Bears make first touchdown

Monday, January 29, 2007
Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith departed the team's plane Sunday at Miami International Airport in Miami. The Bears, the NFC representative, will play the Indianapolis Colts Sunday in Super Bowl XLI. (ALAN DIAZ ~ Associated Press)

Chicago arrives in Miami for Sunday's Super Bowl.

MIAMI -- Coach Lovie Smith thumbed through the Indianapolis Colts press guide on a three-hour flight that delivered the Bears from the cold of Chicago to the warm comfort of Florida -- a trip that landed them back at the Super Bowl.

"I looked at 18 pages of Peyton Manning," Smith said Sunday night, about two hours after the Bears touched down at Miami International Airport.

The Bears know they will have to contain No. 18, the Colts' star quarterback, in one week at Dolphin Stadium, or they won't finish off the goal they set for themselves way back in the spring.

Wearing an orange tie reflecting one of the Bears' team colors, Smith bounded down the steps of the plane and hurried to one of six buses waiting to take his team to the hotel.

"I was one of the first guys to get off the plane, I got a chance to get my seat real quick and see the players get off and see the smiles on their faces," Smith said.

"We feel good about where we are right now, but you know they all say the same thing: One more step, and they can't wait. ..."

Their chartered plane sported a big Bears logo on the side when it arrived at Miami International Airport. As they taxied up, the pilot opened the window of the mammoth jetliner and flew a Bears flag.

"I slept the whole flight. That's good, I wasn't anxious," star linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "It was nice to look out and see all the cameras out there to see what we're going through."

The temperature was about 60 degrees warmer than the frigid teens the Bears left on a trip that whisked them from snow-covered fields to palm trees.

It also took Smith just three seasons to land the Bears back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1986.

The team hotel, just five minutes away from the airport and miles from the glitter of South Beach, featured a big orange and blue 'C' on the elevator doors and a large sign above many of the doorways with "Finish" sandwiched by two Bears heads.

"Our motto all year for the most part: Finish every play, finish every game," Urlacher said. "Whatever happens, happens, but make sure you finish all the time."

Smith said Friday his plan was to take keep the Bears on a normal schedule as much as possible. That will certainly be interrupted by media mob sessions the first four days this week, including one Tuesday at the stadium where they will face the Colts in a week.

The Bears didn't have a curfew Sunday night; it starts Monday.

"Our curfew is midnight," said rookie Devin Hester, who played in college at Miami. "I told the guys everything starts [at South Beach] at 1 o'clock, so we'll already be in bed.

"Miami is a great place to visit and there are all kinds of things you can get into. We do want to have a little fun, but careful of your surroundings. We're here to play a football game."

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