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Columnist
No, this win doesn't change my mind at all
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 12/29/2009 12:45 AM

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Well, what do you say, are you ready for the Bears to keep Lovie Smith as head coach?

Me neither.

No, not even after the Bears uncharacteristically resembled a football team while beating the Vikings 36-30 on "Monday Night Football."

Smith clearly believes he'll be coaching the Bears next season. He repeatedly used the word "future" in reference to what this victory means for him and his 6-9 team.

"As a football coach," Smith said, "your job is at stake every day you go to work."

The odds remain in Smith's favor. Pro football is a business, and it would be bad business for the McCaskey family to eat the approximately $35 million for his contract and other associated expenses.

Too bad. The fit of Lovie Smith and Chicago sports simply isn't a good one.

If Bears fans wanted Smith fired before this game at Soldier Field, they still should want him fired. It's absurd to think that his fate would depend on the game against the Vikings and next week's finale at Detroit.

Figuring out why so many Bears fans want Smith gone is simple: They're biased against people like him.

Oh, stop it. This has nothing to do with race, religion, ethnicity or any such thing. It has to do with style points. This is Chicago. A majority of sports fans here prefer high-octane to low-key.

That's why Ozzie Guillen's personality is better for White Sox fans than, say, Jerry Manuel's was. It's why so many Cubs fans campaigned for Lou Piniella to explode last season.

Seriously, stoical doesn't play well in these parts, and Smith comes across as being to Chicago sports what tofu turkey is to Thanksgiving.

In that respect, the man can't win for losing.

On most game days, or on this night, win or lose, Bears fans must feel like action-movie fans being forced to watch a chick flick. You go looking for Arnold Schwarzenegger and wind up with Hugh freakin' Grant, for "Terminator" and wind up with "Did You Hear About the Morgans?"

Maybe what Lovie Smith is selling will be bought here if his Bears win the Super Bowl. Championships solve everything, right? Yet even when they went to a Super Bowl three long years ago, his demeanor was only tolerable rather than embraceable.

When the Bears go three seasons without making the playoffs, as they have now, Smith is barely tolerable, much less embraceable.

It's about a public presence more than anything. Smith doesn't have one. So what you get is that hardly anybody anywhere - in saloons, in the stands, in the media - speaks up for him.

Win or lose these days, the Bears need a charisma injection. A playoff berth in any given season would help but a little pizazz wouldn't hurt to go with it.

It's almost incomprehensible that the McCaskeys would ignore the outcry against Smith, smirk in the face of the outrage and refuse to kick him out the door because of something as petty as the petty cash at Halas Hall.

Sorry to say, a good guess still is that's exactly what they'll do.

mimrem@dailyherald.com