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Never a better time to 'Beat the Packers'

Players no longer feel hate, but Lovie Smith knows for Bears fans, rivalry is everything

Updated: January 19, 2011, 2:44 PM ET
By Melissa Isaacson | ESPNChicago.com

They were among the first words out of Lovie Smith's mouth seven years and two days ago.

He didn't believe in rebuilding, he told Chicago as he accepted the job and became the 13th head coach in Chicago Bears history. His new team was going for the division title and the Super Bowl trophy.

But his first goal: "Beat the Packers."

It sounded a little contrived at the time. More than a little rah-rah. What NFL coach lists beating his team's rival before anything else unless ...

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