Not one Bears fan would likely have guessed this would happen before this past season -- in fact, many fans were calling for both coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo to be fired before the season started.
Then the Bears had their best season since the Super Bowl year of 2006; whether that's due to Lovie Smith's coaching is up for debate, but Smith today reaped the reward of making it to the NFC Championship game -- a two-year contract extension, terms not revealed, that will keep him Bears coach through 2013.
Smith is already the third-longest-tenured coach in Bears history, behind George Halas and Mike Ditka, and his 66 wins also rank third in team history. Presuming he makes it through 2013 -- and these days, NFL coaches are being fired with quite a bit of time left on their contracts -- he'll be only one year short of tying Ditka for the second-longest tenure at 11 seasons.
Smith is tied for the second-longest tenure in the NFC with Tom Coughlin of the Giants and the tied for the fifth-longest tenure in the NFL.