All-Access with Bears coach, GM
ALL ACCESS: A lot of networks do TV interviews, but have you ever wanted to know the juicy details that never make air? You can tell a lot about who people really are when the cameras aren’t rolling. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the interview that Pam Oliver had with Chicago GM Jerry Angelo and Coach Lovie Smith for this week’s segment on the NFL on FOX pregame show.
The Bears may be a game away from the Super Bowl, but their general manager and head coach best keep their head on a swivel. They should be canned, and then tarred and feathered upon departure. To drive home the point; you’re not wanted here without a Super Bowl victory. Even if the sweet taste of victory does come, ya’ll need to scat.
Or so says a large faction of Chicago media, claiming Chicago Bears fans are in lock-step, demanding the same thing.
That’s the theme I’ve noticed time and time again. I asked our research department for articles on Coach Lovie Smith and GM Jerry Angelo for our feature on Fox NFL Sunday that depict the seeming disdain held for the two men.
I used the word distain because a September newspaper headline actually said Smith creates disdain because of his enthusiasm. Translated, to be positive and stick to what you believe in as the Bears head football coach is boring. He doesn’t yell, scream or curse, which equates to lacking passion in some corners. Players are tired of the misperceptions about their coach.
“It drives me nuts when people talk about him like that, because with us he is not like that," Brian Urlacher said. "I mean, he’s personable, you know what I mean, in the locker room. If we are not playing good or something needs to be said, he will say it. And when he talks, we respond, you know?”
I sat down with Smith and Angelo on Thursday and talked to them about the upcoming game against the rival Packers and their working relationship. But where they each got most passionate was when the conversation changed to the Chicago media and its mostly caustic approach in general, and to its coverage of the Bears in particular. Even when things are going well for the reigning NFC North division champs, it’s never quite good enough.
Angelo, who’s helped build the Bears as we know them over the last decade, candidly admits to feeling the need to put up his guard sometimes.
“There are going to be some things said that obviously aren’t very fair, and you know, aren’t grounded in the least. That’s just their spin and that’s just part of it,” Angelo said.
“So we understand that and we don’t take that personal. That’s the one thing I will say. You can’t do that in this business. I know Lovie doesn’t do that, I know I don’t do that. It’s not easy sometimes, but you can’t take things personal.”
Could you imagine if Smith was the read-and-react type? He wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning if he obsessed about being disliked.
“Everyone wants to be liked. I want to be liked by certain people that I care about and want them to believe in what we’re doing. I’ve always had that. I’ve never questioned that,” Lovie said.
Throughout the entire series of interviews, I’m leaning forward in my chair. It’s mainly because the chair in so uncomfortable. By the end of the interview, Lovie’s leaning forward too. We’re having a lean off.
Lovie’s posture changed as we began to discuss his beloved Bears and the potential to play the Super Bowl for what would be the second time in his seven years with the team. He gave his longest answer to my question about winning it all and sticking to a consistent course to perhaps win it all.
“This year going into camp we wanted to talk about our tradition. No one has a tradition like the Chicago Bears,” he said. “I believe that if you’re a good football team and you’re doing it the right way, eventually good things will happen.”
As for Angelo, his vision doesn’t venture far from the guy he hired as head coach seven years ago. And that’s what just drives ’em crazy in Chi-town.
For Pam’s complete interview with Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith tune in Sunday to NFL on FOX for America’s No. 1 pregame show at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT.