MIAMI – They wrung their jerseys, partied through the night, boarded their charter, headed back to drier climates and then prepared to answer the inevitable question: What have you done lately? The Indianapolis Colts rule the world of professional football after holding off the torrent and the Chicago Bears on Sunday in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17. The Colts thought winning their first Super Bowl since packing up the trucks and sneaking out of Baltimore on a snowy night in 1984 was tough, but now comes the really challenging part – repeating. That’s far from a lock, though hardly unprecedented. Eight different times a Super Bowl champion has returned the next season to reclaim the championship, most recently by New England (2004-05). “It’s difficult to repeat in this league,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said. “It’s so competitive that any little slippage is not going to allow you to get back to the top. “What New England did, we have a lot of respect for. We know how tough it is to get here, but to get here and continually get here, takes something special.” Which begs the question, how special are the Colts? “I think we have special guys” Dungy said. “We’re going to talk about the challenge of repeating and what it’s going to take, that we’re going to have to play better.” Chances are, they will have to play better. Perhaps much better. No one was ready to rate the Colts’ squeaky performance over the Bears as one of the greatest in Super Bowl history. Probably not even in the Top 20. Indianapolis proved it is much more than just quarterback Peyton Manning, the offensive line controlling the Bears’ heralded defense, giving its running backs serious holes, and with a defense that continually stepped up in the poor weather. Yet the Indianapolis roster is hardly loaded with players who scream future Hall of Famers – outside of Manning, there are no locks – and the AFC is loaded with superior teams. New England, San Diego and Baltimore all probably could have beaten the Bears on Sunday. The Colts controlled the game, but hardly dominated it. Despite all their offensive struggles and defensive disappointments, the Bears were still in position to come back and win the game, trailing 22-17 early in the fourth quarter. Still, the Colts proved to be much more of a team than most had given them credit. Manning never did have that classic five-touchdown game in the postseason, and still the Colts won it all. Certainly, there will be changes. They are an inevitable part of modern professional sports. Indianapolis will have to make financial decisions about several free agents, including defensive end Dwight Freeney, linebacker Cato June and running back Dominic Rhodes. Dungy, too, had hinted this season he might head into the sunset with a victory, though at Monday’s Super Bowl press conference he sounded like a man intent on coaching for several more years. “I still have a lot of passion. I’m not burned out. I’m not tired,” Dungy said. “I’m very, very fired up. I’m looking forward to coming back.” Manning rid himself of that Dan Marino tag of great quarterback who never won the big one, and he hardly seems the type to ease up now that he has a ring. “I want to be accountable each and every year,” Manning said. “Next year, our goal is be a better quarterback.” In some ways, despite their disappointing performance, the mostly young Bears are almost in better position to return. Alas, one of their questions happens to be at the quarterback position, where Rex Grossman’s Super Bowl performance once again sent his skeptics screaming into the night demanding change. Backups Brian Griese and Kyle Orton could again get looks, though Chicago fans have already begun calling to acquire Jeff Garcia. Returning is never guaranteed, even if champion. One Las Vegas line already has San Diego as the 2008 Super Bowl favorite. [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!