On behalf of Bears fans at Soldier Field, at restaurants, at parties or watching at home, I would just like to say:
We don't ask much of our squad. We love and support football in this town because organized sports have replaced community. We get together around the grid-iron, not around the pulpit. The team on the field represents us and the results on the field do wonders for our civic pride. We are a better community than Philadelphia. We are a better community than Detroit, Green Bay or California. But oh boy. We are not better than Boston. As a matter of fact, we might not even be in Boston's league. And if we are going to be literal, we aren't better than Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont.
So if you ever wonder why we get so bent out of shape when a team loses, this is why. But we also understand the game - it's a game where the best teams lose five or six times a year. It's also a game that can see ugly performances. For instance, the St. Louis Rams & the Kansas City Chiefs both lost big yesterday to possible playoff rivals. But this goes back to civic pride - are we a fluke team that is just waiting to fall off like a St. Louis or Kansas City squad? No. We are the Chicago Bears. We have a team that just recently went to the Super Bowl. We are also a team that boasts a rich history of winning, including one of the most dominant teams in NFL history.
That's why yesterday's lost was just plain unacceptable. I want to like you, Chicago Bears. I really do.
Here are some random observations:
Didn't it look like the Bears were the ones who were most affected by the snow and cold? They looked like the 2010 version of the Los Angeles Rams. It was just too much for their pretty hands and feet. Too bad the fans that dropped more than $100 a ticket couldn't feel their hands and feet. I really hope Lovie, Jerry Angelo and perhaps Virginia McCaskey show up for the press conference today with a message for those fans:
Lovie: Sorry you had to watch that happen in a blizzard. That sucked.
Jerry: We owe you, big time.
Viriginia: Take this Dunkin Donut coupon, on us. You can get an omwich and a medium coffee. It expires 12/31. Go Bears.
The gameball goes to: Johnny Knox. Yes, I think we should give gameballs even in blowouts. But in this case the gameball is sarcastic. Thanks Johnny, for being so cold and wet that you forgot that there is this thing called instant replay. So next time you meander after a play because you are SOOO confident you are in the right, check yourself. You lost us that game.
The lone bright spot was Devin Hester. He was close to breaking one. And he did a great job not letting the cold and snow affect him. Didn't he play at Miami? Isn't Miami hotter than Texas, Johnny?
The major east coast markets must think we are the worst team in football. We have fallen apart at the seams twice in big, national games against east coast opponents. Remember the embarrassing loss to the Giants, where Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half? Which is worse?
The Patriots had more points (33) than the Bears had yards (32) in the first half.
When does the best D in football break down and give up a long pass at the end of the half? Bush league! What are we, the Houston Texans? The Pats are the football equivalent of the Jordan-led Bulls. Last two minutes of the half, baby. You have to give it up for Brady. He saw it and threw it. Major Wright and Charles Tillman were halfway to the sideline warmers.
It seemed like even though the Bears were hitting hard, they weren't making any impact on the Patriots' players. It was almost like "heh, is that all you got?" That's what playoff teams do when hard-hitting wannabees come to town. Woodhead, Green-Ellis, Welker, Branch and Brady were unaffected by the bone-chilling hits the Bears tried to put on them. Well, if we don't have physical intimidation, what again does this defense have?
Someone just told me that Bill Belicheck doesn't have an offensive or defensive coordinator. He calls all the plays. So it's safe to say that he studied the tape on both sides of the ball and found the weaknesses, which will serve as a blueprint for the rest of the teams playing the Bears. Here's what we've learned:
1. Belicheck doesn't have a ton of respect for Charles Tillman. He called several plays to his side of the field and roasted him like a chestnut for most of the first half.
2. The Patriots designed running plays that had their athletic, veteran guards and tackles get up on Briggs and Urlacher. That is a sure-fire way for your runners to pick up 12-15 a few times a quarter. Where was the D-line?
3. From my novice eyeballs, there are about three different soft-spots in the Cover 2 defense that the Bears play. If you have an accurate quarterback and precise receivers, you will hit those spots every, single time. They aren't check-downs, they are designed plays to hit 7-10 yards a play. And if the defense comes up on that, they have Welker and the 15-18 yard variety. Every. Single. Time.
4. Let Johnny Knox beat you. Let him catch it and then tackle him hard. He'll probably fumble.
The takeaway: From Super Bowl to seriously close to missing the playoffs. What does that say about our town?