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Adewale Ogunleye recalls how rain impacted Super Bowl XLI originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Thinking back on the last time the Bears were in the Super Bowl, a few things come to mind. Devin Hester’s kickoff return to start the game, Prince’s halftime performance, a bunch of turnovers, and a lot of rain. As we’ve caught up with several former Bears to hear their Big Game memories, Adewale Ogunleye reiterated how the weather affected the game.
“It was really sloppy,” Ogunleye said on NBC Sports Chicago’s “Countdown to Kickoff” show. “I remember wet confetti in my bag at the end of the game. It was just a very, very sloppy wet game.
“From an offensive standpoint, it obviously had an effect. We weren’t able to hold on to the ball as good as we should have, and normally do. I think too, from a defensive perspective, the Colts were able to string drives along by running the ball and keeping us on the field. Peyton Manning didn’t have one of those crazy, throwing the ball down the field— except for that one time where we had a blown coverage— but it was one of those grind, knockout games.”
None of that is meant to be an excuse for the Bears’ loss. In fact, those “grind, knockout games” were scenarios in which you would’ve given the 2006 Bears the edge. But as Ogunleye mentioned, the Bears defense uncharacteristically failed to stop the run game. Over the course of the regular season, they only allowed 99.4 yards/game, and 4.0 yards/carry. But Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai gashed them for 190 yards on 4.75 yards/carry.
Further, that sloppy weather should’ve played into the team’s hands as they led the league with 44 takeaways. But again, as Ogunleye said, the offense wasn’t able to hold on to the ball, so the Bears’ five giveaways on offense negated the defense’s three takeaways. Regardless, Ogunleye thinks the Bears were set up for success in Super Bowl XLI.
“You can’t tell me that after Devin Hester returned that kickoff, that we were going to lose that game,” Ogunleye said. “In my mind, we had it after that.
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