The Bears signed Lovie Smith to a deserved two-year contract extension, giving the coach a spot on the sidelines until 2013. Though he's assumed to be on the hot seat at the beginning of the season, Smith turned around an ugly season and led the Bears to the NFC North championship.
"Of course, I feel great about the extension. We're excited about the next step," Smith said at a press conference at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. "The hard work put in by our players and coaches put me in position to get this extension."
Robbie Gould, the Bears kicker and the player rep, showed his support to the coach.
"It is a well deserved extension, and I'm sure everyone on the team is excited for him to receive an extension," Gould said.
Bears fans usually aren't as effusive when talking about Smith, because it can be frustrating to watch him coach. His play calling can be baffling and his lack of emotion can make it seem like he doesn't care.
But the fact is that the Bears win under him. The team he coached this year was expected to finish third in the NFC North and miss the playoffs again. Instead, they rebounded from a disastrous start to win the division. He knows not only how to coach, but who to hire and trust with his players.
Chicago now has Jay Cutler, Jerry Angelo and Smith locked up through 2013, giving the team a clear timeline to get something done or get out of the way.
The Bears have come close to greatness, making the Super Bowl in 2006 and the NFC Championship game after the 2010 season, but the 1985 Bears remain the only Chicago team to have won a Super Bowl.