INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Colts fan who attended Sunday’s game came away with a win and also had the chance to remember the team’s Super Bowl XLI victory.
This marks 10 years since the Colts’ Super Bowl season, which saw a dramatic turnaround that ended in a Super Bowl victory. Many of the players admit that wasn’t the Colts’ most talented team—others in the past met playoff disappointment—but there was something special about that 2006-2007 squad.
They gave up 375 rushing yards to the Jacksonville Jaguars during a regular season game. Then in the playoffs, the defense found its way in victories against Kansas City, Baltimore, New England and Chicago during the rain-soaked Super Bowl in Miami.
And while the victory against the Bears won them the Lombardi Trophy, the Colts exorcised the demons by beating the New England Patriots, who’d bested them in the past. The Colts won the game 38-34 after trailing 21-3 at one point in the first half.
Here’s a look at the Colts’ playoff run:
Colts 23, Chiefs 8
Peyton Manning threw three interceptions, but the Colts defense limited the Chiefs to 126 yards in total offense. The defense forced three turnovers and four sacks.
Colts 15, Ravens 6
Kicker Adam Vinatieri booted five field goals against the Ravens, who were favored at home. Antoine Bethea intercepted a Steve McNair pass in the end zone to end a scoring threat.
Colts 38, Patriots 34
The Colts rebounded from a 21-3 deficit in the first half and surged to a 17-point fourth quarter to take the lead late. Joseph Addai’s TD run put the Colts ahead to stay and Marlin Jackson’s interception of Tom Brady sealed the victory.
Colts 29, Bears 17
On a rainy day in Miami, the Colts relied on their running game and a timely defensive play to beat the Bears and claim their first Super Bowl victory in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning found Reggie Wayne for a 53-yard touchdown. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden intercepted a Rex Grossman pass in the second half and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.
While fans remember the big plays and moments from the playoff run, the players themselves remember putting their team goal ahead of individual ones.
“We talk about this from just a team perspective. When everybody had an opportunity, everybody met the goal that they had put before themselves,” said center Jeff Saturday.
“Nobody cared about individual accolades at all. We just wanted to find a way to win and guys just relied on each other, brothers in arms, found a way to get it done,” said wide receiver Reggie Wayne. “[We] refused to lose. That’s what I always say about that season, about that team. We’re family, man. We love each other. We’re family.”
Manning said it was great to “have the band together,” especially when Coach Tony Dungy joined the team Saturday. For Manning, the relationships he formed during the Super Bowl run will endure for years to come.
“The relationships were the greatest part of my 18 years of playing football. There’s not a game or a throw—that was the greatest part of it for me, it was about the relationships. Fortunately, those are never taken away. Those are permanent,” Manning said.
Wayne went to fire up the corner of the north end zone. He was greeted with shouts of “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie!” and said that corner has a special place in his heart.
“It’s what I’ve always done. I always went to that corner. They’ve always supported me, supported the Colts. I just wanted to give it to them. It’s special,” Wayne said.
Owner Jim Irsay gave players and their families airfare and accommodations to make the reunion possible. Manning told his teammates they’d do it again in 10 years, joking that maybe by then Dwight Freeney (currently playing for the Falcons) and Robert Mathis (still at linebacker for Indy) would be able to join them because they’d finally retired.