It's a wondrous thing to realize that the Super Bowl is 41 this year. Forty-one games played between two teams that outlasted, outplayed and outscored their brethren teams in what is a very short season. It's all animals this year, as the Chicago Bears take on the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Feb. 4, at 4:25 p.m. MST on CBS, local channel 11.
Super Bowl XLI will feature two teams that haven't seen the NFL's title game in a long time. The Bears are back in the Super Bowl for first time since destroying the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX in 1986. Remember Jim McMahon, the late Walter Payton and Refrigerator Perry? The Indianapolis Colts have never been in a Super Bowl appearance. The (pre-relocation) Baltimore Colts won in Super Bowl V, behind 37-year-old Johnny Unitas, over the Dallas Cowboys with QBs Craig Morton and Roger Staubach.
The Bears current quarterback, Rex Grossman, is a Bloomington, Ind., native. The day he was born, his father placed a football in his bassinet at the hospital. Like Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, he comes from a family of football players. His grandfather, also Rex Grossman, played professional ball for the Baltimore Colts in 1948 and '49, and played 12 games for Baltimore and Detroit in 1950. His father, Rex Daniel Grossman Jr., started one season at quarterback and three at linebacker for Indiana University, and was voted academic All-Big Ten in his final season.
Born in New Orleans, Manning is the son of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning and the older brother of current New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. He has played with the Colts for eight years. Manning holds several NFL passing records, including touchdown passes in a single season, most consecutive seasons with over 4,000 yards passing and most seasons with 4,000 or more yards passing in a career. His career 94.4 passing rating in the NFL ranks first among active QBs with at least 1,500 passing attempts, and second all-time to Steve Young.
As if these weren't fun reasons to check into the big game, consider that the coaches of the teams are the first two African-American head coaches to reach the Super Bowl. Bears coach Lovie Smith and Colts coach Tony Dungy are also close friends, dating back to Smith's time working on Dungy's staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Where to watch:
Of course, there will be many, many private Super Bowl parties ranging around the valley. If one of these is not your speed, check out a few public roadhouses where there will also be parties.
The Boiler Room in Sun Valley will host a special party. In Ketchum at Whiskey Jacques' it's an all you can eat and beer for $20 with $1 drinks. The Silver Dollar in Bellevue will be cooking for a party as well.
In Hailey at the Wicked Spud, there will be team-related treats for sale including pony platters and beer soaked bratwurst and sauerkraut. The game will be screened on a big screen TV.
Those who are not enamored of football and all the hype can take advantage of special sales at Burnsie's Boca in Ketchum, where champagne cocktails and wine will be served from noon to 5 p.m. Sturtevant's Mountain Sports will have a storewide sale from 8 to 5 p.m. And in Sun Valley, many of the stores in the village will hold sales over the course of the day.
Earlier in the day, St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center's Volunteer Core is offering a reprieve from the football overload, with a "Souper Bowl" party at the St. Charles Church Parish Hall in Hailey, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Hand-painted bowls containing soups and breads will be for sale: A quart of soup costs $10, or a quart of soup to go with a hand-painted bowl is $20; soup served in bowl with bread and water is $15; the bowl only is $15. Food donors include The Roosevelt Tavern, CK's Real Food, daVinci's, Fresshies, the Ketchum Grill, Il Naso, Ciro Restaurant and Wine Bar, Cristina's restaurant, Vintage, Shorty's Diner, Full Moon Steakhouse, Albertsons and the Bigwood Bread Bakery.
Proceeds will benefit Youth Adult Konnections. Also known as YAK!, the organization, which includes the Blaine County Teen Auxiliary Council, works to build healthy relationships between youths and adults within the community.