Super Bowl Setup

As the two Super Bowl teams begin preparations for their Feb. 4 showdown in Miami, the Colts expect Peyton Manning's thumb to be fine and Bears head coach Lovie Smith defines the coaching style of himself and Tony Dungy. Get news, notes and quotes from the last teams standing.

The Colts aren't worried about Peyton Manning's sore right thumb. The team expects their star quarterback to play against the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4.

Manning hurt his thumb Sunday when he hit it on left tackle Tarik Glenn's helmet while throwing a third-quarter pass in the 38-34 comeback win over New England.

"He's fine," Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "X-rays were negative."

Manning, by the way, has completed 63 percent of his passes for 996 yards and six touchdowns with three interceptions in the Colts' last three wins over the Patriots, including Sunday night's title game.

In other news:

  • Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson received court supervision Tuesday to travel to Miami for Super Bowl XLI. He has been on home confinement since his arrest on weapons charges, which violated the terms on fan earlier probation.

  • Wide receiver Mike Furrey, who caught 98 passes for 1,086 yards last season, signed a three-year deal to stay with Detroit.

  • Russ Grimm, who lost out on the Steelers' head coaching job to Mike Tomlin, left the franchise to join Ken Whisenhunt's staff in Arizona as assistant coach and offensive lines coach.

  • Lane Kiffin was officially introduced as the Raiders' new head coach. Just 31, he is the youngest coach in franchise history, although owner Al Davis hired John Madden, Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden when they were in their 30s.

    "I think, ‘31 years old, wow, that's young,'" Davis said. "But you don't have to be old to be great. You have to be good. You have to want it. You have to have a desire, a passion for football."


    Lovie Smith doesn't dispute that he and Tony Dungy, his former boss and imminent Super Bowl adversary, are similar in their even-keeled approach as head coaches. But don't refer to Smith or his buddy Dungy as laidback.

    "I would not use ‘laidback,'" Smith said. "I think our styles are similar as far as we try to treat the players like men and expect them to behave that way. There is a certain standard that we have for them."

    Smith got that and a lot more from Dungy in the five years he spent as his linebackers coach from 1996-2000. As the Bucs' head coach, Dungy gave Smith his first job in the NFL. Eleven years later, they find themselves preparing to face each other as the first two African-American head coaches in Super Bowl history.

    "A dream of mine was to have a chance to play the Colts," Smith said. "My dream was for Tony Dungy to get to the Super Bowl. That dream has been fulfilled. Now it's about the Chicago Bears trying to win the Super Bowl."

    Dungy and Smith are Exhibit A and B that football coaches don't have to be confrontational, loud, vulgar or intimidating to be successful.

    "A lot of us have a picture of how a coach is supposed to be; how he is supposed to act," Smith said. "I think what Tony Dungy showed me is you don't have to act that way. Be yourself, believe in what you know and just stay with that through the storms and you can get the job accomplished.

    "When I first interviewed with Tony, he talked about wanting to get teachers on his staff. Instead of ‘coach,' he used the word ‘teacher.' And that's what I've tried to do. We have an excellent group of teachers on our staff right now. Our coordinators have done a great job with it. Our position coaches do a great job each day teaching our guys. When you talk about the different philosophies and things like that, that Tony Dungy has had, hopefully I have that, too."

    Shortly before the postseason began, as the Colts were preparing to play the Chiefs in a wild-card game, Smith Dungy and Kansas City head coach Herman Edwards, another former Dungy assistant and also an African-American, dined together. They surmised that at least one of them, if not two, would make history by coaching in Super Bowl XLI. That Smith and Dungy both made it will be a popular story from now until game time but Smith hopes the will cool off in years to come.

    "That day is coming some day," he said. "Of course we're talking about it now. (That day) is not here now. But (just) as we talk about our team, each year we have taken a step. That's all you're looking for. You look for steps that you take in your program. We've taken a step in that direction by Tony and I having our teams in the Super Bowl. In years to come, it won't be talked about, and I'll look forward to that day."

    For now, Smith is already preparing to do battle with his mentor, although his focus may have been a little fuzzy Monday morning after Sunday's celebration. It was a late night for Smith followed by an early morning, but he's not the type to be sampling the nightlife now, next week on South Beach, or anywhere else for that matter.

    "Me going out and doing the town?" Smith said, grinning. "I don't know if I know how to do that. But we had a good time (Sunday night)."

    Smith, his wife Mary Anne and his sons Mikal, Matthew and Miles spent some quality time with some of the Bears' players at a restaurant watching Dungy's Colts defeat the Patriots.

    "I think I got in bed at 2, 3, somewhere around there," he said. "I got a good night's sleep until about 5; one of those type of nights."

    The 15-4 Colts are seven-point favorites over the 15-3 Bears, but Smith respects Dungy and his team enough not to be insulted by being cast as such a heavy underdog. But he issued a warning to any gamblers looking to get rich at the Bears' expense.

    "If you look at what the Colts bring to the table, I could see why (people) would make us underdogs, but we've been in that role before, and our guys like the underdog role," Smith said. "(But) I wouldn't bet against the Bears if I were a betting man."


  • P Brad Maynard holds the Super Bowl record with 11 punts, which he established as a member of the 2000 Giants.

  • WR Muhsin Muhammad established a Super Bowl record with an 85-yard touchdown reception while playing for the 2003 Panthers.

  • WR Bernard Berrian has 10 receptions for 190 yards, including touchdowns of 68 and 22 yards in two playoff games this postseason.

  • TE Desmond Clark has three receptions for 36 yards in the Bears' two playoff games.


    Colts coach Tony Dungy expects a typical week of practice before all the craziness that is the Super Bowl envelopes his team.

    The Colts were given Monday and Tuesday off and will then have three days of a typical regular-season practice routine.

    Dungy said that this week will be used to devise and install offensive and defensive game plans and to make sure that any injuries from Sunday's 38-34 AFC Championship Game win over New England are well taken care of.

    "We've really talked about using this coming week like a normal week," he said. "Putting our game plan in and really zeroing in the things that we have to do and getting focused. And then what we've got to do next week is handle the sideshow that goes along with the Super Bowl.

    "I have not been there as a participant since 1978 (as a player with the Pittsburgh Steelers) and it's certainly much more of a sideshow now than it was then. But I think the main thing will be to focus in, get dialed in this week. Get our game plan in place and then be able to go down there and have good practices and avoid the distractions."

    Dungy said he plans on talking with coaching friends who have been a part of past Super Bowls in order to get a better idea of what to expect next week and how to handle things once the Colts arrive in Miami.

    "I really haven't had a chance (to seek advice). I didn't want to put the cart before the horse," Dungy said. "I haven't talked to too many people. I am going to talk to some of my buddies in Tampa and different guys around the league that have been there. Kind of see what people have done successfully. That will be my project for the next couple of days."


  • RB Joseph Addai is still learning what life in the NFL is really all about. As the league's top rushing rookie in 2006 with 1,081 yards, Addai has seen his productive dip a bit during the postseason.

    Still, he has been a major force, along with veteran Dominic Rhodes, in the Colts' playoff during this year. He scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown against New England in the AFC title game Sunday night.

  • TE Dallas Clark has been on fire during the postseason. Clark suffered a sprained right knee in a Nov. 26 home game with the Philadelphia Eagles and wound up missing four of the team's final five regular season games.

    He has caught 17 passes for 281 yards in the Colts' three playoff victories and leads all NFL receivers during the playoffs.

  • WR Reggie Wayne had five catches for 68 yards in the AFC title game win over New England. But perhaps the play he will best be remembered for was a catch on the team's game-winning drive where he momentarily bobbled the ball up into the air and then caught it again.

    "I didn't see the play at the time," coach Tony Dungy said later. "I was watching the officials because they had called a penalty. I didn't know if was roughing on them or holding on us. I heard the crowd groan and then cheer, so I knew that something had happened.

    "It wasn't until I was watching the highlights of the game afterward that I finally saw what had happened on the play."

  • WR Marvin Harrison has been bothered a bit during the postseason with a sore wrist, but it's an injury that Harrison would prefer to play with until after the season is finally concluded. He has caught 10 passes for 134 yards during the Colts' postseason run but has yet to catch a touchdown pass.

  • CB Nick Harper sustained a sprained left ankle during the first quarter of the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. He did not return to the lineup.

    "We don't know if it's the high ankle sprain or not at this point, but that's the worst injury of the night," coach Tony Dungy said.

  • DT Dan Klecko had not scored a touchdown since high school before coming up a two-yard TD catch in the regular-season finale with Miami. Klecko sometimes lines up as a fullback in short-yardage and goal line situations for the Colts, something that he also used to for the New England Patriots.

    After being released by the Patriots at the end of training camp,. Klecko has become a good backup defensive line along with his offensive duties. He recorded his second career NFL touchdown in the AFC title game with the Patriots, catching a one-yard flip against the team that had originally drafted him.

  • CB Marlin Jackson has had two interceptions during his first two years in the league. The Colts' top draft pick in 2005, Jackson has been used at both cornerback and safety due to injuries at the safety position.

    His interception of New England QB Tom Brady was his first postseason interception in two years.

    Jackson went down to the turf after taking a few steps, remembering what had happened to Chargers S Marlin McCree in the AFC divisional game with the Patriots. McCree fumbled the ball, which was subsequently recovered by New England and turned into a touchdown.

    "I knew (Patriots wide receiver) Troy Brown was around somewhere, so I just wanted to protect the football," Jackson said. Brown was the Patriots player who had forced McCree's fumble.

  • PK Adam Vinatieri will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl, three coming with New England.

  • WR Ricky Proehl will be suiting up for his third Super Bowl, one each previously with St. Louis and Carolina.

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