Super Bowl Sunday is a marketer's dream, the year's most topsy-turvy three and a half hours, as viewers of every stripe are glued to every second... of the commercials. The game's an afterthought to casual viewers, which prompted us to take liberties. Simulating the game, that's one thing, but we took it to the next level in our Super Bowl What If? and came up with seven scenarios. Plus, we had Ryan and Luke capture some of their own best scenarios on video -- check out those to the right!
What if the sky opens up, and it rains like crazy?
Weather.com's forecast claims clear skies for Sunday, but what if Hurricane Jehosephat stirred up-we all saw The Inconvenient Truth, we know it's possible. We threw out the weather report, and with a downpour and 20 mph winds helicoptering most every pass, the outdoor-savvy Bears turned the Colts into a turnover machine. Four fumbles, two picks, and a ground game turned the Bears into champs, 14-6.
What if Lovie Smith turncoats Rex Grossman and goes with Brian Griese?
By no means is Rex Grossman the worst Super Bowl QB ever, but he's far from the best (though, of course he could morph into the next Doug Williams on the super stage). We let Rex play the first half, and he was more than adequate, leading the Bears to two scores, just a field goal behind the Colts, 17-14. For the second half, we inserted Brian Griese. For those who wondered why he never replaced Rex, here's why: he was awful. Two INT's, a lost fumble and a whole lot of inadequacy, as the Colts stomped on to win the game 38-14.
What if Peyton Manning's thumb injury kept him out of the last three quarters?
No question, Peyton Manning will start, but the severity of his thumb injury is still unknown. So we played God, and plucked him out of the game after the first quarter, Colts up 14-0 (he'd already thrown two TD's). With Jim Sorgi as Peyton's replacement, the tide turned. The Colts couldn't run, the Bears intimidated Sorgi, and the it came down to the last play, game tied at 17. But wouldn't you know: Adam Vinatieri saved the day. His game-winning field goal won it for Indy, 20-17. Maybe the Colts don't need Manning! Ha.
What if Tank Johnson's gun charge kept him in Illinois?
It was big news that a judge let Bears DT Tank Johnson to take the trip to Miami. But what if the law dogs had said no? Big trouble for the Bears run defense. The Colts were able to shimmy and slide through the front four without too many problems-though Brian Urlacher made them pay once they reached the linebackers. Still, splitting carries, Dominic Rhodes ran for 72 yards, Joseph Addai tacked on 66, and the Colts ground down the Bears, which set up their passing game. Peyton exorcised any demons, throwing four TD's, and the Colts won 35-20.
What if Edgerrin James never left Indianapolis?
When Edge split for Arizona, he knew he was going from the top rung of the football ladder to the bottom. The Cardinals are improving, but we played the Super Bowl as if he'd never left. Did he make an impact? You bet. It took more than just Urlacher to topple James, as he trundled for 121 yards, and a touchdown in the Colt's 21-18 win.
What if Peyton Manning was switcheroo'd with brother, Eli?
Alright, this is obviously a stretch-but Eli has to be insanely jealous, as his Giants tailspun their way into playofflessness this season (and with no more Tiki Barber, the future isn't so bright in the Big Apple). So we plugged Eli in, and he promptly acted like Eli: one touchdown, three interceptions and a Manning Pouty Face in the 31-10 Chicago stomping.
What if New Orleans and New England got their football wish?
Okay, so what if the Saints didn't tank after Reggie's 88-yard TD in the NFC Championship Game, and the Patriots didn't crumble to the Colts after leading 21-3? The Super Bowl featured a completely partisan crowd, who got their wish. Reggie Bush only rushed for 66 yards, but Drew Brees threw and threw and threw. The result? Saints 27, Belichick 17.