Sunday’s game in Chicago will mark the first time in over 11 years that head coach Lovie Smith walks the opposing sidelines at Soldier Field. On November 16, 2003 the then-St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator left the stadium with a 23-21 victory over the team he would eventually be hired to lead one year later.
Now, after having been one of the most successful coaches in Bears history during his nine-year tenure (2004-2012), it would seem that this particular visit would have extra meaning. And while Smith acknowledged his gratitude for the opportunity and great memories there, the first-year Bucs head coach downplayed his history with the team. He instead is treating the game as just another opportunity to win.
“My memories of my time in Chicago are all great memories,” Smith said. “I have lifetime friends from Chicago that will always be a part of our family. You talk about the opportunity I was given by the McCaskey family. It was all good memories. It’s apart of my past, but a part of my past that I will always cherish.
“But again, it’s about a football game and us trying to get a win,” he continued. “We have an NFC opponent and we have a chance to get a win,” Smith said. “I used to coach there a while back, like I did at Big Sandy high school, Arizona St, Kentucky, Ohio St, Tennessee and St. Louis. [I have] a lot of friends there, we need to get a win.”
Although players like Lavonte David have talked about watching highlights of former and current Bears greats, it seems Smith has relayed the message to the rest of his team.
“Not really, it’s just another game week for us,” said Lavonte David. “We’re just going out there to play another football game like last week. We’re taking it a week at a time, one game at a time and this week we have the Chicago Bears.”
“No,” said Gerald McCoy. “Chicago’s the next game on the schedule so that’s my motivation.”
A little history of coaches returning to face their former team:
In 2003, Tony Dungy came back to Tampa Bay as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts for a thrilling 38-35 overtime win over his former club. In 2012, Broncos head coach John Fox returned to Charlotte for a 36-14 blowout win over his old team, the Carolina Panthers. And most recently, Andy Reid traveled back to Lincoln Financial in 2013 and his Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 26-16.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Lovie can say all of the right and politically correct things but you know he wants to win this game just a little more than the others on the schedule. Wouldn’t it be refreshing for him to say it?
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