Locker Room Chat: Lovie Smith

As much as Bears head coach Lovie Smith wanted his friend and mentor Tony Dungy to win a Super Bowl, it wasn't supposed to be at his own expense. The Bears had an incredible season and won the conference for the first time in a generation, but that means very little right now. Smith talked to the media at Dolphin Stadium after the game, and Bear Report was there to hear what he had to say.

Opening statement:
"Obviously, we are very disappointed. When you turn the ball over as much as we did tonight, it's really hard to win. We got off to a great start and had an 8-point lead. We made a little run there at the end, but the turnovers really did us in tonight."

On the play of the Colts defense:
"You have to give them a lot of credit. They had a great game plan coming in. I told our team after the game how proud I was of them and that we are going to continue to take steps in building our program. This is our third year, and I felt like we took a big step this year. Hopefully next season, we can take one more step and finish the job."

On not being able to score more points on offense:
"We knew with their offense that we were going to have to score some points. They were able to make some big plays on us, and we did not tackle tonight as well as we normally do."

On the poor weather conditions for Super Bowl Sunday:
"The weather was not a factor at all. Both teams had turnovers. They had three and we had [five]. We are used to playing in this type of weather, and I don't think that the weather had any bearing on the outcome of this game."

On the performance of the Colts' running game:
"I think you have to give them a lot of credit. I felt like their running backs ran hard, but I also think that we usually tackle better than we did."

On the immediate lift the team got on special teams:
"They gave us a big lift right away. Whenever you can start a game off like that, it gives you a lot of momentum. But it's all about keeping that momentum throughout the game."

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

On his team's offensive problems during the first half:
"We never got into a rhythm offensively. We made some good runs at times, but we never really got any rhythm going and never really established our run."

On if the wet ball was a factor in some of the Bears turnovers:
"The Colts were dealing with the same ball. You can't make mistakes like that, and that's just the way it goes."

On losing Cedric Benson so early in the game:
"Losing Cedric hurt us, but Thomas [Jones] ran well. We missed Cedric later in the ballgame. Again, we never got into any kind of rhythm running the football. You would like to think that having a runner like Cedric Benson available to you would help you, but he wasn't available to us."

On the strategy the Colts employed on defense:
"They had a really good game plan. You have to give the Colts a lot of credit for that. [Indianapolis defensive coordinator] Ron Meeks did a great job of calling the defensive game, and their players made some plays."

On losing to his good friend Tony Dungy:
"I am very disappointed for our ballclub. At the same time, I am happy for Tony and the Colts. Their ballclub played better than we did today. They are the champions."

On what he said to his team in the locker room after the game:
"I talked to our team about the steps we have taken in our program over the last three years. We are making progress. We have one more step to go. And I talked to them of how quick the turnaround will be. Before you know it, the offseason [conditioning program] will be here. Last year, we had a disappointing loss [at home to Carolina in the NFC divisional round]. We made progress the following year, and I see us doing the same thing this upcoming season. We will be a better ball club next year than we were this year."

JC


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