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Sunday Night Dream Beginning: Bears Start ’08 On Road Against Colts

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In A Rematch Of Super Bowl XLI, The Bears Will Start The 2008 Regular Season Away From Home Against The Indianapolis Colts September 7th On Sunday Night Football.

The NFL announced that the Bears and Colts will be playing in a nationally televised Sunday night game that will be the first regular-season game to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. If Chicago’s defense goes into Indianapolis 100% healthy at full-strength, squaring off against the potent, high-powered offensive attack of Indy… This Will Be A Grand Opening For The Colts New Stadium And A Great Game To Begin The 2008 NFL Season!

Coach Lovie Smith: “The Super Bowl was a long time ago,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said at the NFL meetings at the Breakers Hotel. “It’s the Chicago Bears versus the Indianapolis Colts. We assume they’re going to be a really good football team and I hope we can get back to where we belong.”

Do The Bears Have A Shot Vs. Manning & Co: Smith sees it this way: “We’ll get a chance to see exactly what type of football team we have right away.” From that standpoint, Smith says he is excited to be presented with this opportunity.

“Any time you have a chance to play in front of a national audience, you’re excited,” he said. “We have a history with the Colts, I have a history with the Colts. And it’s the opening of their new stadium. But the opening game of a new season in itself is enough to get excited about. You can prepare all off-season knowing you’re going against them … [that] adds a little more to it.”

QB Talk: “I think it’s a great way to start the season,” said Rex Grossman, an Indiana native who will compete with former Purdue star Kyle Orton for the Bears’ starting quarterback position.

“They’re a great team, but it’s going to be fun and it’s going to be exciting. There’s a lot to gain by going down there to Indianapolis and winning on Sunday Night Football to start the season.”

History/Notes: The Bears will open the season away from home for the fourth straight year and the seventh time in the last nine seasons. Since 1980, Chicago is just 1-8 when opening the season on the road with the lone victory coming in 2006 with a 26-0 rout over the Packers in Green Bay.

The Bears haven’t opened four straight seasons on the road since 1964-67. Sharing Wrigley Field with the Cubs, the Bears played their first two games of every season on the road from 1940-67 with their first three games of the year away from home from 1961-67.

The Bears are 10-12 all-time on Sunday Night Football. They split their two SNF contests last season, losing 34-10 to the Dallas Cowboys Sept. 23 at Soldier Field before defeating the Packers 27-20 Oct. 7 at Lambeau Field.

Safety Staying: Restricted free agent SS Brandon McGowan will be back in the Windy City, as Chicago re-signed the big hitter to a one-year deal. McGowan will add depth to stabilize a spot that has been in a state of disarray over the past few years because of injuries to Mike Brown (among many others).

McGowan joined the team in 2005 (leading tackler – 11 @ Pittsburgh, Week 13) as an undrafted free agent out of Maine being known as a LB in a safety’s body, as he’s displayed a tremendous amount of potential making his share of big hits. After returning from missing a vast majority of the ’06 campaign, McGowan saw exclusive time at the strong safety position in relief of the inconsistent Adam Archuleta this past season. The Jersey city kid played in 14 games during 2007 (starting 9), contributing two interceptions, three passes defensed, and a forced fumble, as he finished with a total of 68 tackles (58 solo) for the Monsters of the Midway.

The 24-year old safety has shown flashes of big-play ability with his ballhawking skills, but he’s still regarded as an inconsistent defensive back who has major troubles wrapping up in the open field, as he’s been out of place most of the time in the Chicago secondary and special teams (ex. San Diego, Week 1 mistake – momentum changer).


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