Jan/29/15 08:48 AM Filed in: Devin Hester
On February 4, 2007, the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears were playing in Super Bowl XLI in Miami. It would be a sixty-minute game to determine the NFL champion and one of the teams would be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy when it was done. The Colts were two weeks removed from the largest comeback in conference championship game history and the greatest game in Colts history, as they came back to defeat the Patriots 38-34.
As you might have guessed, the Colts were pretty pumped up for that Super Bowl game, which would be their first since 1971 - well before they had moved to Indianapolis. The night before the game, head coach Tony Dungy stood in front of his team and passionately implored his team to fight, to stick together, talked to them about honor, etc. - nothing abnormal, but he also noted that the Colts would have to weather a storm at some point on Super Bowl Sunday in order to win.
The team was absolutely pumped up. And Tony Dungy was too. As he recalled on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this week (per the Chicago Sun-Times), that resulted in a change in the team's game plan.
"We had decided all week that we were not going to kick the ball to Devin Hester," Dungy said on the show. "That night after the meeting, I thought that was playing scared. So, the next morning as we're going to the game, I told the team I hope we lose the toss because if we do, we're going to kick it right down the middle to Hester. We're going to pound him. Then, they know we've taken their best threat. They're going to be finished.
"Thirteen seconds later he was in the end zone," Dungy continued. "Everybody is looking at me saying, who's that? I went back and said to them, I told you we'd have a storm."
It's a funny story now looking back on it, but it wasn't a good way to start the game at all for the Colts, as the league's best return man took it to the house on the opening kickoff - the first time in Super Bowl history that had happened. The Colts learned their lesson after that, but it's a funny story to hear now from Dungy - especially because, despite the early kickoff return, the Colts won 29-17 over the Bears and hoisted the Lombardi later that night.