Tuesday, Jan. 23

Gov. Blagojevich proclaims Chicago Bears NFC Champions Day to honor remarkable march to the Super Bowl

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(Text copied from file provided by the Illinois Office of Communication and Information)

[JAN. 23, 2007]  CHICAGO -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed Jan. 22, 2007 as Chicago Bears NFC Champions Day in Illinois, honoring the Bears' remarkable 2006 season. On Sunday, January 21, 2007, the Chicago Bears defeated the News Orleans Saints 39-14 to win the National Football Conference Championship and earn a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1985 season.

"Coach Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears scored an extraordinary victory last night. I wish to congratulate them for their hard work and dedication, and for representing the best of Illinois during this season," said Gov. Blagojevich. "We look forward to going to Miami and bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back home."

The 13-3 Bears had the best record in the NFC during the regular season and are known for their strong and relentless defense. Seven Bears players have been selected to play in the NFL Pro Bowl, more players than any other team in the Conference.

The Bears will face the 12-4, AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts in Miami for Super Bowl XLI on Sunday, February 4, 2007.

The text of the Governor's proclamation follows:

WHEREAS, on January 21, 2007, the Chicago Bears won the NFC Championship, earning a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1985 season; and

WHEREAS, with a 13-3 regular season record, the 2006 Chicago Bears were standouts in their Conference all year. Their successful play was characterized by swarming defense, explosive special teams, and the NFL's number two ranked offense; and

WHEREAS, in Week 13 of the season, the Bears defeated the Minnesota Vikings to improve their record to 11-2, and more importantly, clinch the NFC North Championship. They went on to clinch the Conference's top seed in Week 15 with a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and earn home field advantage all throughout the NFC playoffs; and

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WHEREAS, after a first round bye, the Bears' first playoff opponent was the Seattle Seahawks, a team they had defeated in blowout fashion in Week Four of the regular season. They were again victorious, winning in overtime on a 49-yard field goal and advancing to the NFC Championship Game; and

WHEREAS, the New Orleans Saints, as the only team standing between the Bears and the Super Bowl, presented a formidable challenge for Chicago. After a fairly close first half, the Bears pulled away in the third and fourth quarters, taking advantage of key Saints turnovers and securing their ticket to Super Bowl XLI with an impressive 39-14 victory; and

WHEREAS, everybody in Chicago remembers what happened when the Bears last made it to the Super Bowl 21 years ago, and a repeat of that game would be just fine with us. The Chicago Bears truly are the "pride and joy of Illinois," and we fondly congratulate them as we root for a big Super Bowl win against the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts in Miami on February 4:

THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim Monday, January 22, 2007 as CHICAGO BEARS NFC CHAMPIONS DAY in Illinois, in honor of the Bears' remarkable ride to the Super Bowl in this 2006 season.

[News release from the governor's office]

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