I promise to limit trivial banter about pro football to few entries but the nation now knows what many of us in the Windy City already knew, Chicago does have a very good football team this season. The Bears not only beat the media darling "Katrina sympathy" Saints very handily, but they did it the old fashioned way, with very good defense. Now they play in Super Bowl XLI on February 4. (You know you are aging when you can easily remember the first Super Bowl and Green Bay’s win and it seems not too long ago!)

I am also pleased that the Indianapolis Colts won. No so much because I am a huge Colts fan as that I grew weary of all the trash talk about Peyton Manning not being able to win the big game. Peyton Manning is a class act and a really good guy. You win as a team and you lose as a team. Why so much is made out of a proven great quarterback who can’t win the biggest game I will never understand. The Bears clearly won with a mediocre quaterback and what does that prove except that this is a real team sport? Maybe the pundits will give Peyton Manning a rest now but if the Bears win in two weeks I doubt it.

One other interesting development is the fact that we have the first African-American head coach of a super bowl team in Lovie Smith of the Bears. But then by the end of yesterday we had the second African-American head coach of a super bowl team in another truly good guy, Tony Dungy of the Colts. These are not major culture shaping events but it is good for the sport and the country to have such successful African-American leaders. Bravo for the owners who hired them and bravo for two good men who succeeded against pretty great odds. This is one of those things about sports that does make a positive cultural contribution, or so I think.

So, for now, I am singing with the hometown crowd, "Bear down Chicago Bears . . . " It will be an interesting two weeks of hype here in the great city by the Lake.

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