Bearly Watchable (January 23, 2011)

“Somebody needs to tell the Bears this isn’t a preseason game.”

– Terry Bradshaw, NFL Fox Analyst, 3:30 PM today

At the risk of alienating my rabidly “Bear Down” family any further (please stop the bitter posts on my Facebook wall!), I must acknowledge the Bears miserable play in today’s NFC Championship Game. But I will not say I told you so.

The final score of the home advantage matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, 21-14, really doesn’t tell the story. If there are kudos to be handed around, they are reserved for the members of the Bears’ defense, who kept the tally board from reflecting the lopsided mess in play that really occurred. Pro Bowler Brian Urlacher had a particularly effective day. A solid golf clap is also owed to third string quarterback Caleb Hainie, who honestly got the Bears back in it when it seemed all but impossible.

Hainie’s surprisingly able play does not excuse the drastic mistakes in coaching that occurred, underscoring my season-long opinion that, division championship notwithstanding, it is time to show Lovie Smith the door. The inexplicable time-out call in the fourth quarter, on a huge fourth down and three yards? Also, by playing Hainie before the conclusion of the third quarter, benched alternatives Jay Cutler and Todd Collins lost their eligibility to return to the game. What if Hainie had been injured?

Not that we missed either one of the former sorry asses. I expected nothing from second stringer Todd Collins, and with two near picks in a matter of minutes, I was not disappointed. But you Jay Cutler – you. Everything Denver Bronco fans said is 100% accurate. You are a sissy, a quitter and a quintessential pouter. When you left the game shortly after a pathetic first half with the flimsy “knee” excuse, I wanted to call Jo the Super Nanny to slap the puss off your face before you sat for the rest of the game on the naughty bench. After two unbelievably lackluster seasons, I wonder if we were really not better off with Rex Grossman, the Bears’ 2007 Super Bowl QB. We had more money at least.

As a Chicago native, a passionate sports fan, and an adrenaline addict, I am deeply saddened by the Bears ejection from post season play, no matter what my critics may believe. In this case, if not others, I am terribly sorry to have played the Cassandra-like spoiler to the conclusion of the Bears’ idiosyncratic ascent.

But if I am being honest and gracious, the better team won. A couple less concussions for Rodgers and the standings in the NFC North may have looked very different. The Bears had the luckiest run of any organization this season. I will go to my grave saying it. I wish the Green Bay Packers well in two weeks. It may make today’s debacle sit easier if it was dealt by the hands of the Super Bowl champs.


Somewhere Between Slim and None (January 8, 2011)


This weekend, the NFL Playoff series gets underway. Although I always enjoy a competitive, well-played match no which team is on the field, there is really only one club whose run I will follow. As a lifelong Chicago resident, I was born and raised to be a citizen of Bears nation.

Da Bears, with their 11-5 record over the course of the season, are fortunate enough to enjoy the week off before they must face the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints or Seattle Seahawks at home next week. Fans of my hometown team better hope the organization’s 17-week lucky streak continues, because if so, we will be rewarded with a matchup against Seattle. With a exceptionally mediocre record of 7-9, the Seahawks are the first team to win a playoff berth with a losing tally.

Go Hawks! Because I’ll let you in on a little, poorly kept secret: stellar win ratio aside, the Bears are not a very good team. I have taken a lot of heat from friends and family over repeated insistence that this is so. It is the curse of the righteous to remain unpopular.

Don’t believe me? Watch the tapes of Week 1, when the Bears won against DETRIOT by a hair (granted, the Lions are finally on the upswing) due to the reversal of a last-second touchdown. Otherwise, they collectively stunk up Soldier Field for a full 60 minutes.

But anyone can have a bad week right? Then let’s discuss Week 3, when the Bears narrowly bested the Green Bay Packers, after the Aaron Rodgers-led team managed to set a clubhouse record of 18 penalties. Don’t think the penalties played a role? Rodgers threw for 316 total yards to Jay Cutler’s lackluster 37.

But there’s more. Should I mention Week 14’s pummeling at home by the New England Patriots in the middle of a blizzard? Or perhaps last week’s disgusting season finale, once more against Green Bay, where the Bears appeared to have been replaced by members of the TFL (Tiny Football League).

If all else fails to convince, consider that Jay Cutler, Chicago’s obnoxiously overpaid Quarterback, has been sacked no less than 52 times this season. And before you go feeling sorry for the oft-concussed player, laying the exclusive blame on the Bears’ miserable, porous, offensive line, keep in mind that almost every other QB in the NFL knows to get rid of the ball in 10 seconds or less (an eternity in football time).

But hey, what’s good for Chicago sports is always good for me, and I will be front and center next week, hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst. In fact this season reminds me an awful lot of the 2006-2007 one, when the Bears earned a mystifying trip to the SuperBowl. Once there, Payton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts ran all over us. Just sayin’.


The Lovie Shuffle (January 3, 2010)


I would like to formally congratulate the Bears on the official end to a mediocre, 7-9 season. Sadly, we Chicagoans are used to the Bears routine suckiness (and that trip to the Super Bowl in February 2007 was just a lovely fluke). But what makes the repeat of last year’s dismal record sting a bit more is the dumping of “Sexy Rexy” Grossman for the much more expensive (fiscally and in terms of future prospects) Jay “Multimillion Dollar Baby” Cutler. Such high hopes. So many interceptions.

Clearly Da Bears had problems above and beyond the undependable arm of our man Jay. Can we get a defense before next Fall? Perhaps show Lovie the door? What is with Bears fans and our irrational attachment to our coaches?

At the very least, the Bears went out somewhat nobly in the remaining two games of this often humiliating season. Granted the final quarter of today’s contest was a little bit more stressful than it ought to have been, given that we were playing Detroit. But last week’s “W” against Favre and the Vikings brought a genuine sheen to my eyes. Maybe there is hope for next year? Hey – I am a Chicago sports fan. What else do we have to keep us warm in these winter months if not eternal optimism?

That reminds me. The Cubs are three months away…

Weekend Headlines (December 6, 2009)

While I was away at the Renaissance hotel on State and Wacker last night with Eddie, living like a lucky princess: (room on a restricted access floor, steam room and jacuzzi, deep tissue massage – I guess there are some perks after all to having a husband who traveled all year and earned enough Marriott points to settle the national debt), I awoke from the lazy haze of anniversary pampering long enough to pay attention to the following:

1. ‘SNL’ criticized for Tiger Woods skit

Like anything could be more “insensitive” than portraying yourself as the ultimate stable family man to millions of fans, while in fact being a dirty, shameless, immature manwhore. I thought Jon Gosselin had an absolute lock on being the sleaziest husband/father in the public eye this year. But in a photo finish, it appears Tiger Boy may upset the poster boy for Ed Hardy after all.

2. Cutler stumbles after fast start but Bears earn must-win over lowly Rams

The Bears managed to win one. Yeah! Dubiously, they are decalred by CBS broadcasters to be “in the hunt” for a playoff berth. Not with Lovie in charge and our superstar quarterback calling plays. I never thought I’d miss Rex Grosssman. Ever. But at least he sucked without eating too much of the payroll.

3. Slew of tax, fee, fine hikes across the city – GOING UP City taxes and fees on everything from booze to museum admissions have soared since ’04,CST-NWS-taxes06.article

When will we the citizens of Cook County let Daley (pick any one) and Stroger (pick any one) stop violating us? I am so tired of it.