Lovie Smith is not known for rousing pregame or halftime speeches. His rhetoric is so uninspiring that he plays clips from movies like “Rudy” and “Varsity Blues” to fire up his team during halftime.

That’s why when Lovie proclaimed that the “Bears will be good,” players knew he was fired up.

“We’d never heard coach talk like that,” said Lance Briggs, who knows a thing about giving awe-inspiring speeches to his team. “It sent a message to the rest of our division that we’re gunning for them.”

Indeed it has. Players from the NFC North have taken notice. Along with his recently repaired ankle, Brett Favre has pointed to Lovie’s proclamation as to why he’s finally considering retirement.

“With the way Lovie’s talking up there in Chicago, the Bears are the team to beat,” Favre has reportedly said. “I just don’t think I can handle that one-dimensional Tampa Two anymore.”

Favre isn’t the only one worried about the allegedly good Bears. Aaron Rogers has stopped eating, and Calvin Johnson, who’s trained for six days straight, refuses to leave the weight room.

“Those were fightin’ words,” said Johnson, in the middle of a bench press rep. “I have to do everything possible to ready myself.”

From the July 2010 issue by Michael Kloempken. Click here to subscribe today!