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Chicago's Super Bowl



    Next step, the Super Bowl.

    The NFL's final four teams have a strong connection to the big game, from the first champion (Green Bay Packers) to the winner of perhaps the most significant game (New York Jets). And from possibly the best Super Bowl team (1985 Chicago Bears) to the most dominant team of the era (Pittsburgh Steelers).

    Any matchup at Cowboys Stadium next month will feature plenty of history.

    "I think everyone in the locker room knows the magnitude of this game, knows what we're going up against," Jay Cutler said, "but at the same time we're going to enjoy it, we're going to be loose, we're going to play our game. And we can't worry about what is going to happen afterward if we win, we lose, we just have to go out there and play."

    Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy has emphasized wanting to put up a photo of these Packers on the wall next to the other championship teams — including the first two Super Bowl winners (1966 and '67 seasons), and the 1996 squad.

    "We've never lost sight of it because it's always right behind me every day when I speak to the team," McCarthy said of his Packers, who face their 90-year rivals at 2 p.m. for the NFC title. "I pointed to that again ... we're halfway there."

    Should the Bears win, they will earn their third trip to the big game, one fewer than Green Bay, which is 3-1 in Super Bowls. Chicago is 1-1, having lost to the 2006 Colts.

    No one is comparing these Bears to the '85 version that pummeled the New England Patriots 46-10 for the crown. That team is considered by many the best of all the 44 Super Bowl winners.

    Should Chicago even approach that level on Sunday, it probably will be packing for Dallas.

    "It's a huge game for Chicago and Green Bay," Cutler said. "Just the number of times we've played each other, how familiar the two cities and the two teams are with each other, it's almost like a little mini-Super Bowl. But I know Chicago will be really disappointed if we don't win this game."