Key Decisions Put Bears Near Super Bowl

Key Decisions Put Bears Near Super Bowl

Besides "Can you still feel your toes?'' one question will float in the frigid air Sunday before Chicago's most significant pro football game at Soldier Field since the first one there Nov. 11, 1926.

How in the name of Gene Steratore did the Bears get here?

America expected the Packers to be playing for a trip to the Super Bowl. Back in preseason, before they lost 15 players to injured reserve, the Packers were as trendy a pick as your new iPad.

As for the Bears, most people outside Halas Hall figured if they were welcoming satellite trucks to their facility in late January, it would be to introduce a new head coach. When the Bears needed Steratore to rule Lions receiver Calvin Johnson didn't maintain possession of a touchdown catch with 24 seconds left in the season opener that would have beaten them at home, regime change only seemed more inevitable.

Instead, Smith stands four quarters away from doing something Mike Ditka never did: Take a second Bears team to the Super Bowl.

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