STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl at rainy Miami last night. They beat the Bears 29-17.

Here's NPR's Tom Goldman.

TOM GOLDMAN: Dolphin Stadium? No way. That had to be Chicago's Soldier Field we were sitting in last night, as Super Bowl 41 got underway.

(Soundbite of Super Bowl)

GOLDMAN: It's sounded like Soldier Field after Chicago rookie sensation Devin Hester ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. A good chunk of the 74,512 in the stands belted out the Bears fight song. It felt like Soldier Field, a stadium renowned for its harsh weather conditions. Yesterday, Miami went all Seattle on us. The rain went from driving to swirling, and delivered the soggiest Super Bowl in history.

Mr. WALLAN MYERS(ph) (Fan): We're at the Super Bowl, though. It's as good as it gets.

Mr. JASON NEEDHAM(ph) (Fan): And it's soaking wet. There's no possible - this is the wettest I've ever been in my life.

Mr. MYERS: Hey, is the Gore-Tex working?

Mr. NEEDHAM: No.

GOLDMAN: Colts fans Wallan Myers and Jason Needham(ph), both from Tennessee, were trying to dry out at halftime with little success. Still, they were happy. They had beer and their team had the lead. The Colts finally moved ahead of the Bears 16-14 with six minutes left in the first half.

Afterwards, quarterback Peyton Manning talked with pride about his team's response to Hester's stunning game-opening play.

Mr. PEYTON MANNING (Quarterback, Colts): Kind of like we've done all playoffs, no panic whatsoever. Everybody's stayed calm, really tried to go out. Everybody did their job.

GOLDMAN: Everybody on the Colts did do their jobs quite well, and the victory was an illustration of how this team has evolved. Known in recent years for their potent passing offense and little else, the Colts showed how versatile their offense has become.

Running backs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes slashed and powered their way, respectively, through Chicago's top-rated defense. The Colts defense, so horrid during the regular season, completed their playoff resurrection by slowing Chicago's runners and forcing inconsistent Bears quarterback Rex Grossman to make mistakes.

The costliest came with less than 12 minutes left in the game. Grossman forced a pass he later admitted he should have thrown out of bounds. It was intercepted by defensive back Kelvin Hayden, who returned at 56 yards for the backbreaking touchdown.

Manning won the Most Valuable Player Award. It had been written so many times that a Super Bowl victory was the one accomplishment missing from his sterling resume. A reporter noted to Manning that Manning looked more relieved than elated.

Mr. MANNING: Well, it's all happening pretty fast right now. I mean, I'm kind of - it's just kind of how I am, I guess. I'm excited. I'm proud to be on this team. I think this is something we'll enjoy, you know, for quite some time.

GOLDMAN: No joy for Grossman who did little to quiet the critics who dogged him through an up and down season. For the blazing Devin Hester, an historic moment; he was the first to run back a Super Bowl opening kickoff for a touchdown. But he ended up frustrated because the Colts effectively kicked away from him the rest of the night.

Mr. DEVIN HESTER (Chicago Bears): I don't think anybody going to remember that return; they're going to remember the team that won.

GOLDMAN: And the coach, too. The Colts' Tony Dungy became the first African-American head coach to win the championship. As the seconds wound down, his players gave him the traditional Gatorade/ice water dousing. Already soaked, Dungy still looked shocked and very happy.

Tom Goldman, NPR News, Miami.

(Soundbite of song, "Purple Rain")

PRINCE (Singer): (Singing) Purple rain, purple rain. Purple rain, purple rain. That's all right. Come on, y'all.

INSKEEP: Prince from a rainy halftime show on the NFL network. This is NPR News.

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