Lovie Smith has seen highlights, lowlights, dim lights, spotlights in his nine seasons as Bears coach. As the beam of the national NFL spotlight begins swinging toward Chicago in earnest with the approach the Houston Texans next Sunday night, Smith clearly has no problem with his team savoring the moment.
Each game as you continue to win, the stakes go up a little bit higher, Smith said Monday. We realize that and were going to embrace it. Were going to embrace this national stage that we have this Sunday night.
For a lot of the first nine games of this season, the Bears had to listen to how easy their schedule was. The less-than-veiled insult was obvious.
Now they will begin a week leading into next Sundays game against the 7-1 and AFC-leading Houston Texans. The NBC-TV Sunday night broadcast team of Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels, doing the Atlanta-Dallas game after the Bears went to 7-1 with the win over Tennessee, already began the suggestion that this could be a Super Bowl preview.
The Houston game will still be in its highlight-replays phase when, win or lose, the ESPN Monday Night Football team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will commence describing the Bears-San Francisco 49ers MNF game of Nov. 19 as a possible NFC Championship game preview."
It wont hurt the hype that both the Bears (2010) and 49ers (2011) were losers in the last two NFC title games to the eventual Super Bowl winners.
It is arguably at this point where the level over veteran-ness commonly referred to as too many old guys becomes a tipping-point factor.
We cant sit around and talk about how good we are, defensive end Julius Peppers told CSNChicago.com after the Titans game.
Now they are going to be told how good they are. The surprise will be if a veteran-led team listens to that any more than it listened to the critics.
Were a 7-1 team, Smith declared. You are what your record says you are and were a 7-1 football team. Were a good football team. Were excited about playing the Texans. I see our team getting better and better.
We havent peaked yet. I havent been around a lot of teams that have peaked, and once you do peak you might start thinking about that. But thats not us.