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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2007

Gov. Blagojevich declares February 5-11 as Chicago Bears Week in tribute to their remarkable season

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today issued a proclamation declaring the week of February 5th as Chicago Bears Week in recognition of their spectacular season. The Governor also commemorated Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith on his remarkable achievement as the first African-American NFL head coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl.

“Words cannot fully express how excited everyone in Illinois was to see the NFC Champion Chicago Bears return to the Super Bowl. Though the outcome was less than hoped for, there is no shame for what this amazing team accomplished,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “Together, they united Chicago and Bears fans all over the state who have waited more than 20 years to get back to the Super Bowl. They should take pride in what they achieved. I want to congratulate them for a stellar season. And I want to especially congratulate Lovie Smith for taking the team all the way to the Super Bowl.”

The Chicago Bears had a remarkable 2006 regular season. Their 13-3 record was the best in the NFC, which earned them a first round bye in the playoffs, as well as home field advantage throughout the NFC postseason. In honor of their amazing run, the Governor declared February 5th to the 11th as Chicago Bears Week.

The text of the Governor’s proclamation follows:

WHEREAS, the 2006 season for the Chicago Bears was one to remember. Not suffering a defeat until Week Nine, the Bears finished the regular season with a NFC best 13-3 record, earning a first round playoff bye and home field advantage all throughout the NFC playoffs; and

WHEREAS, the Bears’ tough, hard-nosed play became evident during the season’s first game, as they beat the rival Green Bay Packers in stunning, shut-out fashion. After six more consecutive wins, not only Bears fans but football experts and enthusiasts all across the country began to hail them as one of the elite teams in the NFL; and

WHEREAS, the Chicago Bears’ remarkable season was characterized by stellar team play, boasting the NFL’s second ranked offense; a swarming defense; and a special teams squad that produced three Pro Bowl players; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago rallied their beloved Bears all the way to the NFC Championship game, where they defeated the New Orleans Saints by a 39-15 score and stamped their ticket to Super Bowl XLI; and

WHEREAS, with the win against the Saints, Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith became the first African American Head Coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl. Joining him mere hours later as the second man to earn the distinction was Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy. During this month of February, which is commemorated across the country as African American History Month, we pay tribute to Coach Smith and Coach Dungy for these historic achievements; and

WHEREAS, on February 4, 2007, despite a valiant Chicago effort, Tony Dungy’s Colts defeated Lovie Smith’s Bears in the Super Bowl by a score of 29-17. While the Bears will come home one win short of the title, they should feel nothing but pride in the effort they put forth all season, and in knowing that they will begin next season as the defending NFC Champions; and

WHEREAS, this State is honored to pay tribute to the Bears for their remarkable 2006 season, and we thank them for representing Illinois and Chicago with class, dignity, and a winning spirit:

THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim February 5 – 11, 2007 as CHICAGO BEARS WEEK in Illinois in recognition of their tremendous 2006 season.


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