DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND TO HAVE AN ONGOING GAME TEXT WITH?

 

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The best part of Sunday’s game aside from the W, the offense scoring a touchdown, and knowing we have a great defense, was texting back and forth with my friend Buster. 

Buster is a made up name, to protect his real identity. He’s a rather famous Chicago lawyer (I think famous anyway) but his running commentary is pretty bang on.

Just a simple cut and paste here with some touch ups and edits.

ME:    That packer game was so tough to watch……even I nodded in and out of it. Reminded me of The Twilight Zone.

BUSTER:   Horrible.  So disappointing.  I am really starting to hate Nagy’s play calling after really liking it last year.  Bad mix last week, no balance, no plan. 

ME:    Exactly!! Me too. You have to take your shots to stretch the field. Reminds me of Lovie’s teams—-no turnovers no wins.

BUSTER:    Yep.

ME:    Remember Bob Parsons? Used to be the coffin corner was the 20 and in.

BUSTER:    I do remember him. Was our punter for a long time. 

ME:     I do notice Cohen running north and south which is about time and Montgomery getting a lot more touches.

BUSTER:    Mix does look better this week. There goes Trubisky again. He really is not very good. Overthrowing wide open receivers. 

ME:   Yeah I know. What happened to drafting a QB every year? And Pace didn’t need to trade up one spot!!!

BUSTER:    Agree! I think he could have got Trubisky late in the 1st round.  If he drafted Mahomes we would be headed to the Super Bowl. 

ME:    At some point you gotta cut bait but not there yet.

BUSTER:   Yeah he is adequate and we don’t have better.  There he goes again. 10 yards over the head of his target.  No downfield touch at all. 

ME:    Ugh. 

BUSTER:  Someone needs to call Pace out at this point.  

ME:    I know. Something is really off about Nagy’s play calling.

BUSTER:   Especially when we get near the red zone, which was a strength last year. Think I am going to stop watching. This is just awful. 

ME:    It’s an old brand.

BUSTER:  Oh my lord. 7 points. Who would believe?

ME:  Patterson looked pretty good on that play.

BUSTER:  Yeah. They called that play at the perfect time. Unlike last week. 

ME:   Yeah. I liked Patterson before they signed him, too.

BUSTER:   Great speed. You’d think he would be on the field more.  

ME:    Yeah exactly another Nagy kind of gap.

BUSTER:   It’s weird. None of his past teams used him a lot. Wonder what is up with that? 

ME:   I think it may have been his returns I was thinking of.

BUSTER:   Yeah.

ME:   That roughing was a horrible call.

ME:    God Mack is good.

BUSTER:    Agree on both.  Good that we held.  

ME:    You know I think the NFL has a lot vested in the Bears doing well …..I always have really.

BUSTER:   At least competitive. 

ME:   There’s so many fans…. 

BUSTER:    Guess who….25-36, 383 YDS, 4 TD?

ME:    Your guy.

BUSTER:   Mahomes. Is one TD pass too much to ask?

ME:   Trubisky 11-17 and 79 yards no TD’s.

BUSTER:   Not even a first down after Denver was on the field for that long drive. 

ME:    All I can say is Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson won Super Bowls. 

That’s the best I got.

BUSTER:   Yeah. That was a different NFL when low scoring teams could win. Our offense looks broken.  

ME:   Yeah even the worst teams’ offenses don’t look this bad…….

Hit that oxygen guys!

BUSTER:   Our offense killed our D. That 3 and out in the 4th quarter after a long drive was inexcusable. 

ME:   Great call by Fangio going for it on 4th.

BUSTER:   On the road at high altitude……….Fuller!!!!’

ME:    OMG! 

BUSTER:   What a time for that. 

ME:   I wanna say it’s about time but that would assume you can really control such things.

BUSTER:   Great interception.

ME:   Yeah if the defense can force turnovers it’s a whole different thing

Btw….great ongoing game texts. 

BUSTER:   Yeah….Needed one more first down. 

ME:   Yeah no guts. No confidence in Trubisky……Defense is gassed

Are you watching? 

BUSTER:   Yeah but disgusted. 

ME:    I love that he would go for two. 

BUSTER:    Can’t believe we called time out on 4th down. We do the most stupid things from a coaching perspective. Really down on Nagy. 

ME:   Yeah me too. I picked em to lose in my blog.

BUSTER:   Good. We deserve to lose. Hope they go after Nagy now. I am done watching for the year. Not kidding. I don’t want them to win. 

ME:   Yeah. 

BUSTER:   Game over.

ME:   Damn was that lucky.

BUSTER:   Feel good for Piniero. Can’t believe he made that. 

ME:   Yeah feel great for Piniero. You know one last note……..when Trubisky gets out of the pocket he’s pretty good, no?

BUSTER:   Yeah. That was the first time they threw downfield all game.  That is what is so concerning.  The offensive game plan is awful.  They really need to get their act together, especially with such a great defense.

THOUGHTS ON LAST WEEK AND THISIMG_1214.jpg

 

LAST WEEK

The Bears/Packers game reminds me a lot of the proposition of spending one round in the ring with Mike Tyson (at any age) for 20 million dollars, or whatever ridiculous amount you want to attach. The money sounds good but the toll it would take just wouldn’t be worth it.

You get your hopes up. You get to thinking that you’re going to be rich. You get so primed that you can do it. 

And then you feel that first punch.

That’s what the season opener feels like. Like the Bears fans were stupid enough to believe they could get in the ring with Iron Mike.

What fool would ever get in the ring with Mike Tyson? Well, the same kind of fool that would spend hard earned time and money and even perhaps faith on thinking the Bears actually have a chance at winning it all.

I have to admit I thought they were going to kick butt, and the thing that breaks your heart is that the defense looks even better. When does Aaron Rodgers ever get held to 10 points? ( I looked it up. Not often. )

Ok it was a dud. Bad play calling, decision making, execution. What happened to running the football a little bit? David Montgomery looks like he might be a player.

Maybe it wasn’t that bad. The last time the Bears lost 10-3 to the Packers they went to the NFC Championship game (in 2010) and lost to the Packers too.

Also, one last thing. Be easy on Mitch, but not too easy. If he lays a dud this season he’s gotta be gone. It’s that simple. His Super Bowl window is open right now. The more he plays without winning the more unlikely it becomes. 

And Mitch is the key. If he doesn’t have a great season then the defense has to be so monumentally bad ass that they are compared to Bears or Ravens as one of the all time great defenses and just carry the team. Not likely. They’re good but are they that good? 

No, Mitch needs to play error free ball and also take some chances. Does anyone remember him really attacking the middle of the field, either with his arm or feet? Good thing it’s a long season, but man what a way to start.

THIS WEEK

Vic Fangio and the Denver Broncos are going to be a handful. The smart money is going to be on Denver. The defense is good and the offense will be just enough.

Broncos 17 Bears 10

2019 NFL PREDICTIONS

Lots of fun to predict a season at the beginning of one and then go back and see how you did later.

Will the Pats continue to dominate? Can anyone stop them? Do the Bears have a shot?

Apologies to the Chicago Tribune for stealing the 2019 PREDICTIONS idea part for part but it seemed a great way to force myself to look into my crystal ball, and plus it was a damn clever way of doing the predictions. So without further adieu here is “my” 2019 PREDICTIONS——-

NFC NORTH

Bears

Vikings

Packers

Lions

NFC EAST

Eagles

Cowboys

Giants

Redskins

NFC WEST

Rams

Seahawks

49ers

Cardinals

NFC SOUTH

Saints

Falcons

Bucs

Panthers

AFC NORTH

Steelers

Ravens

Browns

Bengals

AFC EAST

Pats

Jets

Bills

Dolphins

AFC WEST

Chiefs

Chargers

Broncos

Raiders

AFC SOUTH

Texans

Colts

Jags

Titans

NFC WILD CARDS: Seahawks and Falcons

AFC WILD CARDS: Chargers and Colts

NFC CHAMPION: Bears over Eagles

AFC CHAMPION: Chiefs over Pats

SUPER BOWL WINNER: Bears

MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

COACH OF THE YEAR: Frank Reich, Colts

 

OFF WITH YOU ME LAD, AND BE LIVELY

 

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It seems like every year I go through this futile exercise of rooting against the Patriots only to find that they are again on the verge of yet another championship and begrudgingly admit they’re probably the best of all time.

It’s like complaining because the sky is too big, or that there are too many waves in the ocean.

The Patriots are like the Bailey Brothers in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. You just can’t keep them down.

Maybe it’s the rest of the world that is the scrooge of Mr. Potter trying to stop them. 

Or maybe the world never did stop them and is with George and his Angel, Clarence at Nick’s getting loaded. “Mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon, light on the clove——off with you me lad and be lively.”

One thing for sure is that the whole world has gotten so tired of watching them, like they’re almost forced to. No matter how beautiful and uniquely Frank Capraian or Bill Belichickian, and no matter how much they’re a cut above the rest. 

Most everyone finds themselves at some point rooting for the bad guys, even when or especially when the same good guys are winning all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do love it when the good guys win. It’s just hard when you want to see somebody else take the reins.

What did Barack Obama say to console all the petrified Democrats when Donald Trump became president? Something about people wanting that new car, and that new car smell?

Anyone that gets too high, like Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle, there seems to be a very human urge to knock them down and give somebody else a chance the climb up.

Businesses are constantly doing this, knocking each other over and reinventing themselves. The flow of our entire world economy cannot be afraid of that sometimes rather intimidating voice telling you you absolutely must change.

If you talk to poets you’ll find that they’re trying to say something that nobody else has said yet. If 99 out of 100 people use the word cute to describe a baby, a poet might use the word, exe—cute, and use it in such a way to make the baby better than all of the cutes put together.

So all this got me thinking about everything that will be happening on Super Bowl that is way better than the New England Patriots.

5) Most people wake up Super Bowl morning and have a Super Bowl Breakfast and I am no exception. Eggs, sausage, potatoes, cheese, english muffin and cream cheese, all covered with chives. I guarantee Tom Brady won’t be eating anything nearly as good. Maybe when he retires. When is that going to be exactly?

4) While making the big breakfast I have a kitty that watches everything I do like he was the student and I was the professor, copiously taking notes and when its all done he comes up after class and asks for some kind of extra credit. Whether I give it to him or not, it shows real dedication. Way more than all those Super Spoiled East Coast Yakety Yaks. I mean really how hard is it to follow a team that is always winning? Find me the fans that follow when your team loses. That is the fan you go to the bank with. 

3) A lot of people have a Sunday routine, Super Bowl or otherwise. Coffee, Sunday Papers, get out the iPhone read about what’s going on in the world. Those with families do family things. I am a writer and so I have writing projects that I’m always engaged in. Whether it’s Super Bowl Sunday or New Year’s Day I am writing, and it will be this way until the day I die. Because of it I feel I am the luckiest person in the world despite all my handicaps and shortcomings. I’ll take all my problems over all that New England pomp and circumstance any day.

2) Sunday drivers. My dad always hated them. A slower more deliberate Sunday driver that slows the whole flow wouldn’t be a Sunday without them. Since the Patriots do have a reputation for cheating, maybe the Super Bowl Sunday Drivers could organize something to slow the team traveling from their hotels to Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the game. Uber, wherefore art thou?

1) Most people on Super Bowl Sunday have snacks that they are preparing. Since I’m watching the game alone I won’t be doing anything extravagant. Cheese and crackers, chip and dip, pizza and wings, cheeseburgers, something easy. Maybe three green olives and a very weak martini. I will be having something special, but nothing to fancy. 

When my beloved Chicago Bears were in the Super Bowl all those years ago I got one of my best friends at the time to drive me 3 hours away from school to where my family lived and was going to be watching the game, and I proceeded to watch every bit of pre game show that the networks would allow. But this game? No way. The game starts at 5:30 so I’ll start watching maybe at 5. 

But even though I’m complaining, I’m really not. Even though I really did think the Bears had a shot of making it to the Super Bowl this year, the fact that they got closer than they have in 8 years is worth celebrating.

Also, one last thing to keep in mind. Even though most every other civilized country has some kind of Super Bowl like event that it celebrates, right now we got the Super Bowl, and that makes us the luckiest people in the brief history of the planet, ever, New England or not.

 

UGH!!!

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I was all set to deliver this rampage against Matt Nagy. How he got outcoached by Doug Pederson. How the decision to keep Cody Parkey on the roster came back to bite him in the ass. How he decided not to get Tarik Cohen involved in the offense when the guy is his number one threat. How he seemed to get really conservative when the very thing that got him there in the first place was his willingness to take chances.

Then something occurred to me and I fell in a deep sleep thinking about how many days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

The Bears were never supposed to be this good, this first year under the Matt Nagy regime. I went to look up 2018 NFL season record predictions, randomly found Sports Illustrated, and a writer in SI who picked the Bears picked to go 4-12 and the Eagles to go 12-4. They also had the Vikings at 13-3 and the Packers at 12-4. Most places had them finishing in last place.

in SI in June they said

The Bears got better at crucial positions they had to get better at this offseason. Chicago brought in Taylor Gabriel, Allen Robinson and Trey Burton to help their second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The offensive line took a big hit losing guard Josh Sitton and the defense, while improved with Roquan Smith at linebacker, still needs to find a pass rush. It may take one more year for this group to gel.

Granted it was before the team got Khalil Mack but the point is that they got considerably better than how they looked on paper with a first year head coach.

They other thing that is incredibly encouraging is that they’re a young team. Five years ago they were ranked 29th in the league with an average age of 26. 8 and this year they’re ranked 10th with an average age of 25.7, the same as the Eagles and the Packers.

Ryan Pace did what he said he was going to do, he made the team younger, which made the team better.

Just look at what’s coming—-Roquan Smith, 21, James Daniels 21, Bilal Nichols 22, Tarik Cohen 23, Mitchell Trubisky 24, Anthony Miller 24, Jordan Howard 24. All their Pro Bowl defenders——Eddie Jackson 26, Kyle Fuller 26, Khalil Mack 27, Akiem Hicks 29 are all under 30. 

Saw an interesting article   

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-coaches-and-qbs-should-divorce-after-five-years-of-not-winning/

on 538 last year about how the window for new coaches and their QB’s is about five years. Of the 31 head coaches to win at least one super bowl, 27 of them won it within the first years of that team.

Jim McMahon was drafted in ’82 the same year Mike Ditka started coaching the Bears. It took them four years and they finally did it. 

Some other pillars on that team—-Walter Payton drafted in ’75. Hampton in ’79, Mike Singletary in ’81, Richard Dent in ’83, The point is it took some time.

But not too much time. In the history of Chicago Bear coaches only Ditka and Lovie Smith made had multiple playoff appearances. Ditka made it to the playoffs 7 times and Lovie Smith 2. 

Jack Pardee made it to the playoffs once, Neil Armstrong once, Dave Wannstedt once, Dick Jauron once. They were all fired soon after.

Another big point is that a team often catches fire one year only to revert back to being a mediocre team the next. There are very few Sean McVay’s who was 11-5 last year and then was 13-3 this year. That will be the challenge for Matt Nagy. Can he improve on an already incredible year? Or will it prove to be an outlier, a fluke, something he won’t be able to reproduce?

Another thing about the Bears offense that showed promise is that they have a lot of guile and at times look really competent. In the Eagles game they came back when they had to (the last drive notwithstanding). 

You hope that as Trubiksy grows more comfortable in clutch situations when the game is on the line, and that Nagy starts to have more trust in him and as an offense they can really start to control the ball when they have to. Most Super Bowl winning teams have offenses who control the ball, make big plays, and score a lot of points.

One last thought. Like a lot of fans I thought this could’ve been the year, but I think something is missing on the offensive side of the ball. A LeVeon Bell or Kareem Hunt kind of back I think is needed. Somebody great. Somebody who is a difference maker. An All Pro. For Trubisky to be that great player he has to be, he’ll need great support. 

But the number of throws that should’ve been picked off yesterday and really the whole season, leave the judgment of how good he is still way up in the air. The clock is ticking. Unless he gets really bad, he’ll have about 2-3 years to prove it.

It all stings with that typical Chicago Bear disappointment. The truth of the matter is that to be a Chicago Bear fan is a difficult proposition. In fact it’s really fu*&ing hard being a Chicago Bears fan. They’re an enormously mediocre franchise trying to sell a championship team to a hungry fan base. 

There are franchises like the Steelers, and the Niners, and the Giants, and the Patriots, and the Packers, and then there are franchises like the Bears. The difference is so palpable. The expectations are from legitimately different sides of town and walks of life. How do you change a culture like that without taking a lot of risks?

36 days until pitchers and catchers report.

108 days until the NFL draft.

204 days until Bourbonnais training camp.

UGH! 

Good bye 2018 Bears it was fun.

It’s already taking too long.

JANUARY RELEVANT!!!

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The Bears are in the playoffs and a lot of things are going through my mind. In no particular order——

How different the playoff games feel. The way the crowd can’t seem to contain itself with so much on the line.

Matt Nagy asked the fans to be particularly noisy.

A lot of writers like to play the game of who would you rather play, figuring that the weaker opponents, or opponents the team matches up well against will make it easier to get to and win the Super Bowl.

I disagree. A great team will beat other great teams no matter what the record. If they have to go on the road to do it, so be it. A great team rises to the occasion and plays their best game against another great team. A great team wants to play another great team. 

A great team will have a bunch of ultra competitive guys, too. Guys that scream and kick and scratch on each play. That play with an edge, even borderline nasty. They block well and tackle well. They believe so much in themselves no matter what. They want to help other guys on the team, too. They want to lead the team. They want a group of guys to lead the team. Everybody buys into it. Everybody believes it.

And then of course great players have to play great. Not only the great players, but also fair and good players. Some might even become famous with how they distinguish themselves in the big games.

When I hear athletes who win, they say things like nobody gave it to them, they had to take it. They earned it.

When picking whose going to win a tournament a lot of handicappers will pick a team that is on fire. That has a lot of momentum and winning a lot of games as they go into the playoffs.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Some recent Super Bowl winners that got hot as the season drove on—-The 2013 Seahawks were 9-2 in their last 11, the 2014 Patriots were 5-2 in their last 7, the 2016 Patriots were 7-1 in their last 8, the 2017 Eagles were 5-2 in their last 7.

This year’s Eagles are 5-1 in their last 6 and this year’s Bears are 9-1 in their last 10. Something’s gotta give.

If the Bears are fortunate enough to beat the Eagles they’ll go on to L.A. to play the Rams. I think they’re better than the Rams. I will also be rooting for whoever the winner of Cowboys/Seahawks is as they would then travel to New Orleans to play the Saints. It’s hard not to look ahead.

Three times the Bears have faced the Eagles in the postseason. In the 1979 playoffs they lost 27-17 on the road, in the 1988 fog bowl playoff they won 20-12 at home, and in 2001 they lost 33-19 at home. 

The three quarterbacks that started those respective games and their QB ratings? Mike Phipps, with a QB rating of 30.1, Mike Tomczak, with a rating of 56.7 and Jim McMahon who also played in that game had a rating of 75.7 and Jim Miller who started had a rating of 31.7 until he got hurt and then Shane Matthews had a rating of 17.9.

No matter how good the defense is, and those teams in the 80’s had some really great defenses, you need clean QB play. Is Trubisky poised for a clean game against the Eagles?

Everything also seems to get magnified. If a team is up by 3 points it feels like 7, 7 feels like 13, 13 feels like 20. One turnover in your own zone feels like the whole game has changed. Even the home team QB is asking for quiet because the fans are so insanely pumped up they can’t contain their own jubilation. 

The ’85 team I remember how the fans kind of took over. One long big loud scream to bring the snowflakes. 

Another part of all of this is confidence. A confident player isn’t so nervous that the jitters affect his game. He’s emotional, he’s got the right attitude, but he plays within himself. He’s totally respecting his opponent, but he’s so sure he’s going to prevail. Sometimes you don’t need facts or evidence or a compelling argument. All you need is a hunch. A feeling can be greater than anything.

Can Trubisky play like that? Will he not be asked to do too much? Can the Bears stay in the lead as they have in most of the games they’ve won? Can they not play coming from behind? 

How is Eddie Jackson’s foot feeling? How strong are the meds? Can he block out the pain? Is 60% of Eddie Jackson better than the next man up, Deon Bush?

I was listening to longtime Bear reporter Hub Arkush on the WSCR, the score earlier today and he said Khalil Mack is having a year as good as Lawrence Taylor ever had. Pretty rare air, he said. 

Can Khalil Mack simply take the game over?

I was listening to Dan Bernstein on The Score and he said that Bear fans don’t know how to feel about how good a QB is because they don’t know what one is. They can’t recognize it. Great point.

I thought Nick Foles deserved to start this year and I think he’s great. Anybody that beats Tom Brady in the Super Bowl deserves to be a QB 1. 

It’s all got me thinking about mountains and man. Man was meant to rise. He visualizes himself ascending. Women too, of course. We were born to test ourselves. The great ones are never satisfied with being just good. 

The mountain is the symbol for all that. It has different sizes for geological reasons, to be sure but also has different sizes for motivational ones. 

Somewhere on a desk, maybe there’s a list. Mount Fuji—-12.3 feet. Matterhorn—-16.9. Kilimanjaro—-19.3. Denali—-20.3. Mount Everest—-29. 

Somewhere in this Chicago organization, on a desk or in a locker or locker room the Eagles are a mountain to be challenged and will prove just how high these 2018 Bears will be allowed to climb.

ARE YOU THINKING SUPER BOWL?

 

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I know it’s kind of sacrilegious to look ahead to the championship game when the tournament hasn’t even started yet, but hey, I’m not playing, and I think that fans of this year’s Bears are beginning to have that Nagy  feeling the team might be able to compete for a Super Bowl.

So many things have to go right for a lower seed team to win the big game and they usually don’t. Only two number 3 seeds since the NFL went to a six team playoff format ever made it to the Super Bowl, the 2006 Colts who won in Super Bowl XLI and the 2003 Panthers who lost in Super Bowl XXXVIII. The Colts beat the Bears 29-17 and Panthers lost to the Patriots 32-29.

This Bear season has been one of exceeding expectations. While many of the so called experts had the Bears 7-9, 8-8, 9-7 and not making the playoffs most everyone had them winning more games under the gutty Matt Nagy than last year’s boring John Fox and showing some kind of guile and promise.

Then Khalil Mack came, like almost from the sky and a city started to wonder. Then that first Sunday night game of the season came against the Packers. Then that first half.

It reminded me a lot of my drinking days. The kind of misconception and false euphoria you get. Sometimes I could crawl inside the bottle and not even catch the whiff of a buzz, and other days just one drink and I was on the wings of love.

After that first half sip of the season against the Packers I was on the wings of love. I thought the team was at least going to be competitive and at best going to have a shot at making the playoffs. Was it real or just a buzz?

The playoffs have a tendency to do what statisticians call reverting back to mean. Meaning if the regular season was something like a fluke, the better teams in the playoffs will find a way to cull the worser teams out.

What does that have to do with the Bears? Well, they’ve only played three teams with winning records for the whole year and they’re 2-1. The loss coming to the Patriots and the wins coming against Rams and Vikings, and all three games at home.

That’s probably why this week’s game against the Vikings at Minnesota has them as five point dogs. A game on the road against a playoff caliber team will probably be a similar forecast should they get that far.

But what about the fact that everyone in the NFL on any given Sunday can be not only good playing at home but maybe even great. The numbers always show that most teams do better at home. It’s something impressive I think to go into anyone else’s home and win.

What is it about this team that might be the kind of team that is able to go on the road and win?

Well for one, they’ve exceeded all realistic expectations of a first year coach and have him looking and sounding a lot like a Coach of the Year. Two, they have taken the ball away 36 times, 9 times more than the next team and are easily the best in football at it. Three, they’ve given up an average of 18.2 points a game, the best in the NFC and the second best to the Baltimore Ravens who average 17.5.

 I decided to look back at history to see teams that won the super bowl with 11-5 and 12-4 records and how they stack up against this team.

 

11-5 TEAMS THAT WON THE SUPER BOWL THAT REMIND ME OF THE BEARS

 

2001 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

They beat the Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI on a last second field goal by Adam Vinatieri. They didn’t dominate anybody in the playoffs. They just played great defense and won. Kurt Warner and the Rams and the Greatest Show On Turf never got on track. Tom Brady got his chance and never looked back. The beginning of a dynasty. I think the Bears are easily as good as this team except for the kicker, the quarterback and the coach. Ok it’s a stretch, but a dynasty has to start somewhere.

2005 PITTSBURGH STEELERS

They beat the Seahawks and Mike Holmgren 21-10 in Super Bowl XL after some really bad officiating that went against Seattle. On “A Football Life”  Holmgren admitted he asked an official if the game was too big for him, and said it was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made in his career. Just goes to show you even fantastic minds do really stupid things, and all it takes is a couple of bad calls and you could be holding up that trophy. That Steelers team had a great defense and gave up 16 points a game in the regular season and reminds me a lot of this year’s Bears for that reason.

 

12-4 TEAMS THAT WON THE SUPER BOWL THAT REMIND ME OF THE BEARS

 

1993 DALLAS COWBOYS

Those Jimmy Johnson teams were great and the team that beat the Buffalo Bills badly 30-13 in their second meeting in Super Bowl XXVIII was definitely better than the Bears. They had home field advantage and never looked back. They beat Green Bay and San Francisco in the playoffs who were undeniably good and were improving with each game. This Cowboys team was ranked 2nd in the league in scoring and 2nd in the league in points allowed. They gave up an average of 14.3 points per game. Even as great a defense as this Bear team is they’re not that good, are they?

2002 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Brad Johnson was no Hall of Fame QB but he played great that year and had a defense that was outstanding. Only three players on the defense that year made it to the Pro Bowl, Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, and Derrick Brooks, but it was filled with studs and Dexter Jackson won the Super Bowl MVP. They caused turnovers and scored points when they did, and against the Oakland Raiders it was a route 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII. The game was never close. We’ll see how good Jon Gruden can make the Raiders. I wouldn’t bet against him. In the playoffs they gave up 16 points in the Divisional and Championship game combined and in the regular season only gave up 12.3 points a game. The Bears have four Pro Bowl starters on this year’s defense and of course are a turnover causing machine.

2006 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 

Have to mention the team that beat Lovie’s best Bear team 29-17 in  Super Bowl XLI. Many Bear fans I know still remember fondly that Devin Hester return for a touchdown to start the game. Peyton Manning was probably in his prime and coach Tony Dungy had a lot of good teams over the years and when he got his shot he was really ready for the big game. Even after going down 14-6 the team rallied quickly and by the 4th quarter the Bears seemed like they were already beat. Something about that Colts team I remember, that defense was ranked 23rd in the regular season in points allowed, but in the playoffs, they beat the Chiefs in the Wild Card round 23-8, and the Ravens in the Divisional round 15-6. Dungy was always known for his great defensive mind. Bear defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, also known for his defensive mind, seems for sure to get his head coaching chance after this year.

2010 GREEN BAY PACKERS AND 2007, 2011 NEW YORK GIANTS

There’s three other teams I think are worth mentioning here. The 2010 Packers that won super bowl XLV was the team that beat the Bears in the playoffs 21-14, and as a number six seed they won all their playoff games on the road, and their defense was on fire the last two games of the season and into the playoffs. Bear fans will remember Lovie not resting his starters in the final game against these Packers and lost 10-3. What does it have to do with this year’s Bears? Well this year’s Bears have won 8 of their last 9. A win this week against Minnesota makes it 9 of their last 10 going into the playoffs, and also the defense has been playing its best football. That Packer team gave up only 15 points a game in the regular season. The only huge difference of course is that team could do it on the road. Will this year’s Bears have a chance to do the same?

The other teams I remember were the New York Giants beating the Patriots twice. The XLII game was 17-14 and the XLVI game was 21-17. Neither team managed to win more than 10 games in a season. Nothing amazing on the stat sheet about those Eli Manning/Tom Coughlin teams, but they did beat Bill Belichick twice and that is maybe one of the greatest NFL accomplishments in the history of the league, and 5 of the 6 games they won in the playoffs combined came on the road.

It just gets me thinking that if the Bears can ever get comfortable playing on the road, no easy feat, but if they can, they might just hit a bunch of teams squarely in the mouth the way those Giant and Packer teams did.

Good tackling and blocking, limit the number of mental miscues, don’t turn the ball over, score touchdowns in the red zone, don’t get rattled by the big game, pressure the QB——there’s a number of other things too that have to go right I grant you—-but remember this—-nobody this year has blown this team out. They’ve been in every single game. It’s harder to do in the playoffs that’s for sure but nothing in the numbers is telling me they’re going to lay a zero in the playoffs.

Something too about Matt Nagy is also telling me that he’s learning quickly as he goes. Most every Super Bowl winning coach has a name I remember well. Can Matt Nagy add his name to that list?