Bears pay no mind to doubters
Mention that the Bears are 7-point underdogs in next Sunday's Super Bowl to their all-pro center Olin Kreutz and you might as well be noting that the weather in Chicago is freezing.
You get the same ho-hum, what-else-is-new shrug of the shoulder pads.
"No surprise," over being the underdog on all the betting lines, said the Saint Louis School graduate. No humming of R-E-S-P-E-C-T. No vitriol, either.
"We don't worry about what other people say about us," Kreutz said.
Good thing, too, because if they had, the Bears would have a complex by now given how often they have been written off and dismissed along their apparently improbable road to Miami.
A show of hands, please, from all those who don't hold Da Bears holy and who still thought they would be in attendance at XLI. That's what we thought.
A lot of people saw them as certain victims of Seattle in an early playoff pratfall. Many viewed the Bears as fodder for New Orleans. Remember the Disney-esque team of destiny scenario?
With that kind of a backdrop, it is no wonder why Kreutz said he expected the Bears to be underdogs — before he knew who they'd be playing in the Super Bowl. "I mean, people don't see in us the team that we see in ourselves," Kreutz said. "We believe in ourselves and don't worry about what others say."
For all the credence their 13-3 regular season record as the foremost NFC seed should have given them, the Bears head south voted by popular opinion as the team least likely to succeed. Truth be told, a lot of people think the 7-point spread isn't enough. That the quarterback matchup of Rex Grossman vs. Peyton Manning itself requires more than a one-touchdown difference. That the Bear packing the most firepower is Tank Johnson, not Grossman.
In all this Grossman is something of a symbol of the team he leads. Perhaps no Super Bowl-bound quarterback has been so doubted, so dumped on since Trent Dilfer.
Not that this seems to unsettle the Bears at all. It motivates them. Just more fuel to stoke the competitive fires.
"Our main goal is to win games," Kreutz said. "People want us to win games and do style points. Well, that's not what we are after. We're just after winning games."
Fifteen times this season it was an approach that served them well. One more success and Kreutz and the Bears will leave no doubt they have it right. One more win and all anybody will be able to call them is Super Bowl champions.
Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com or 525-8044.