Chicago Bears: Super bowl
"I'm going for them," he said during a radio interview for NFL.com. "A lot of my friends are still on the team. A lot of my good friends, guys I've played with for 10-11 years, so I'm still rooting for them. I hope they do well.
"They better not win a championship without me, because I'll be really (ticked)."
Urlacher, 35, spent all 13 seasons of his NFL career with the Bears. The parting wasn't entirely amicable as Urlacher, whose contract expired after last season, wanted to continue playing for the Bears. Urlacher's side made a contract offer, the Bears counter-offered, and after Urlacher's camp tried to continue negotiating the Bears issued a press release that the two sides were moving on in different directions.
Urlacher said he would have appreciated a call from someone in the organization after such a long and distinguished career with the Bears. Team chairman George McCaskey later called Urlacher, saying he wanted to let emotions cool off first.
The relationship between the franchise and one of its greatest players appears to have been on the mend since, and it's not likely to be affected by Urlacher's dry sense of humor. It's likely many will accept that it's human nature for someone to hope his former team does not do better without him. Urlacher played in just one Super Bowl with the Bears, losing to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
"(If they do well) I'll be happy for them," Urlacher said. "Like I said, I have a lot of good friends on the team, but I don't want them to go to the Super Bowl without me."
"The mayor and Roger Goodell spoke last week on a number of matters," Emanuel's spokesman, Tom Alexander, said to ESPNChicago.com. "They speak or see one another on occasion. The mayor spoke with the commissioner about several things that would allow Chicago and the NFL to expand their already wonderful relationship. Chicago is a great sports town and a great football town, and the mayor wants to build on these strengths."
Besides talk of Soldier Field hosting the Super Bowl, Emanuel also pitched the idea of Chicago becoming the new home of the annual NFL draft. The league is considering moving the draft out of New York City's Radio City Music Hall after 2014.
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The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants will miss the playoffs along with the Dallas Cowboys as the balance of power in the NFC lies in the NFC North this season.
Madden '13 simulated the 2012 NFL season and forecasted great things for the Bears, who match the Packers with a 12-4 record and earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
So will it be "Super Bears, Super Bowl?" That's what Madden '13 predicts with the Bears taking on NFL MVP Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Brandon Marshall didn't back down Monday on his talk of a Super Bowl this season in an interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols.
The new Chicago Bears receiver riled up a Family Fest crowd on Friday night at Soldier Field when he said "This is just between us, so keep it here ... Super Bowl."
Marshall said Super Bowl talk is "a reality around here."
"We break it down on 'Super Bowl' or 'champions' every single day, and it's a reality for us around here," Marshall said. "A lot of teams ... everyone's goal is to make it to the Super Bowl, but for us I think we really have a chance. We have the pieces, we have the coaches to do it."
"Chicago is a great community," Goodell said at his annual Super Bowl press conference. "I hear it from my wife every day, by the way, but as far as football fans are concerned, there is no greater passion in Chicago. There are a number of issues that go into playing a Super Bowl. It’s not just the stadium. It’s clearly the number of hotel rooms, the other infrastructure, all of which I presume that Chicago would meet.
"If they’re interested, we certainly will meet with them and discuss the ability to do that.”
But given the Bears current stadium situation, Chicago's odds to land a Super Bowl might be slim. Soldier Field's seating capacity of 61,500 is the smallest in the NFL. And all of the recent Super Bowls awarded to cold-weather cities (Detroit, Indianapolis, New York/New Jersey) have been or will be played in new, state of the art stadiums.
INDIANAPOLIS -- David Diehl is accustomed to rolling up his sleeves.
A veteran starter on the New York Giants' offensive line, Diehl embraces the hard-working, South Side mentality he inherited from his father, Jerry, a former milkman and beer vendor at old Comiskey Park. So it came as no surprise to witness the Chicago native roll up the sleeves of his game jersey Thursday morning at the Giants Super Bowl XLVI team hotel to show off two of his favorite tattoos: the Croatian shied and Chief Illiniwek.
"[The Chief] was my first tattoo I ever got," Diehl said.
Besides the ink on his upper right arm, Diehl pays homage to the retired school symbol whenever starting line-ups are announced during nationally televised game.
"David Diehl, University of Chief Illiniwek," he says.
"I've done that since my rookie year," Diehl said. "One time I think in the nine years I've played, the television station made me do from the University of Illinois because they made me record it. They forced me to do it. They told me you're not leaving the room until you record one of those. So I think it's been played one time.
"But I loved my five years I spent at the University of Illinois. The bonds, the people I met, the education I received...I can look back on those five years and say I wouldn't change anything about them. Being a guy from Chicago, staying in-state, that meant a lot to me. Winning a Big Tent title in 2001 and playing for coach [Ron] Turner...No. 1, playing for coach Turner gave me a huge boost going into the NFL and playing for the Giants my rookie year. For my five years at Illinois, I ran a pro offense, so when I got drafted by the Giants, I knew the entire offense. The only thing I had to do was switch terminology, which put me light years ahead of everybody else."
Diehl continues to be heavily involved in the Illinois football program. He donated a weight room to the program two years ago, and makes it a point to get to Champaign whenever possible.
"I'm especially excited about this upcoming season," Diehl said. "One of my fellow teammates, [former Bears assistant coach] Luke Butkus, took over as offensive line coach at Illinois. I'm happy he's back home and is going to do a great job for those guys."
The task now for Diehl turns to winning another Super Bowl ring. With Indianapolis being in such close proximity to Chicago, Diehl is able to be surrounded by his Chicago based family who made the short three-hour drive for Super Bowl week.
"It's great to do this Super Bowl so close to home. My family gets to experience it just as much as I do."
Anderson, selected in round No. 5 of the 2006 NFL draft, burst onto the scene as a rookie with a team-high 12 sacks, and was a valuable member of a defense that propelled the Bears to a berth in Super Bowl XLI.
Then it all began to unravel.
The Bears made Anderson a starter the following season. He lost his starting job then he lost his job period when the Bears released the pass-rusher in 2010. After a stint in Houston, Anderson found new life in New England, where he recorded 11 combined sacks for the AFC champion Patriots.
Surrounded by media at his own reserved section at Super Bowl XLVI media day Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Anderson admitted he took the initial trip to the Super Bowl for granted.
“Honestly it’s true," Anderson said. "After my first year in the league, I knew we would go back. I thought all you had to do was win a majority of the games in the regular season and then win out in the playoffs. We didn’t even make the playoffs my other four years with the Bears. This is my first year coming back to the playoffs, five years later."
Five years later, Anderson has re-made himself. A terrific situational pass-rusher early in career with the Bears, he now finds himself in playing in New England's hybrid 3-4 defense, as opposed to the 4-3 front used in Chicago.
The way Anderson sees it, the Patriots' defense affords him the opportunity to showcase his biggest football strength: athleticism.
"I really like the different packages and stuff, the freedom we have and different things I can do," Anderson said. "It's a fun defense. Once you understand what you need to do, you can really make a lot of plays and contribute a lot. I'm doing different packages at outside linebacker and defense end, so I just try to make the most of it at all times. If you're real athletic, you can rush out of the two-point or you can rush out of the three-point, you can do a lot of things. You can even drop back in coverage if you have to. It really can highlight your athleticism."
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- It's amazing how a short quarterback like Drew Brees can stand in the pocket and survey the entire field. Both Brees and Peyton Manning showed, for the most part, exactly how a quarterback is supposed to go through his reads and check down on certain plays. Even though Manning's late game interception was inexcusable, that 27-yard throw he made to Dallas Clark in the third quarter was incredible.
- I still want Colts safety Antoine Bethea on the Chicago Bears next year. Too bad he'll be a restricted free agent if 2010 is played without a salary cap.
- Saints running back Pierre Thomas was the most impressive person I interviewed this week. I had no idea he was so charismatic off the field. On the field, he's quickly developing into an upper echelon running back, and it's sad Ron Turner's pleas for the Bears to sign Thomas back in 2007 fell on deaf ears at Halas Hall.
- For my money, there is not a single more exciting moment in sports than the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl. I've been lucky enough to cover the last six, and I get chills every single year when all those flashes go off around the stadium.
- The crowd was dead when The Who performed at halftime. Maybe it's time the NFL went back to scheduling current acts for their Super Bowl halftime show. I nominate Lil' Wayne and Lady Gaga for 2011, but seeing that the game will be played in Dallas, I have a hunch it'll be a well-known country music performer.