The Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts are making their final preparations for Sunday's National Football League Super Bowl game in Miami. As VOA's David Byrd reports, part of that preparation includes dealing with something neither team wants to think about, the possibility of losing.
Several players on the Chicago Bears team have Super Bowl experience, including backup quarterback Brian Griese and wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad. The difference between the two men? Griese won a Super Bowl ring with Denver, while Muhammad was on a losing team - the Carolina Panthers - in Super Bowl 38.
Bears Coach Lovie Smith said that he knows the pain of losing in the championship game, and, he says, it is a pain he hopes his players will not have to experience. "You know, I am one of them also, that has been on the losing side. And it leaves scars forever. You know, Fred Miller and Brian Griese both have championship rings. So, we have had a chance to show that ring to them (the team), as much as anything to let them get a look at what it means when you win it all," he said.
Part of the Bears' preparations has involved repetition of a single word - FINISH. Signs with the word, FINISH have been posted around the Bears' hotel and practice areas. Players received cards in their hotel rooms with the word FINISH on it. It has been 21 years since the Bears won a Super Bowl.
The Colts last won the NFL Championship in the 1970s. Colts' coach Tony Dungy says that his team is treating Sunday's contest like just another football game. "If we don't win the ballgame, I will be extremely disappointed," he said. "I will be happy for (Bears' Coach) Lovie Smith, probably happier for him than for anyone I would play against. But it really does not change. We are focused in and dialed in, and our responsibility is to our organization, to the state of Indiana and to our team. And that's our focus, and it is no different than any other game."
Coach Dungy and Coach Smith have had different approaches to motivating their teams. Smith, last year's Coach of the Year, said he has been brainstorming his pre-game speech for about a year now. Dungy brought in two-time Indianapolis-500 winning driver Helio Castroneves of Brazil to speak to the Colts. Castroneves, a Miami resident, spoke to the Colts after practice earlier this week. The Super Bowl is Sunday at Miami's Dolphin Stadium (starting at 2325 UTC).