But on the next play, Grossman fumbled a snap, and Colts defensive lineman Raheem Brock recovered the ball. Manning then led the Colts to Chicago's 17-yard line. With two seconds left, Vinatieri attempted a 36-yard field goal, but his kick sailed wide left, and the score remained 16-14 at halftime.

Wilkins returned the second half kickoff 26 yards to the Colts's 38-yard line. On the ensuing possession, Addai rushed five times for 25 yards and caught four passes for 19 yards as the Colts drove 56 yards in 13 plays and scored with a 29-yard field goal from Vinatieri, increasing their lead to 19-14. On the Bears' next drive, Jones started out with a 14-yard run, and then Muhammad caught a 9-yard pass, bringing up second down and one on the Colts' 45-yard line. But on the next play, Grossman was sacked for an 11-yard loss by Anthony McFarland. Then, on third down, he fumbled the snap. Grossman recovered the fumble himself, but the Bears were forced to punt, and Wilkins returned the ball 12 yards to the Colts' 36-yard line. Rhodes then gained 52 yards on four carries, with a facemask penalty adding another 10. Chicago managed to halt the drive at their own 2-yard line, but Vinatieri kicked his third field goal to make the score 22–14.

Chicago tight end John Gilmore picked up Vinatieri's bouncing kickoff and returned it 9-yards to his own 45-yard line, with an Unnecessary Roughness penalty on Mathis adding another 15 yards and giving the Bears a first down on the Colts' 40-yard line. Chicago could only gain 14 yards on their ensuing possession, but it was enough for Robbie Gould to make a 44-yard field goal, cutting the score to 22-17. After an Indianapolis 7-play drive ended in a punt, Chicago started on their own 20-yard line with 13:38 left in the game. But four plays later, Colts defensive back Kelvin Hayden intercepted a pass intended for Muhammad and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.

From that point on, the Colts took over the game. Four plays after the ensuing kickoff, Colts defensive back Bob Sanders intercepted Grossman's pass and returned it 38 yards to the Bears 41-yard line. Chicago's defense eventually forced a punt, but Smith's 32-yard kick pinned the Bears back at their own 8-yard line. The Bears drove to their own 47, but on a fourth down conversion attempt, tight end Desmond Clark dropped a potential first down reception after being leveled by defensive back Matt Giordano. The Colts subsequently called eight consecutive Dominic Rhodes runs before turning the ball over on downs themselves, leaving only 1:42 remaining in regulation. Five plays later, the game was over.

This was the third Super Bowl to have two players rush for more than 100 yards as Dominic Rhodes had 113 for the Colts and Thomas Jones had 113 for the Bears. Tony Dungy is the third man to win the Super Bowl as a head coach as well as a player, following Tom Flores and Mike Ditka.

For the Colts, Rhodes rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown, while also catching an 8-yard reception. Addai rushed for 77 yards and caught 10 passes (a Super Bowl record for running backs) for 66 yards. Wilkins returned four kickoffs for 89 yards and 3 punts for 42 yards. Adam Vinatieri became the first kicker ever to play in five Super Bowls and the first to win four Super Bowl rings. Vinatieri's three field goals and two extra points gave him a total of 49 points for the entire 2006 post-season, an NFL record.

Hester's touchdown for the Bears on the opening kickoff was the first one in Super Bowl history, and the eighth kick return for a touchdown in a Super Bowl; only two of the eight teams who did this went on to win the game (the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI and the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV). Jones was the Bears' top rusher with 112 yards, while also catching four passes for 18 yards. Desmond Clark was the Bears top receiver with six receptions for 64 yards. Grossman completed 20 of 28 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions, leaving him with a QB rating of 68.3 for the game. Muhsin Muhammad became the third player ever to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl for two different teams, joining Ricky Proehl and Jerry Rice.

Advertising rates were reported as being slightly higher than in the year before, with CBS confirming a price of $2.6 million for some 30-second spots, compared with $2.5 million during Super Bowl XL. However, CNN reported that after discounts, the average price is likely closer to $1.8 to $2 million. Familiar advertisers in recent years such as Anheuser-Busch, CareerBuilder, General Motors and Coca-Cola bought multiple advertising spots, and other popular advertisers like Go Daddy and Emerald Nuts had commercials this year.

The only major hype related to commercials in the months leading up to Super Bowl XLI involved various campaigns to allow consumers to be involved in the creation of Super Bowl ads, inspired by consumer-generated content sites like YouTube. Frito-Lay announced a campaign in September 2006 to allow the public to submit ads for their Doritos brand and vote on the best one, which aired during the Super Bowl. Doritos actually aired two of the ads due to a close voting margin; the winning ad (featuring a chance meeting with a man and a woman that feature the qualities of Doritos) aired in the first quarter, while a second (with a checkout lady overly enamored with the product) aired in the second quarter. The five finalists each received $10,000 in this contest. General Motors announced a similar contest, open only to college students, for their Chevrolet brand; however, the ad would be produced professionally based on ideas suggested by the public. The winning ad featured men gathering around an HHR model with women in it and stripping off their clothes and giving it a car wash. The NFL itself advertised a similar contest to generate suggestions for a commercial promoting the league, with the winning concept featuring fans' disappointment that their teams' season was over.

The annual USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter survey chose a Budweiser ad featuring crabs worshiping an ice chest with that particular beer inside as the top ad of Super Bowl XLI, followed by another Bud commercial featuring a stray dog with mud spots climbing onto the brewery's trademark Clydsedale-drawn wagon in a parade. In all, Anheuser-Busch took seven of the top ten spots in the annual survey, sweeping the top three spots. A YouTube user survey chose the Doritos "Snack Hard" ad (produced for the incredible price of $12, the cost of three bags of the snack product) as their top ad, that ad finished fourth in the USA Today survey.

One ad that drew criticism from the gay community was for the Snickers candy bar featuring two men accidentally "kissing" each other after sharing the product in question, then proceeded to rip chest hairs as a manly act as homophobic. The ad proved to be controversial, and the ad was cancelled the next day by Masterfoods USA (Mars, Incorporated's snack food division), and three other versions were deleted from the snickers.com web site. The ad was ninth in the USA Today ad survey, and according to a Masterfoods publicist, not intended to harm anyone.

A different ad for General Motors featured a laid off assembly line robot contemplating suicide, which drew criticism from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The group asked for an apology from GM, and that the ad be taken off the air and the company's website. The suicide scene was replaced with a scene of the robot watching a car being crushed at a junkyard when it was shown again during the 79th Academy Awards on February 25.

The NFL upset many fans by banning the traditional practice of tailgating at Super Bowl XLI. Originally, spokesmen for Dolphin Stadium announced that tailgating would be permitted as usual, however the NFL quickly contradicted this statement announcing an NFL owner-imposed ban on all tailgating and non-ticketed fans were forbidden within a two-block-radius of the stadium.

The NFL upset a large number of fans by threatening churches with lawsuits if they had Super Bowl parties. National Football League assistant counsel Rachel L. Margolies sent a letter to the Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, ordering the church to cancel its party and remove the trademarked Super Bowl name from its website. She said that the church could not use the words "Super Bowl" as it violates trademark law, could not charge admission as that violates copyright law, could not use its projection screen (only one television could be used and it could not be over 55 inches), and could not "promote a message" in connection with the game. Regarding the last point, the Fall Creek Baptist church planned to also show an extra video to highlight the Christian testimonies of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. "While this may be a noble message," Rachel L. Margolies wrote, "we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content." In contrast, sports bars nationwide were allowed to show the game, as are businesses that televise sports as part of their everyday operations.

The Indianapolis Star picked up the story, and soon pastors across the U.S. were working to cancel their parties. Immediately the NFL received a backlash of bad publicity, with indignant football fans in constant sarcasm (akin to rules imposed about on-field behavior i.e. taunting opposition teams) referring to the NFL as the "No Fun League." For example, the enforcement of this policy earned the NFL a "Worst Person in the World" silver on the February 2, 2007 edition of Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

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Eli Manning

Eli Manning US govt.jpg

Elisha Nelson Manning (born January 3, 1981 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American football quarterback for the New York Giants of the National Football League. He is the younger brother of Peyton Manning and Cooper Manning and the son of Archie Manning and Olivia Manning. He played college football at the University of Mississippi after attending prep school at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. Manning won the most valuable player award in Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008. He was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, but Manning had previously stated that he did not want to play for San Diego. Manning was soon sent to the New York Giants in return the Chargers received the Giants fourth overall pick Philip Rivers, a third round selection in the 2004 NFL Draft and the Giants' first–and fifth–round picks in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Prior to deciding which college to attend, Manning received a call from David Cutcliffe, formerly the offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. Cutcliffe had been hired as the head coach at Ole Miss and had previously helped Eli's older brother Peyton improve his game. Upon learning Cutcliffe was now in charge of the Rebel program, the 18-year-old followed his father’s footsteps, and made his way to Oxford, Mississippi.

During his football career at Ole Miss, Eli set or tied 45 single-game, season, and career records. His career numbers include 10,119 passing yards (fifth on the SEC career list), 81 touchdown passes (third on the SEC career list), and a passer rating of 137.7 (tied for sixth on the SEC career list). Manning also led the Rebels to a 10-3 record and a 31-28 SBC Cotton Bowl victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2003. He was invited to play in the 2004 Senior Bowl, but chose not to play.

As his senior year came to a close, Eli won many awards including the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best all-around player, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award, the Sporting News Radio Socrates Award, and the SEC Player of the Year. He was also a candidate for the Heisman Trophy but voters chose Oklahoma's quarterback Jason White (1,481 voting points) to win the award. Eli had 710 voting points making him third behind White and Pittsburgh's sophomore wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Manning graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Marketing and a GPA of 3.44.

The San Diego Chargers originally held the rights to the overall first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. With Manning being the most highly coveted player in the draft, it appeared that the Chargers' intentions were to draft Manning first overall. However, Manning expressed his refusal to play for the Chargers if drafted by them. The Chargers selected him with the first pick overall anyway, however unknown to Manning, the Chargers had a deal in place with the New York Giants, where the Giants would draft and then trade Philip Rivers and draft picks (used to pick future Pro Bowlers Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding) to the Chargers for Manning.

Following 2004, Kurt Warner voided the last year of his contract and Eli was named the starter for 2005. Manning led the Giants to a 2-0 record with victories against the Cardinals and Saints, before traveling to the west coast for a test in San Diego. Chargers fans did not forget the snub, and on September 25, 2005 when Eli and the Giants made their first trip to San Diego for a game since that draft day, the crowd booed Manning loudly every time he touched the ball. San Diego defeated the Giants, 45-23, but Eli displayed what may have been his most impressive performance of his young career, going 24-41 for 352 yards and two touchdowns.

Following his performance at San Diego, Manning returned home to throw for almost 300 yards and a career high four touchdowns against the Rams at Giants stadium in a 44-24 romp. Two games later, he led a brilliant last-minute drive against the Broncos to secure a 24-23 victory for the Giants. The drive culminated in a two yard touchdown to Amani Toomer with 8 seconds remaining. The following week, Manning overcame a weak first half at San Francisco to help his team secure their first official road victory of the season, 24–6. Despite a poor performance at home against the Vikings, throwing four interceptions, he again led his team back to tie the game in the final minutes before the Vikings won on a late field goal.

Eli's second season was largely a success. He finished in the top 5 in both passing yards and touchdown passes, while leading an offense that finished 3rd in the NFL in scoring, with a total of 422 points. It was the most points the Giants scored in a single season since 1963. The Giants won the NFC East with an 11–5 record, and went to the postseason.

The one knock on Eli during his first full season was his efficiency. Even though the Giants finished at the top of the NFC East, Manning himself struggled during his first full year as starting quarterback. Eli completed just 52.8% of his passes with a modest 6.8 yards per attempt, producing an unimpressive quarterback efficiency rating of 75.9 (23rd in the league), leading many sports commentators to question his abilities. Manning visibly wore down late in the season. His play fell off, culminating in a poor performance in the playoffs against Carolina.

Manning's second full season was reminiscent of his 2005 campaign. He started off playing well and completed over 65 percent of his passes through the first four games. However, he struggled in the second half of the season and his production diminished towards the end of the regular season. After losing a tough game to his brother Peyton and the Colts on opening day, Eli and the Giants rebounded from a 24-7 4th-quarter deficit en route to a 30-24 overtime victory over the division rival Eagles in week two.Manning threw for a career high 371 yards in the win with three touchdowns including a game winning pass to Plaxico Burress in overtime. Following a poor performance against Seattle the next week, Manning and the Giants responded by winning five straight games including wins over the Redskins, Cowboys and Falcons to push their record to 6-2.

Following this winning streak, key injuries including one to receiver Amani Toomer pushed Eli Manning and the Giants into a downward slide. Playing against the Chicago Bears, Manning started well, but the Giant's offense was derailed by the loss of left tackle Luke Petitgout to a broken leg. Manning was held to only 141 yards passing with two interceptions. Petigout's loss left a gaping hole at the crucial left tackle position, and Manning was unable to repeat his first half success. Manning struggled the next week at Jacksonville and the week after that, a costly interception helped to culminate a huge collapse at Tennessee, with the Giants seeing a 21-point fourth quarter lead simply evaporate. Manning improved the following week, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, but the Giants lost again. Finally regaining momentum, Manning threw three touchdowns in a win at Carolina, but then he stumbled badly in the final three games. He threw two interceptions against the Eagles and tallied only 73 passing yards in a game against the Saints. Although the Giants battled back to 8-8 the following week at Washington, Manning completed only 12 of 26 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown. The Giants qualified for the postseason and met the Eagles again. Although he did significantly better in this game than the 2005 playoff matchup, completing 16 of 27 passes and two touchdowns, the Giants lost to a last second field goal by the Eagles.

For the year, Manning threw for 3,244 yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He completed 57.7 percent of his passes, a five point improvement from 2005, but he again struggled badly in the second half of the season. Manning finished the season with a mediocre quarterback efficiency rating of 77.0 (18th in the league) thanks to a lackluster 6.2 yards per attempt. He was generally perceived to be a solid quarterback, but he lacked the more notable successes of fellow 2004 draftees Phillip Rivers (for whom he was traded) and Ben Roethlisberger.

Eli Manning trained in the Meadowlands with Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride and new Quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer. For the first time ever, Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey practiced in the off-season with Eli to perfect their timing and chemistry rather than training alone in Miami as they did in previous years.

Manning opened the 2007 season with an outstanding personal performance against the Dallas Cowboys, completing 28 of 41 passing attempts for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns, and an interception, but suffered a shoulder sprain and was removed from the game late in the second half. Although he did play against Green Bay in week 2 while throwing for 211 yards with one touchdown, the Giants defense performed poorly again and the team dropped to 0-2 with Green Bay winning, 35-13. In week 3 Manning got a come-from-behind victory as the Giants defense improved, pitching a shutout in the second half and stopping the Washington Redskins on a fourth and goal situation, winning the game 24-17. The Giants defense then shut down the Philadelphia Eagles with an NFL record-tying 12 sacks, holding the Eagles offense to one field goal. The Giants won with a score of 16-3. The following week, Manning overcame a dismal first half to throw for two second-half scores in a 35-24 win over their in-city rivals, the New York Jets.

Following two straight home victories, Manning and the Giants obtained their fourth consecutive victory with a 31-10 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Monday Night Football. Manning performed well, completing 27 of 39 passes for 303 yards along with a pair of touchdowns while giving away two intereceptions. Behind a dominant defensive effort, the Giants improved to 5-2 the next week with a 33-15 win over the 49ers. Manning played well again, throwing for two touchdowns in the effort. In week eight of the season, the Giants played a road game against the Miami Dolphins on October 28, 2007, in London's Wembley Stadium. Manning only threw for 59 yards in the rain and mud, but he scored the Giants' only touchdown on a 10-yard run. This touchdown was the first in an NFL regular season game that was played outside of North America. The Giants defeated the Dolphins, 13–10, bringing the Giants to a 6–2 record at the mid-way point of the 2007 season.

After a week of criticism in the New York media and being outplayed by Tony Romo, Manning had a bounce-back victory versus their conference wildcard competitors the Detroit Lions. Manning managed to throw for 283 yards and 1 touchdown but most importantly, no interceptions in a critical road game.

The following week in a 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Manning threw four interceptions and had three of them returned for touchdowns. He continued to struggle until the last game of the season, against the 15-0 New England Patriots. With a playoff spot secured, the Giants could have rested their starters for the playoffs, but they instead chose to keep in the regulars and attempt to stop New England's quest for an undefeated regular season. The Giants lost 38-35, but Manning played exceptionally well, completing 22 of 32 passes for 251 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception.

On January 6, 2008, Manning went 20-of-27 for 185 yards playing on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The underdog Giants won 24-14, and Manning had two touchdown passes.

On January 13, 2008, Manning led the Giants to an upset victory over the heavily favored Dallas Cowboys, the number one seed in the NFC. For the third straight game, Manning played well, completing 12 of 18 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. The Giants were the first team to beat an NFC number one seed in the divisional round since the start of the 12-team format in 1990. . This victory secured an NFC Championship berth against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, January 20, 2008. In the championship game, the Giants beat the Packers in overtime, with a score of 23-20. The dramatic victory secured Manning and the Giants a trip to Super Bowl XLII. This was the first Super Bowl appearance for the New York Giants since 2000, and their first Super Bowl victory since Super Bowl XXV.

In front of a record-setting American television audience and on the strength of a late fourth-quarter drive led by Manning, the Giants beat the heavily-favored, undefeated New England Patriots 17–14. After a pass to David Tyree early in the fourth quarter, the Giants were forced to similarly concede a score to New England with two and a half minutes remaining in the game.

On the following drive, however, after Asante Samuel dropped a possible game winning interception, Manning again connected with David Tyree on a play in which he avoided several near-sacks and Tyree caught the ball off his helmet for a large gain. Shortly after, Plaxico Burress caught a short touchdown pass with just thirty seconds remaining, and the upset victory was sealed. Manning became only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw two go-ahead fourth quarter touchdowns in a Super Bowl (Joe Montana being the first). Following the Giants' monumental victory, Eli and the coaching staff spoke briefly with President George W. Bush.

For his efforts, Manning was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLII. He and his brother Peyton are the only brother combination to play at quarterback in the Super Bowl and the only set of brothers to win Super Bowl MVP, doing so in successive years.

For winning Super Bowl MVP he was given his choice of any 2008 model Cadillac, and Manning chose an Escalade Hybrid. The Wednesday following the Super Bowl he appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Eli and the Giants opened the 2008 season with a win over their division rivals, the Washington Redskins, 16–7. “It was a great opening to the season,” said Manning, who completed 19 passes of 35 for 216 yards, and had one rushing touchdown against one interception. “There was a lot of emotion, a lot of excitement. You could feel it in the crowd." In the Giants' second game of the year against the St. Louis Rams, they won again, 41–13, behind a stellar Manning performance. Manning finished the game with 20 completions, 260 yards passing and threw three touchdowns to three different receivers. The victory also marked the team's fourth straight victory over the Rams. The following week, Manning rallied the Giants to more fourth quarter magic, overcoming a late deficit to throw the go-ahead touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss and then in overtime, throwing a clutch 31-yard pass to Amani Toomer in the Giants' 26–23 win over Cincinnati. The fourth week of the season saw the Giants score on each of their first six possession and dominate the Seattle Seahawks, 44–6. Manning threw for two touchdowns, completing 19 of 25 passes for 267 yards as the Giants totaled 523 yards on offense, their most since 2002.

Following a poor team performance in a 35–14 loss at Cleveland, Manning and the Giants responded with a 29–17 win over the 49ers and battled to a hard earned 21–14 win at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. Manning completed 19 of 32 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown in the crucial win, which pushed the Giants to a 6–1 record. The following week, the Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys at home 35-14 to get to 7–1 at the midway point of the regular season. Manning threw three touchdowns in the game. New York improved to 8–1 with a 36–31 win at Philadelphia. Manning threw two touchdowns in the victory, but the crucial play occurred in the third quarter. With the Giants trailing by four, Manning appeared to make an illegal forward pass to tight end Kevin Boss. After review, it was determined that the pass was legal. The Giants scored a touchdown two plays later, which helped to re-establish momentum. Week 9 pitted the Giants in a battle with the visiting Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens had come into the game with the league's third-ranked defense; nevertheless, Manning led the Giants to a decisive 30–10 victory, improving to 9–1, which included a 200 yard rushing effort by running backs Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. Eli played perhaps his best game of the season in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLII. Against the Cardinals, he completed 26 of 33 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the 37-29 win.

The following week the Giants faced the Redskins at Washington in their second encounter this season. Prior to the game it was clear that the Redskins were going to focus on stopping the Giants run game whose Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw had proven to be a dangerous offensive weapon for New York. The Redskins decided to put the game in Manning's hands. Manning threw his first 300 yard game of the season going 21/34 with an INT and a 40 yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer. The Giants beat the Redskins 23–7.

In November, Manning was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month. For the month, Manning threw for 1,036 yards and 10 touchdowns, and compiled a 94.9 passer rating while leading the Giants to a perfect 5–0 record.

Manning was named to his first Pro Bowl on December 16th, making him the first Giants quarterback to earn the honor since Phil Simms in 1993..

In week 16 against the Carolina Panthers with NFC homefield advantage on the line, Manning had a passing day of 17 of 27 for 181 yards and no interceptions. Manning led the Giants back from deficits of 21–10 and 28–20 to tie the game with just over three minutes left, including a bullet pass to Domenik Hixon for a key 2 point conversion to tie the game at 28. The game was played in adverse freezing conditions.

After becoming the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Giants had a first playoff round bye week and home field advantage through the rest of the playoffs. In the Divisional Round, they faced the Philadelphia Eagles in Giants stadium with its signature windy conditions. Philadelphia went on to win the game 23–11. Manning just barely made a 50% percentage completion, completing 15 out of 29 passes for 169 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

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Source : Wikipedia