For a team that won the Super Bowl, the 2006 Indianapolis Colts didn’t do themselves any favors in their two biggest games of the season. They trailed the New England Patriots 21-3 in the AFC Championship and allowed a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to Devin Hester to open Super Bowl XLI.
The Colts, of course, came back to win both games, beating the Patriots 38-34 and the Bears 29-17. But which win was sweeter? Winning the Super Bowl or finally getting over the Patriots hump?
“The actual winning of the Super Bowl and actually being crowned champion, that goes without saying,” former Colts linebacker Cato June said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Anybody that’s been able to win a championship on the professional level understands the meaning of that. But winning against the Patriots, who had put us out several times, at home, in that fashion – it’s tough to beat. That’s high on the list. Now don’t get me wrong. I love my Super Bowl ring and I love the rain in Miami and all that, but being able to finally beat the Patriots in that fashion at home, that was an incredible moment.”
The Colts outscored the Patriots 32-12 in the second half that January day in 2007, as Peyton Manning threw for 349 yards and one touchdown and ran for another.
After beating Tom Brady, the Colts knew they weren’t losing to Rex Grossman.
“I hate to say it – and I have a lot of buddies that played for the Bears and we talk about that when I see them – but I really think they didn’t really have a chance if we were on point,” June said. “If it’s a sunny day, that’s a 45-12 game or 45-14 or something like that. I just really think that we were a better football team. They were a great team. I just think that we had a lot of weapons and were very dangerous when we were on point. As you can see, we won a ton of games – games that we went into knowing that, hey, if we lose this game, it was our fault. Not that we have to be on our best or that sort of thing. I just think we had great leadership, we had great players and we were very consistent.”