Do what's best for you

December, 24, 2008
12/24/08
6:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

It was interesting to hear Chicago coach Lovie Smith speak this week on the possibility of the New York Giants sitting some of their starters Sunday against Minnesota.

The Bears, of course, need a Giants victory -- combined with a win of their own at Houston -- to secure the NFC North title.

Smith made clear that the decision was up to Giants coach Tom Coughlin and reiterated that the Bears could do nothing but focus on the Texans. But Smith also noted that in 2007, he played his regular lineup for the Bears' final games even though they were not in playoff contention.

Here's what Smith said Tuesday to reporters in Chicago:

"You play to win, period. Last year, we were out of it with two games left to go in the season. We played every guy we had that we thought gave us an opportunity to win. We played them. There was no looking forward to the future and all that. You play every game like it is your last one, period. I assume all teams will do that."

Well, not exactly. A few readers have pointed out the end of the 2005 season, when Smith sat five starters and gave the rest of his regulars most of the day off in a 34-10 loss to Minnesota. The Bears had already clinched the NFC North and didn't want to risk the health of quarterback Rex Grossman, among others. (Grossman tore his ACL at the Metrodome in 2004.)

This is not a criticism of Smith. I just think everyone should do what is best for their own team. In 2005, the Bears believed that resting Grossman and others was the right thing to do for them. (It didn't affect any other team's playoff situation, but I doubt that would have pushed Smith in a different direction.) And this season, the best thing for the Giants might be to rest some of their starters. It might not be good for the Bears, but it's not the Giants' obligation to make it fair for them.

With that, we're signing off for the evening. Have a great holiday and we'll be back with you Friday morning.

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