Jerry Angelo said the 2010 Bears may not be the most talented team he has seen during his decade as the Bears general manager but said when he considers the intangibles it may be the best team.
"This is the best football team we've had because of the things this team had to go through," he said. "In years past, in '06, we got off to a fast start. I think we were 6-1, we had everything locked up for the most part. Our division wasn't near as tough as it was this year. But what we accomplished this year, personally, I take the most satisfaction of the years that I've been here because of how the deck was stacked against us. Again, that says a lot about our coaches, it says a lot about our players."
Angelo touched on a variety of topics during a somewhat rare question-and-answer session with the media at Halas Hall on Thursday. The one thing he didn't want to discuss anything related to far into the future, preferring instead to focus on the season that was and what the Bears have a chance to accomplish in the playoffs.
"Change is never easy but the changes we made we felt would make us better not only through personnel but our [coaching] staff as well," he said. "The rewarding --- and difficult --- thing is how fast things would come together. We felt good about everybody we brought in from players to coaches. The unknown was how quickly is it going to come to fruition? In our case, it came together pretty quickly. We didn't see it in preseason. I know a lot was made about that but you have to be realistic. With all the changes, we didn't look at that as an omen of what the season was going to be. We just knew it was going to take time and it did take some time."
Angelo said he understands why people were skeptical of the team's success after three straight non-playoff seasons.
"We lost some credibility and I'm sure some people looked at us going into the year and thought we were going to be a hopeless team and it was only a matter of time when the ship would sink," the Bears general manager said. "But we never felt that way. We knew what we had to do. We were very confident that we could get it done. We had to have some things come together for us, but we felt very strongly about our plan, about our football team.
"The one thing about this team that we had this year that maybe we haven't had in other years that we've had success is this team really came together as a team. I don't see this team as a team of great talent. I see this as a team that played well together and really responded to the adversity that every team goes through."
Fans may have lost confidence in Lovie Smith but Angelo said he never did.
"The bottom line is the bottom line," he said. "You've got to win football games, you've got to win your division. That's what creates credibility. It's not personality. It's not how I feel about anybody. That is the bottom line. And that's how credibility is. It's not a testament to your character, it's a testament to your wins and you've got to win football games and we all understand that."