Brian Urlacher thinks that Lovie Smith has earned his money. Urlacher told "Mike and Mike in the Morning" that Smith deserves a contract extension not just for guiding the Bears into the post season three times in his seven years as a Bears coach, but for raising expectations.
"I think he's been here seven years and this is our second NFC Championship [Game], and it hasn't been that way around here in a long time. There were a few years where we were 7-9, 8-8 and that was good. People were excited about that because it meant we were getting better."
Urlacher is right. Not about the record -- no Smith team has finished 8-8 -- but the fact is that Lovie wins. He's done it 63 times for the Bears, compared to 49 losses. With Jerry Angelo's help and smart hires for his coaching staff, he elevated the Bears, a team that most expected to finish third in the NFC, to an 11-5 team that's in the NFC championship game. Under his guidance, the Bears somehow got back on the right track after a disastrous stretch in the season. That's not a job that many other could do.
He's hardly the perfect coach. His challenges, timeouts and clock management can baffle the mind, and his stoicism can be infuriating. He's not Ditka. He's not going to yell, scream or entertain us, but that's not what he's paid to do. He's paid to win, and he's done that.
Why would we want anyone else?