In the NFL, the company line is to pretend point spreads don’t exist: No one associated with the NFL is even supposed to admit to thinking about anything associated with gambling.
But Bears coach Lovie Smith acknowledged after Monday night’s win over the Eagles that he and his players took notice of the point spread and were motivated by being underdogs.
“We’re a good football team, just not getting a whole lot of respect,” Smith said. “When you go on a road, the Chicago Bears shouldn’t be eight-point underdogs when we come and play a team, and the guys took notice of that.”
Smith’s comments are posted at NFL.com, so the league isn’t exactly hiding from them, but it is unusual to hear a coach publicly admit to looking at the point spread.
Privately, talk of point spreads in locker rooms may not be as unusual as the NFL would like.