Daily Herald
No Lovie lost: McCaskeys, we have a problem
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 9/14/2010 12:00 AM

Bears head coach Lovie Smith poses a big problem for the McCaskeys.

If they're aware enough to realize it, that is.

As the most prominent spokesman for the franchise, Smith has squandered all of his and his team's credibility.

To the public Smith is wrong even when he's right. He's dumb even when he's smart. He's losing even when he's winning.

The same could be said of current Bears chairman Mike McCaskey and likely will be said of incoming chairman George McCaskey.

It also could be said of Bears president Ted Phillips, general manager Jerry Angelo and assistant coaches when they're allowed to speak publicly.

Most were skewered even after the Bears beat the Lions.

But Lovie Smith is the person out front most often. Judging by his demeanor he's out front more often than he would like.

Last week Smith wondered out loud what circumstances could have changed that would prompt him to say something new from Wednesday's media briefing to Thursday's.

Smith rarely says anything that's new, or news, for that matter. By now we pretty much know his views on everything and he isn't one to adjust them from, say, decade to decade.

In our world that's called stubborn; in Smith's world it's called consistent.

So, no, Lovie Smith didn't change his viewpoints on anything from Sunday to Monday.

Smith still would disdain a field goal on fourth down at the goal line. He still would play the defense the same way on Detroit's last drive that almost turned disastrous for the Bears. He still would be the coach and you wouldn't be.

I say all this as somebody who doesn't believe Smith necessarily wrong for going for a touchdown instead of kicking the Bears into the lead.

However, the difference is that I can see the merit in the other side and am not opposed to acknowledging it, while Smith will remain defiant and defensive of his position.

The impression is that Smith wouldn't give in at gunpoint. He would give his name, rank and serial number, endure torture and still insist his way is the only logical way.

That isn't only an insult to former football players and coaches now in the media who say that Smith's strategy was wrong.

It's an insult to every fan in the stands and at home who knows a little about football, who loves the Bears and who thinks there's another side to the story.

Lovie Smith, the franchise's most prominent figure, dismisses the possibility that someone who pays to support the Bears might have a legitimate point.

If the McCaskeys are listening they should be disgusted that the face of the franchise smirks back at customers who own personal seat licenses.

Heck, the guy who walks up row after row in Soldier Field's west upper deck might have had Bears season tickets since before Smith was born.

Yet the head coach demonstrates little respect for that fan's view of that decision at the goal line or any other coaching decision.

Look, this isn't to say that Lovie Smith should compromise his football beliefs. It's just to say that he didn't invent the game.

Other opinions, from inside and outside the organization, should be encouraged.

They don't seem to be, and the McCaskeys should be concerned about that.

mimrem@dailyherald.com