Peyton Manning was 30 and already had built an impressive NFL resume in his nine seasons with the Colts. Still, some questioned if he could ever win the big game.
After Bears kick returner Devin Hester took back the opening kickoff in Super Bowl XLI and Manning threw a pick five plays later, it looked like his critics might be right.
But Manning got it together, completing 24 of his next 34 passes and methodically picking apart the Bears’ defense en route to his only Super Bowl victory and the MVP.
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera was then the coordinator of the NFC’s top-ranked defense, which gave up 430 yards and was outscored 23-3 in the final three quarters of the 29-17 loss, as Manning’s hurry-up offense wore down the Bears.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera was Bears defensive coordinator when Peyton Manning won his only Super Bowl (so far) in 2006 season. Rematch?— Cam Inman (@CamInman) January 25, 2016
Ron Rivera faced Peyton Manning in Super Bowl before as member of Chicago Bears coaching staff. Manning's Colts won.— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) January 25, 2016
After the Super Bowl loss, the Bears surprisingly parted ways with Rivera, who ended up being the Chargers linebackers coach the next season. In 2011, Rivera was named the Panthers head coach.