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Super Bowl 41

The Indianapolis Colts ended a 36-year Super Bowl drought in convincing fashion, dominating the Chicago Bears to claim a 29-17 victory in a rain-soaked Super Bowl XLI, easily covering as 6.5-point betting favorites.

The Colts, while still based in Baltimore, had last made a Super Bowl appearance in 1970, topping the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, in Super Bowl V. The Bears also ended a lengthy absence from the big game, playing for their first championship since winning Super Bowl XX in 1985.

Indy once again enjoyed a solid regular season, going 12-4 to claim their fourth straight AFC South crown.  The Colts won their first nine SU while going 6-3 ATS. But their perfect season hopes were quickly dashed, losing four of their last seven while going 2-5 ATS.

The Colts righted the ship in time for the playoffs, dominating the Kansas City Chiefs in their AFC Wild Card matchup, outdistancing the Chiefs 435-126 en route to a 23-8 win, before posting a 15-6 Divisional Playoff victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Indy punched their Super Bowl ticket with a 38-34 comeback victory over the New England Patriots in an instant classic AFC Championship Game, exacting sweet revenge on the Patriots, who had eliminated the Colts from the playoffs in two of the previous three years.

The Bears were the class of the NFC in 2006, easily clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 13-3 record, while going 10-6 ATS. Chicago needed overtime to knock off the Seattle Seahawks, 27-24 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs before posting a decisive 39-14 win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game.

Super Bowl XLI was played under rainy skies in Miami, a first in Super Bowl history, which mirrored the Colts’ hopes early on after Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a TD to give the Bears an early 7-0 lead.

But it was Indy who would dominate the rest of the way, forcing five Chicago turnovers, while Colts rushers piled up 191 yards on the ground, scoring one TD and shredding the Bears’ vaunted defense.

QB Peyton Manning was an efficient, if not spectacular, general directing the Colts’ offense, completing 25 of 38 passes for 247 yards and one TD to claim Super Bowl MVP honors and shake the Dan-Marino-of-his-time label.

The game finished just UNDER the 48.5-point total pegged by the nation’s sportsbooks, evening up the Super Bowl OVER/UNDER record at 20-20.

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