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Bet on the NFLAfter leading the Chicago Bears to the conference championships in 2011, coach Lovie Smith has been signed to a new two-year contract extension. He will be the head coach of the Bears through the 2013 NFL season, as the Chicago team looks ahead to the 2011-2012 season and a stronger showing in the playoffs. Smith has stated the goal is to make it to the Super Bowl and win.

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The Bears have had much more success than anyone expected of them. Some observers expected them to win only a handful of games and end up not even making it to the playoffs. The Bears, however, made it to within one game of the Super Bowl in 2011, losing to the eventual champion Green Bay Packers at home in Soldier Field.

Smith, as head coach in Chicago, is 66-52 over his seven seasons. He had coached the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006-2007, but the team was defeated by the Indianapolis Colts 29-17, despite the Bears having been up 14-6 in the first quarter. This was a disappointing loss for the Bears and one of the few chances they had to relive the Super Bowl success of the 1986 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

Since the end of the season, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo stated that he was interested in signing Lovie Smith to a contract extension. Smith, at the NFL Combine on Friday, stated that he was happy to get it done and gave credit to his coaching staff and the players themselves.

The Bears now have the Super Bowl champs in their division, and the rivalry between Chicago and Green Bay is legendary, with fanatics of both sides in Illinois and Wisconsin. With a year under offensive coordinator Mike Martz's belt, the team will be looking ahead to the future and improving on their already-impressive 2010-2011 season record.

 

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