On The Map: Fans' Sign Helps Bring Spotlight To Big Sandy - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/28/07-Big Sandy

On The Map: Fans' Sign Helps Bring Spotlight To Big Sandy

Big Sandy is known as a small town without too many disturbances. But since hometown hero Lovie Smith and his Chicago Bears punched a ticket to Super Bowl XLI, the national media has descended on the quiet, little town.

The media's curiousity was tweaked last Sunday, when a sign at Soldier Field, was caught not only on camera but by Lovie's eye.

"We were at the game and we just thought we'd build a sign, thinking to maybe get on TV with it," Joe Fitzgerald told KLTV.

Joe, his nephew and niece had a little plan to get some television exposure. That little plan had big results.

"About six mintues left in the game, (Joe's nephew and neice) went down and held the sign and clowned for the people. Sure enough, they had a run on the side and the camera caught it. "

In the eight seconds the Fox television cameras captured Joe's family holding that sign, a media frenzy was sparked.

"Since then the phone has been ringing off the hook," Joe said. "Everyone's wondering who made the sign."

But when that now famous sign was first created, Joe felt it needed a little altering.

"They made this beautiful sign that said 'Big Sandy Loves Lovie Smith.' We looked at the sign and said you know people in Chicago won't recognize Big Sandy. That's like it's some fat girl that loves Lovie Smith, you know?" Joe said with a laugh.

So it was changed to a more specific detail.

"Big Sandy Texas Loves Lovie Smith," Joe said.

The national media began wondering about the little town that was once home to the Bears coach. The sign reached its intended target. Lovie smith was asked about Big Sandy after his NFC championship win.

"I saw a sign that said Big Sandy," Lovie said. "At Soldier Field you don't see a lot of things with Big Sandy."

"Everybody's excited by it because everybody loves Lovie," Joe said.

The national media found out what East Texas has known for more than 30 years. As a Big Sandy Wildcat, Lovie Smith led his team to three state championships and the town has never forgotten.

"He's always been one of my favorite people in the world," Joe said. "You know we still talk and he doesn't forget where he came from."

As Lovie Smith prepares for the biggest game of his life, he has a little cheering section with big heart and big hopes in Big Sandy.

"It would be the icing on the cake," Joe said of a Bears Super Bowl win. "That's all there is to it."

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