Super Bowl XLI

A Historic moment with two African-American head coaches going head to head in the Super Bowl.

Superbowl XLI, Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith

Super Bowl XLI was the first time two African-American head coaches were coaching in the event. Featuring the Indianapolis Colts lead by coach Tony Dungy and the Chicago Bears lead by coach Lovie Smith. The Colts defeated the Bears, 29-17, overcoming a 14-6 first quarter deficit to outscore their opponent 23-3, in the last three quarters resulting in Tony Dungy being the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl.

Both Coaches led their teams out of 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. Meanwhile, the Bears made their first appearance since winning Super Bowl XX in 1985. It was only the second time that two pre-expansion era (pre 1960) teams met in the Super Bowl.

Dungy was head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001, and head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2002 to 2008. On December 18, 2008 after securing his tenth straight playoff appearance with a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dungy set a new NFL record for consecutive playoff appearances by a head coach.

Super Bowl XLI marked the second Super Bowl appearance for coach Smith, his first appearance was with the 2001 Saint Louis Rams as their defensive coordinator. He began his professional coaching career as a linebacker coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under the guidance of Tony Dungy.

Super Bowl XLI was an American football game that featured the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Indianapolis Colts and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Chicago Bears to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2006 season. The Colts defeated the Bears, 29-17, overcoming a 14-6 first quarter deficit to outscore their opponent 23-3, in the last three quarters.

This game, played on February 4, 2007, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, 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. Also, if one counts the histories of several other franchises as part of that of the Colts, this game would be the first Super Bowl between two NFL charter members from 1920, as the Colts’ earliest ancestor, the Dayton Triangles, were part of the league’s inaugural season along with the team that became the Chicago Bears, the Decatur Staleys (the only other possible Super Bowl match-up under this criteria would be between the Colts and the Arizona Cardinals).

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 for a passer rating of 81.8, which in the context of 2006 quarterback post-season performance was slightly above the median, according to NFL.com statistics. This was Manning’s first Super Bowl title after being one of the league’s most dominant quarterbacks throughout his nine-year career. It was also the first time two African-American head coaches (Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy) were coaching in the Super Bowl, with Tony Dungy being the first to win.