I have been woefully bad about sports blogging, in large part because I have not yet figured out a way to shoehorn 39 hours of work into a 24 hour day. But my beloved Chicago Bears deserve mention.
After a shaky start earlier this season, one that saw an offensive line as porous as the Maginot Line leading to untold defensive assaults on the person of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, a nonexistent running game and the consequent unbalanced offensive attack that results from poor play selection, and strains on the defense as it (as usual) was called upon to try to win games singlehandedly for the Chicago Bears, the Monsters of the Midway have righted their ship. The offensive line has gelled nicely, Jay Cutler’s brain is no longer in danger of spontaneous annihilation as a result of being slammed onto the turf one too many times, the running game is back with a vengeance, the offense is not only balanced, but it is high-scoring and lethal (one now witnesses many of the upsides of Mike Martz’s Chicago equivalent of the Greatest Show on Turf, without so many of the downsides), and the defense is once again fearsome and intimidating now that it has help from the offense and the special teams. All of this has added up to an NFC North division championship for the Bears, a win against the Seattle Seahawks today, and a date with the Green Bay Packers (in Chicago), for the NFC Championship, and an appearance in the Super Bowl.
It should be noted, of course, that earlier this year, the Bears lost to the Seahawks. That they were able to manhandle Seattle today (and yes, the game was a lot more lopsided than the score would indicate) is an indication of just how far the Bears have come. Chicago took control from the beginning, and played a complete game pretty much throughout, save the end when Seattle got some garbage-time points. It pretty much was all that any Bears fan could ask for.
With New England’s surprising loss to the New York Jets, the quest to hoist the Lombardi Trophy (it should be called the Halas Trophy, but never mind that for now) is wide open. And however unready the Bears looked earlier this season, they now have all of the trappings of a Super Bowl champion. There is no team in the hunt that can somehow be said to be a clear favorite, or can be pointed to as somehow being obviously more deserving of a Super Bowl championship than the Bears. The Bears are no longer contenders just for the sake of looking good as contenders. They are as legitimate a candidate for a Super Bowl championship as they come. They are in it to win it.
So, why not the Bears. The stars may not be as outrageously aligned as partisan Bears fans like me may want, but the men of Chicago may well be meeting the moment. Strangely enough, for a white hot rivalry, the last time that the Chicago Bears played their hated foes, the Packers, in an NFL playoff game, was on December 17, 1941. The Bears won that game, 33-14. Be it ever thus when it comes to playoff contests (and regular season, and preseason contests, for that matter) between the Bears, and
the spawn of Satan the Packers.
I leave you with a stirring musical close:
Go Bears. Beat Green Bay.