"Rex made some
decisions at times this year that weren't smart," Muhammad said. "I
think he would admit that. But down the stretch he's done a great job of
protecting the football. That's the maturation process of a young quarterback.
He doesn't have to make the dangerous throw all the time. You saw that
Winning the NFC is
one thing, but a Grossman-led team beating a Peyton Manning--led team in the
Super Bowl is quite another. Who would believe that?
Lovie Smith would.
After he finished defending Grossman in his office last week, the unflappable
coach, sitting in a soft chair with one leg draped over the side, considered
his great fortune. There had been news reports of the Bears' feeble efforts to
re-sign Smith long term; he's the league's lowest-paid head coach at an annual
salary of $1.35 million, and the team had offered to double that as part of
multiyear deal. He declined, preferring to wait until after the season. Wise
move. He's probably a $5 million-a-year man now, even in an organization noted
for underpaying its coaches.
The money can
wait. Smith is just reveling in the moment. "I'm the head coach of the
Chicago Bears," he said. " George Halas's daughter [club executive
Virginia McCaskey] is in the office right next door. This is the organization
of George Halas, Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus. It's a great football
town. We're still playing to win a Super Bowl. How can life be any
With that, Smith
pulled up his left sleeve a few inches. "Look at this," he said. He had
goose bumps. You may not believe in the Bears' quarterback right now, but his
coach does. And you should definitely believe in the coach.