Devin Hester thrilled millions of Chicago Bears fans for years. When talking about the former All-Pro, the same question always comes up. What was your favorite return? Everybody has one. It’s easy for people to have different preferences when a guy sets the all-time record for most return touchdowns. What nobody has known over the years is the opinion of the man who coached him, Lovie Smith.
The new head coach of the Houston Texans had a front row seat for Hester’s greatness from 2006 to 2012. There are plenty of iconic returns he could’ve singled out. The two touchdowns against the St. Louis Rams as a rookie. Another two against the Denver Broncos in 2007. Of course, the easy choice would be his iconic score to open the Super Bowl against Indianapolis. Surprisingly, that is not Smith’s favorite.
He revealed his personal choice on the Rich Eisen Show.
Ah yes. Hester had many of those spike-to-the-heart moments in his career. Yet none were as memorable or vicious as what he did to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football in 2006. Every self-respecting Bears fan knows the story by now. Chicago falls behind 23-3 in the second half. Rex Grossman has committed six turnovers. The offense can’t move the ball. With time ticking away, the defense steps up with two clutch takeaways for touchdowns by Mike Brown and Charles Tillman. Then Hester did this.
The reaction from Lovie Smith on the sideline says it all. For a man known his even-keel nature, he was running along that sideline like crazy. He understood the significance of that return and that moment. It was special. Something people weren’t likely to see again for a long time. Most experts agree that comeback victory was the true genesis of the 2006 Bears. The game that catapulted them to their eventual Super Bowl berth.
So yeah. Solid choice by Lovie.
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