On the day he was hired, [just-discharged Bear coach Lovie] Smith said: "The No. 1 goal is to beat Green Bay. One of the first things [then-Chairman] Michael McCaskey said to me, he gave me the history behind the Green Bay-Chicago rivalry and the number of times he wanted us to beat them. I understand that. I feel the pain."Yes, but Halas and Ditka have titles to show for it, and at the Chicago Sun Times, for some time campaigning for regime change, Rick Morrissey explains that winning meaningless games against hapless Detroit doesn't cut it.
Smith repeated his No. 1 goal many times during his tenure, but he was not able to achieve it often enough. After winning seven of his first 10 games against the Packers, Smith lost eight of his next nine, including the NFC championship game in January 2011 at Soldier Field. The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl.
Smith's teams won the NFC North three times in nine years, but over the same period the Packers won the division six times. Smith was named NFL coach of the year in 2005, when he led the Bears to an NFC North title in his second year.
Smith won 81 games in his Bears career, placing him third in franchise history behind George Halas and Mike Ditka. He finished his tenure 18 games above .500.
Detroit had three 80-yard touchdown drives. You couldn’t help but wonder why the Bears can’t move the ball like that. You couldn’t help but wonder how a franchise can be so consistently underwhelming. There’s a reason the 1985 Bears are still so popular: Nothing much has happened in Chicago since they Super Bowl Shuffled.So mote it be, and there will probably be a few bottles of Old Style hoisted this evening. Meanwhile, the Vikings and the Packers represent the Black and Blue in the quest for the title.
It’s time for a change.
(And to think that as late as 1967, the National Football League title was already settled by year's end.)