When your favorite team loses, the last phrase you want to hear is: “It’s only a game.”
Of course it’s, “only a game,” but that’s not the point.
It’s about dedication. It’s about an unwavering loyalty, which to some who are not familiar with the sports world, may call “insane.” That’s an acceptable notion. It’s about the team colors, rivalries and tradition. The Chicago Bears organization has had one of the most loyal fan-bases in American sports and the fans have gotten little in return.
Let’s not talk about the 1930’s, 40’s or 50’s teams, please. Let’s not speak of Red Grange and Sid Luckman. Lets not even speak about Gale Sayers and Dick Butkis. Oh, the Super Bowl XX Champions? Yeah, let’s bring that up every time we’re backed into a corner about our relevancy in the league. Mike Ditka, Walter Payton, fine. Bring those names up, at least they were relevant in the age of color TV.
Walter Payton was the last player the Bears had of any real relevancy, and he retired in 1987. Think about it, over the last 20 years the Lions, Vikings and Packers (all division rivals) have had arguably the best player at their position in their times. Detroit: Barry Sanders and now Calvin Johnson; Minnesota: Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson; Green Bay: Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
What was that? Oh, Brian Urlacher. Sure he was without a doubt, our guy, but have you heard Urlacher recently? Ever since his career ended on bad terms with the Bears, he has been nothing but overly critical and at times seems spiteful in his speech towards the team he spent his entire career with. Yeah, that’s our guy.
Under head coach Lovie Smith, there was as a definite resurgence in the organization. Smith led the team to the top of the division three times and made the playoffs a total of four times. Smith led the Bears to Super Bowl XLI where they lost to the Colts 29-17 and was awarded with an extension soon after. Although through his defensive scheming, Lovie Smith brought back the “Monsters of the Midway” – it was the Bears’ offense which seemed to be it’s achilles heel, year after year.
In 2013 the Bears decided to think “outside the box” and hire Marc Trestman . . . and that brings us to present day.
The Bears are currently 3-6 in a season that many thought would find them at the very least, a wild-card team in the playoffs. Those three wins included a ridiculous fourth quarter run against the under-achieving 49ers, an 8 point win over the lowly Jets and win over the Falcons, which doesn’t mean what it did two years ago. Let’s not forget, all those wins were on the road as well. The Bears are currently on a three game losing streak including blow-out loses to the Patriots and Packers where the Bears gave up 51 and 55 points respectively.
The players have seemingly tuned out head coach Marc Trestman, and along the way have lost a feeling of urgency, accountability and pride. The Bears defense, lacks any talent or leadership, and those woes were supposed to have been cleaned up with free agency. Jared Allen was brought in, if not to be the force he was with the Vikings – to at least be a leader on and off the field, but even a player who’s character has been noted as one of the most excitable players in the league, has found himself muted. Lamaar Houston is a bust and this group of line backers may collectively be the absolute worst in the NFL. Add to the fact that defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has no business in this league and you have a disaster on your hands.
Offensively, this was supposed to be a top five unit. This is where Trestman supposedly excels and yet, it’s as confused a bunch as there is in the league. The offensive line is inconsistent (with play and health), the play calling is borderline juvenile and there is no trust – in Cutler, or Cutler in this offense. Jay Cutler continues to turn the ball over, which has brought about frustration in the locker room but even then – nobody seems to care.
Cutler never gets yelled at or even spoken to on the bench after a bad read. Marc Trestman doesn’t get his head out of his play calling chart and the defense shakes their heads after nearly every play, while defensive coordinator Mel Tucker makes no adjustments. Yet, after getting blown out on national television by the rival Packers, ending the season in week 10 for Chicago – nothing changes. Head coach Marc Trestman still has his job and even in his press conference reassured the jobs of those on his coaching staff. Why hasn’t general manager Phil Emery made a move? Or ownership? Because it’s “da Bears.”
So my question to you, fellow Bears fans: “Why should we care?”
We have spent our hard earned money on tickets, jerseys, hats, food and grills for tailgates – we’ve shunned away family events because “the game is on,” – we strategically plan our Sundays around that three and a half hour time frame that the Bears are playing. We have let our Monday mornings be destroyed by the heartache of losses like November 9th’s 55-14 slaughter at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. We have tossed remote controls against the walls, broken many i-Phone screens slamming them to the ground (I’ve had my screen fixed four times in the last two years) – and we keep on coming back.
It makes no sense. It’s like the guy who goes back with an ex girlfriend who’s cheated on him twice before. You know how it will turn out and you still put yourself in a situation where you know you’ll get hurt. You’re the idiot who thinks to yourself: “This time it will be different.”
In truth, this time it is a little different. This is one of the more embarrassing times to be a Bears fan. Although the records in the league tell you that the Jets, Titans, Raiders , Bucs and Jaguars all have worse records – when the Bears play badly, they outplay all the bad of those teams combined. The worse thing this organization did, was give us expectations that this year would be different. We’re the fools for believing.
In closing, my message to my fellow Bears fans is not to quit being a fan of the team – we all know, you can’t quit love – but stop being the fool. Stop going to the games, stop buying the merchandise. Stop giving this team money and they might start to give a damn about the product they put on the field. Maybe they’ll get people in the right places in this organization to give it’s fans what they truly deserve. And this goes beyond deserving a championship – we as the fans deserve some respect.
Sincerely, A Bears fan for life