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Match-up with Da Bears: Distractions

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We have another 10 days to talk about matchups with the Bears. I'll focus on little matchups here and there, but mostly I like to focus on the impact the game is having on the teams, and how they adjust leading up to and during the game.

Bill Polian has a lot of experience getting teams to Super Bowls. This is Polian's fifth Super Bowl fourth Super Bowl (he was fired from Buffalo after they lost their third). He guided Buffalo to four three in a row, but never won one. To his credit, he could never field a team that was "better" than any of the teams Buffalo faced. Dallas was a dynasty, the Giants had Parcells, and that Redskins team in 1991 was a beast.

This time around, Polian has a very, very good team. Maybe even a great one. But talent does not always win Super Bowls. Focus, concentration, and dedication to the team concept does. Here's what Polian said to say to the families of several Colts players as they ready themselves for the biggest game of their lives:

This is a business trip for these guys. It's the biggest game of their life. This is not a party. You have three months to party after we win.

As good as you felt winning (the AFC Championship), you'll feel that bad when they ship you off the field real quick (after the Super Bowl) because the winning team is getting a trophy.

How very, very true. Very often we see distractions beat a team long before the first snap of the game. In 1999, Atlanta had to deal with distractions involving Eugene Robinson (a man known for his outspoken religious believes and his charity work). Robinson solicited a hooker the night before the game and got caught. The Falcons were destroyed by the Broncos in that Super Bowl 34-19. In 2003, Oakland's Center Barret Robbins had a mental breakdown the night before Super Bowl 37, bringing to light years of serious mental illness and depression. Oakland deactivated him for the game, and got throttled by Tampa Bay 48-21.

The Colts have had their fair share of distractions leading up to big games. Last year's incident with Nick Harper and his wife comes to mind. In any case, blocking out distractions and focusing on the task at hand is key. Yes, I know that sounds boring. But it's true.