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Are you experienced? Colts have it on game's biggest stage

Many of the Indianapolis Colts' most important players have been here before.


Following the 2006 season, the Colts came to South Florida and defeated the Chicago Bears 29-17 on a rain-soaked field in Super Bowl XLI.

Behind the numbers

   Every day this week, will break down a different statistical trend to monitor in 
  Super Bowl XLIV. 

» Monday:Brees vs. Manning
» Tuesday:Pressuring the quarterback
» Wednesday:Rushing breakdown
» Thursday:Positive turnover differential
» Friday:Field position
» Saturday:Super Bowl experience

» Sunday: Breaking down the kickers

Three years later, the opponent has changed, but the location remains the same, down to the hotel the Colts have stayed at all week and the rainy forecast for the weekend.

In all, 19 Colts have Super Bowl experience, including 17 who were with the team in 2006. Add cornerbacks Tim Jennings and T.J. Rushing, who were with the team and inactive for Super Bowl XLI, and the Colts' number grows to 21.

The New Orleans Saints, on the other hand, have four players with Super Bowl experience: fullback Kyle Eckel, cornerback Randall Gay, linebacker Jason Kyle and safety Darren Sharper. Gay is the only Saints player to have participated in a Super Bowl and won, doing so with the New England Patriots in 2004. Tight end Jeremy Shockey was on the New York Giants' roster when they won Super Bowl XLII, but he was inactive because of a leg injury.

Of course, all eyes are on Colts quarterback Peyton Manning this week as he looks to cement his legacy with a second Lombardi Trophy. But Manning was quick to downplay any advantage his team gained from having played here three years ago.

"I don't think staying at the same hotel helps you stop Drew Brees' offense or figure out where Darren Sharper's going to be," Manning said. "It still has a different feel. We have a new head coach, it's a different team. We have a number of new players."

Manning probably would rather forget his performance in Super Bowl XLI, when he threw one touchdown but also turned over the ball twice with an interception and a fumble.

Overall, Manning's journey to Super Bowl XLIV has been a much smoother ride this time. In 2006, Manning threw three touchdowns and seven interceptions in four playoff games. This postseason, Manning has been far more efficient, posting five touchdowns and one interception in two games leading up to the Super Bowl.

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