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Super Bowl showdown mirrors baseball

furcalchick

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i'm not sure if anyone has seen this article yet, but it was written last week. just so interesting seeming the similarities in the two sports. i think rex grossman is like jeff weaver, horrible in the regular season and turning it up in the playoffs, and i won't be shocked if rex has the game of his like ala josh beckett in the big game.

Super Bowl showdown mirrors baseball
Common ground evident between gridiron, diamond
By Dean Chiungos / MLB.com

With the NFL's conference championship games in the books and Super Bowl XLI less than two weeks away, thoughts of Spring Training have begun creeping into the minds of baseball and football fans alike -- and not just because the big game will be played at Miami's Dolphin Stadium, home of the Florida Marlins.

Though football and baseball might seem miles apart, history -- and the universal parallels that create common ground across the sports world -- argues otherwise. In fact, the impending showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears calls to mind a number of striking, even eerie similarities between the two sports as we prepare for the end of the football season and the rebirth of our national pastime.

After the Bears dispatched the New Orleans Saints, 39-14, in the National Football Conference championship and the Colts bested the Patriots, 38-34, in the American Football Conference title game, Chicago's Lovie Smith and Indy's Tony Dungy have the chance to become the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl. Regardless, both men have already made history in becoming the first minority mentors to lead their squads to the big game.

In the fall of 1992, Cito Gaston became the first African-American manager to win the World Series when his Toronto Blue Jays downed the Atlanta Braves in six games. Of course, history repeated itself the following year, as Gaston's Jays toppled the Philadelphia Phillies, also in six games.

Making it to the Super Bowl is one thing, but Colts quarterback Peyton Manning -- a two-time NFL MVP -- won't silence his critics until he wins the big one. Just ask famed Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. They'll tell you that they'd trade all 10 of their regular-season MVPs for a championship.

Like St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, Manning has dominated his sport offensively over the last six years. Pujols won his first World Series title last October, and Manning will try to make a victory in Super Bowl XLI his defining moment.

Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is Chicago's latest favorite son, the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year, the leader of the new-age Monsters of the Midway. But many pundits believe that his resume will remain incomplete without a Super Bowl championship.

The legendary Michael Jordan faced similarly grand expectations in the Windy City before leading the Bulls to their first NBA championship in June 1991. Whereas Jordan captured five more titles in the next seven seasons, solidifying his status as perhaps the greatest athlete of his generation, Urlacher will surely be happy just to get off the schneid.

Ironically enough, the Colts are the NFL's version of the 2004 Red Sox, having staged a historic comeback in their third postseason try against an archnemesis to finally reach the big one. The Pats had Indy's number in the 2004 and 2005 postseasons, and the Yankees topped Boston in the 1999 and 2003 American League Championship Series.

From 1941 to 1953, the Yankees beat the Dodgers in all five of their World Series showdowns before Brooklyn turned the tables in the 1955 Fall Classic. And from 1976 to 1978, the Bronx Bombers bested the Royals in three straight ALCS before Kansas City exacted revenge in 1980.

Diehard Cardinals fans endured 24 years -- and three unsuccessful World Series appearances -- for their latest taste of championship glory. It's been 21 years since the Bears last captured a Super Bowl, as the Windy City faithful have been yearning for an excuse to dust off their "Super Bowl Shuffle" records in preparation for the big dance.

With the World Series won by the White Sox in 2005, the city of Chicago is on the verge of capturing its second major professional sports title in as many years. Boston sports fans recently celebrated championships in back-to-back years, as the 2003 Patriots and 2004 Red Sox gave the city plenty to cheer about.

The Colts will be making their first appearance in the Super Bowl since leaving Baltimore in 1984. It took the Braves 30 seasons to win a championship game after leaving Milwaukee. And it took the Twins 27 seasons to win it all after relocating from Washington, where the franchise began as the Senators.

His first full season under center was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride, but Rex Grossman persevered, stepping up his game in the playoffs and quarterbacking the Bears to the NFC crown (426 yards, two touchdowns, one interception in two postseason games). Much like Grossman, the Cardinals' arms struggled in the regular season before coming up aces in the 2006 playoffs (2.68 ERA). Can Grossman continue to defy the naysayers and finish the job, as the Redbirds did in October?

Boston fans feared the worst when Adam Vinatieri -- the most prolific kicker in NFL history, with a pair of Super Bowl-winning kicks to boot -- left Foxborough to sign with the Colts last offseason. Though the Colts didn't do in the Pats with Vinatieri's foot, New England fans can't be too pleased to see their former savior in the big game.

Red Sox fans, meanwhile, are crossing their fingers that Johnny Damon -- who kick-started Boston's Game 7 victory over the Bronx Bombers in the 2004 ALCS with a second-inning grand slam -- doesn't lead the hated Yankees to a World Series title.

As we close in on Super Bowl XLI, the gridiron truly is looking a lot like the baseball diamond. After all, "hit and run" isn't just a tactic. It's the name of the game.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20...sp&c_id=mlb
 

MVPosey

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:thumbdown
Dumb article...I guess MLB.com has to come up with something to write this time of the year
 

TSwift25

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I don't see how this Super Bowl mirrors the past World Series.

The team from the weaker conference (Bears) was the prohibitive conference favorite, unlike the Cardinals.

And the team from the stronger conference (Colts) has more name, face and national recognition than did the Tigers, even if you could make the case that the Colts are a cinderella story considering they toppled the mighty Patriots.
 

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