Lovie Smith contract extended

After leading Chicago to its second NFC Championship game in five years, Bears brass have signed coach Lovie Smith to a two-year contract extension.

LAKE FOREST, IL – The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with head coach Lovie Smith on a two-year contract extension that keeps him with the club through 2013.

Smith has led the Bears to three NFC North titles and three double-digit win totals in the last six seasons (2005, 2006 and 2010). The three division titles since 2005 are the second-most in the NFC (Seattle, four) and tied for fifth-most in the NFL. Since 2005, the Bears are one of just two teams in the NFC (Atlanta) to post three 11-plus win seasons.

Smith has a regular season coaching record of 63-49 (.563) and is 3-3 in the postseason (66-52 overall). His 66 wins are third-most in franchise history, trailing only Hall of Famers George Halas and Mike Ditka. He also guided the team to its first Super Bowl appearance in 21 years when Chicago advanced to Super Bowl XLI.

The Big Sandy, Texas native was named the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year for 2005 after becoming the fastest head coach in Bears history to lead the team to a division title. He joined Mike Ditka as the only other coach in franchise history to lead the team to consecutive division titles (2005, 2006) and is the first coach in team history to reach the playoffs in two of his first three seasons with the club.

Under Smith, the Bears own a 26-16 regular season record against NFC North opponents and have posted a regular season winning record against all three teams in the division. Chicago is 10-4 against Detroit and 8-6 against both Green Bay and Minnesota.

Since Smith became the 13th head coach in franchise history in 2004, Chicago's defense leads the NFL in takeaways (235), opponent third-down efficiency (33.8%), highest percentage of three-and-out drives forced (26.6%) and stuffs (398). The Bears' defense ranks second in the NFL in interceptions (137) and fumble recoveries (98), 3rd in the Aikman Efficiency Ratings for defense (78.8) and fourth in total points allowed (19.2) since 2004.

Smith is tied for the second-longest tenure in the NFC (Tom Coughlin, N.Y. Giants) and the tied for the fifth-longest tenure in the NFL.

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