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Lovie Smith's Luckiest Game Of The Year Comes With A Chicago Bears Defeat....

Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

Very few things are shocking anymore in professional sports.  Only once in a great while will a Butler Bulldogs come around and get to a national title game or an eighth seeded Edmonton Oilers make the Stanley Cup Finals.  However what I saw yesterday from Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears absolutely shocked the living hell out of me.  Like many of you I waited with baited breath for the inactives to be released to see if that would give some sort of clue on exactly what Lovie Smith was going to do with playing time for his starting lineup.  Like many of you last week,  I was sick and tired of hearing the continuous conversation of what Lovie Smith should do versus what Lovie Smith will do handling who will play and who will not play.  Like many of you I was shocked that the starting lineup for the Chicago Bears played the entire game against a Green Bay Packers team playing for their playoff lives.   
While many (including myself) will remember this year as a year where the Bears were more lucky than good by catching the right teams at the right times, even in defeat yesterday that was Lovie Smith's luckiest game of the year.

With Atlanta's manhandling of the Carolina Panthers earlier in the afternoon, the playoff stage was already set for the Chicago Bears before kickoff.  There was nothing that the Chicago Bears could do in yesterday's game to alter their position in the NFC playoff picture.  There was NOTHING to play for.  However Lovie Smith rather than play the safe role and be as cautious as a head coach who has not made the postseason for the last three seasons let his ego get in the way of playing smart move.  Lovie Smith kept consistent with the same opening comments he made when he was hired as head coach of the Chicago Bears.  The overall number one main goal of a Lovie Smith led Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers.
How stupid and "meatballish" can you be?  
Lovie Smith acted less like a head coach in the NFL and more like a bullheaded Bears fan by allowing the maximum risk of injury upon all his starting players.  Of those starting players none are more important than the health and well being of the best Chicago Bears quarterback since Sid Luckman, Jay Cutler

Nothing is more important to this Chicago Bears team right now than the health of Jay Cutler.  No defensive stand, no Devin Hester return is more important than #6 under center managing the Chicago Bears offense for 30+ minutes of the game.  In a quarterback league and with backups named Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie, how can you possibly risk Jay Cutler's well being in a playoff year when this season's goal have yet to be achieved.
Lovie Smith let his ego allowed Jay Cutler to be sacked six times yesterday.  Did Lovie Smith know that Jay Cutler has been sacked more times than any other quarterback in the NFL?  How can you allow the possibility of more punishment to be placed on your quarterback when he has been beat up more than anyone else in the league?   Six times?  Even if I were to start Jay Cutler in that game yesterday on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, as soon as Cutler would have been pressured once the smart move would be to play Todd Collins and take your losses.  No matter the opponent, the fact of the matter is the Chicago Bears could not change their fate going into the postseason.  The arrogance of Lovie Smith to go for an undefeated division record against a team that had everything to play for, on top of being your top rival, showed me that what he said in his opening press conference was indeed true.
Lovie Smith would rather beat the Packers over playing in the playoffs.
Instead of discussing if Lovie Smith should win the coach of the year award (which by the way he is getting little to no consideration), we should hand him the "Meatball Fan Of The Year" award.  That is how Lovie Smith acted yesterday when questioned about if he thought at any point about pulling Jay Cutler during the game:
"Why would we do that? There was a game on the line and we were trying to win the game. That was never part of the mindset," Smith snapped
What Lovie fails to realize is although they were playing a game against a division opponent in the final contest of the season, there was NOTHING on the line.  No game, no division, no playoff appearance for the Chicago Bears was on the line.  It was not a must win or even a "do or die" situation, it was more scrimmage than exhibition.  At least that is what a smart football coach would think...right?   
I will say that Lovie Smith has done a much better job at managing his talent and his coaching staff this season.  Should he get some consideration for coach of the year, maybe. However yesterday showed me something that I thought I would never say when it came to Lovie SmithLovie Smith is the type of coach that lets pride get in the way of intelligent thinking.  Coaches like that never win, and I truly believe now that Lovie Smith is a head coach that will never win the Super Bowl unless he changes his ways.   
While fans may point out the "catch/non catch" of Calvin Johnson or the three third string quarterbacks the Bears faced this season as the biggest showing of lucky breaking the Bears way.  Yesterday in defeat was Lovie Smith's luckiest coaching performance by far this 2010 season.  In a game that meant NOTHING he allowed his number one offensive weapon to be hit not once, not twice but six or more times.  All of which could have been the end of this magical turnaround season for Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears.
Where would pride have gotten Lovie Smith then?  The same place playing his starters for the entire game got him yesterday.
John "Rock" Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and co-host of The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score
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You can catch Rock Mamola on The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT at 8pm.



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DarkAngel said:


I disagree for several reasons. 1) a chance to keep the packers out of the playoffs...i'd rather face the decimated Giants than these resurgant packers. 2) a chance to sweep your division and 3) most importantly, we learned yesterday that the Bears still have a long way to go in terms of having the Offense and Defense show up to the same game and play for 4 quarters

Rock Mamola said:



#1 - No matter the Packers or the Giants.....the bears would have to win once and the 6th seed would have to win twice for those teams to hook up. To worry about who you could POSSIBLY face in the NFC title game is foolish when you still have to win to get there.

#2 - who cares if they sweep the wouldn't have helped their playoff positioning.

#3 - Didn't we know already that the Bears have a long way to go to be the team to beat in the NFC. Then again who is?

That's my point....risking Cutler's health for NOTHING makes no sense. Sense, Lovie is lucky Cutler stayed healthy.

Thank for the comments


chisprtfan said:

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I disagree totally. I think your rant is assinine.
To go three weeks without playing real football would have been absolutely ridiculous. It would have cost the Bears the first game.
The integrity of the game demands that even a team with "nothing" to play for play its best game when the result does matter to the other team and the playoffs.
Should the starters have played the whole game? Open to debate. I would have started the subs for the first half so that they got some pre-playoff snaps. Then I would have put the starters in for the second half to try and defeat the Packers and keep the starters in stride physically.

Benching the starters for the whole game would have been the mark of a terrible coach.


Rock Mamola said:


Bringing up integrity of the game is a weak argument and fits right in with my point that Lovie Smith was more fan than head coach.

Only meatball fans care about the "integrity of the game". You think the Dallas Cowboys cared about the integrity of the game when they laid down to the Pack in Wade Phillips last game of the season? You think guys getting spit on during regulation cared about the "integrity of the game"?

Come on......

Although there is no proven science behind it, the Colts gave up an undefeated season in 2009 and got to the Super Bowl as healthy as they could be.

Then there are some examples where it doesn't work.

But the one thing the Bears have valued the most is their impeccable health at this point in the season. No reason to risk damaging that especially with Cutler and no back up plan....JUST IN CASE.

Thanks for the comments


winstonchill29 said:


Only meatball fans care about the integrity of the game?? I think you have it reversed! The integrity of the game is everything! The NFL as are all other professional sports is in the entertainment business. People pay the big bucks to go cheer on milionaires that they'll never meet. When that ticket is purchased, the teams have an obligation to fulfill. Especially against a division rival like Green Bay. Put yourself in the Giants position; how would you feel about "the integrity of the game" if the Bears marched out onto the field with Caleb Hanie behind center? Just for the record, Jay Cutler might be the franchise QB for the Bears, but that doesn't make him a great or even to far above average QB. You talk about back up plans, when they need to take a good look in the mirror and figure out what kind of plan they have now! I understand they are 11-5 and Cutler has showed up to MOST of those games, but he's not all much as I'd like him to be, he's just not!

DarkAngel said:


Chisprtfan, because of contract incentives, it's not really practical not to start the starters, especially if you are gonna play them anyway. but I kinda agree, this would have been a good time to get them in the game because as a long time Bears fan, I am sick of hearing the "didn't get enough reps with the first team" excuse.

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