Friday, January 21, 2011

It's about time underappreciated Lovie gets some love - NFL - Football

It's about time underappreciated Lovie gets some love By Mike Freeman National Columnist Jan. 21, 2011Tell Mike your opinion! The last time I spoke to Tony Dungy he couldn't -- wouldn't -- stop talking about Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. "He'll never be fully appreciated because he doesn't care about getting credit," said Dungy of his friend to me not so long ago. "Some coaches brag about themselves. They want everyone to know they are the reason a team is winning. Lovie goes to work. Does his job. He's a quiet guy with a lot of skill." Lovie Smith is 63-49 in seven seasons as Bears coach and on the verge of a second Super Bowl appearance. (US Presswire) Of all the coaches left in the NFL's, final four it can be easily argued that Smith is the least bombastic and possibly the most talented doing more with less. After all, he went to a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as his quarterback. For that fact alone, Smith deserved coach of the decade. His current quarterback is fine. His wide receivers are average. His defense is slightly overrated. Yet he is still on the verge of going to his second Super Bowl. The Packers have Aaron Montana. Charles Woodson is one of the best players I've ever seen. Ben Roethlisberger may be a horrible human being but he's an elite quarterback and Troy Polamalu is a Hall of Famer. The Jets have a crushing wide receiving corps and cornerback Darrelle Revis is the best at his position in football. The Bears don't have legitimately elite players like this and, for the most part, they haven't during Smith's tenure. Yet Smith just churns along, so far under the radar he's cloaked. Tossing in an "aw shucks" here and "golly" there -- a Smith press conference is where excitement goes to die. Smith is a classic example of what happens in modern sports -- and to some degree modern society. Loud is considered good. Jerk is in. Extreme is the norm. Smith is none of these things so he suffers in the eyes of many Bears fans and national media types. "He's the reason we've won," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher told the media recently. "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. Now if we're not in the playoffs or the NFC championship people are disappointed and that's because of him. That's how he makes people believe around here and that's what he expects of us. I believe in him. I don't see why he wouldn't get an extension. He's earned it and I don't want to play for any other coach." Chicago Bears Related links NFC title game: Packers at Bears, 3 p.m. ET Sun. Benoit: Seven-point preview of Packers-Bears Chamberlain: Bears see need to seize opportunity Prisco: Packers 23, Bears 14 | All expert picks Video Kirwan: Previewing Packers-Bears matchup NFL Today: NFC championship breakdown No toe licking. No screaming. No taunting. Just coaching. The underrated, the under-discussed, the near unknown. That's Lovie Smith. In many ways, Smith is Dungy, and Dungy is Smith. They're extremely close, almost like brothers, and Smith is living his life the way Dungy did. Smith doesn't rise to extremes. He's placid, but that doesn't translate to flaccid. When Dungy was an assistant coach, proving he was more than capable to lead a team, his quiet demeanor was a big reason (among others) he was passed over repeatedly for head coaching jobs. Now, it's Smith's quiet demeanor being the main reason he's often passed over for respect. Smith has made the playoffs in three of his seven seasons and amassed a 63-49 record. With the exception of one season, the Bears have always been in the playoff hunt with Smith in control. He's not Lombardi, but he might be better than Ditka. A British graffiti artist named Bansky recently said: "In the future, everybody will be anonymous for 15 minutes." The phrase is a clever twist on Warhol's famous words. In some ways, Smith is practically anonymous now. Of all the coaches remaining he's among the least quoted, the least Googled, the least known. Despite being one of the best. For more from Mike Freeman, check him out on Twitter: @realfreemancbs

Posted via email from Brian's posterous

No comments: