If defense wins championships, Bears are in luck
By JAMISON HENSLEY
THE BALTIMORE SUN
The Super Bowl buildup might feel like a weeklong coronation of the Indianapolis Colts.
Much of the talk will be about Peyton Manning establishing his quarterback legacy, Tony Dungy winning with a nice-guy approach and the Colts' re-emergence on football's grandest stage.
Few outside of the Windy City believe the Chicago Bears can upset the Colts next Sunday, although recent Super Bowl history suggests otherwise.
Defenses still win championships, especially the most stingy ones.
Five of the past six Super Bowl champions have had defenses that ranked in the top three in fewest points allowed during the regular season. The Bears were third in scoring defense this season, the Colts 23rd.
This title trend was started by the Ravens' historic defense in the 2000 season. After setting the NFL record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game schedule, the Ravens nearly shut out the Giants in the Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay (2002 season) and New England (2003 season) then hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after limiting teams to the fewest points in the league that season. The Patriots won the Super Bowl again in the 2004 season after finishing second in scoring defense, and Pittsburgh captured the title last season with the NFL's No. 3 scoring defense.
The Bears, who held opponents to 15.9 points per game this season, are ready to prove they belong with those past defenses.