***Disclaimer: I started crafting this thing up on Monday and Tuesday, and then sort of dead stopped Wednesday and most of Thursday, ya know, cause that one thing happened. On top of that, I didn’t want to regurgitate what some beat writers had said, or what some very observant folks from Bears twitter have noted the past few weeks. There is so much content out there to digest, it’s great to click that like button and to sit down to read or watch a video, so I appreciate those that do.***
Okay, on to the rambling!
We had one helluva 2020, and for the Bears Twitter that I have become involved in over the past half year, it seems people are like reallyyyy invested in this team. I couldn’t imagine if every Bears team got this much analysis. If Twitter existed 20 years ago, would we all be sharing Next Gen stats of how conservative John Shoop and his shitty offense was? Or highlights of Urlacher that no one else? Hell, even nearly a decade ago, Twitter would have exploded demanding that Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo be fired. Also, we are well aware that they were replaced with freaking PHIL EMERY and god damned MARC TRESTMAN!? I’m getting a lot of “careful what you wish for…..” and “better the devil you know, than the one you don’t” vibes right now.
Mild ADD aside, (*gets up distracted….sits down, checks something else.) I’m sure 2020 had enough of us subtly anxious that we may not have realized it. Living in Illinois, one of like 6 states not to play football, the constant back and forth definitely got to me as we tried to keep our players involved, especially when Indiana schools 20 miles away we’re playing ball. Whether that was the safest thing to do, go debate on Facebook/Twitter for that, but we had a great team set up, and I guess we’ll never know. Remote learning too was and still is a hell of an adventure. Sometimes, high school…might turn stuff in….or like three weeks late, I dunno. I get none of this helped any ones mental state, but I had the bar low. Hell, once they jump it, move it up, and build on it. Kids are resilient, enough of them figured it out, and we move on.
Great Expectations. It’s not just a Chuck Dickens novel.
That’s the deal with expectations. Where should they be, why we’re they set there, and most importantly, were they calibrated properly in the first place? What was the outcome that determined if something fell below, met, or exceeded them? I feel like we we’re hoping the Bears we’re coming out to at least a ten win season, if things break right, and they did not toe the line in that regard. But I feel like it’s really the 2018 season has everyone so on edge and throwing crap at each other on #Bears twitter now in 2020. The Bears were supposed to match that right? That’s where the bar was initially set, correct? Mitch look functional and mildly confident, no one knew how to defend Tarik Cohen, turnovers came pouring from the skies like rain from the heavens, giving the Bears short fields(eh, get it? “fields.”) Eddie Jackson looked like the spawn of Ed Reed, everything looked legit.
Things move quick in the NFL, hell the Eagles won it all in 2017, and now Doug Pedersen almost got his ass beat for tanking. The Patriots were in the damn Super Bowl two years ago, now they’re chilling at 6-10. The Rams looked like they were going to fall off a cliff too, but fixed their O -line, and former Bears coach(another brain got out of the building, So Bears!) Brandon Staley has the D playing well, so the Rams have at least balanced out.
Three seasons in one
The 2018 season elongated expectations, and made this season feel like three seasons all in one. The opening three games with the Mitch comebacks. The amazing Bucs game, which had me beyond excited until we realized Brady and Arians we’re just getting acclimated without from a lack of off season. Then, the Nick Foles descent into hell while playing actual legit playoff teams by the way, was accompanied by Bears Twitter jumping off respective cliffs. Lastly, righting the ship with the Notre Dame infused O line that apparently been on the bench ALL YEAR combined with the resurgence of Monty and Mitch versus the soft schedule, the latter showing he’s proficient at relatively simple things. (It’s like the guy that should be playing JUCO right now, but instead he’s out here roasting his former teacher for 35 points. Step up your competition, bro.)
Also Small fun fact: The schedule was what it was. Beat the poor teams, can’t beat the good teams ,so hey, at least they were consistent. It’s not like they were completely mercurial, say like they punched the Titans and Rams in the mouth, but then laid an egg versus Houston, etc. How would fans feel if instead of playing garbage, really good, then garbage again, it fell intermittently, on and off for the whole season, and they still went 8-8? the narrative changes a bit, doesn’t it? “Oh, they’re inconsistent, blah blah, They have no focus, blah blah.” Save me the grief. They are .500 as hell, and that’s what .500 teams do, which leads us too…….
“You are what your record says you are”
Was this Nagy era group that really hasn’t changed much in three seasons, just an 8-8 team all along? Was that just an evil mirage? The Bears are playing with the same roster, or have had pretty solid continuity given it’s the NFL. Sorry if it sounds biased, but they are at least better than half the NFL just on individual talent alone. And no, I don’t have the goddamn PFF stat rankings, who do I look like, Robert Schmitz!? (Hey, Robert!) It’s not winning the Super Bowl, but it should make Wild Card weekend fun, and who knows what goes from there?
Maybe that’s why we treat the double doink like the Bartman game, at least for Cubs fans, like such a scar on our psyche. We can’t get over it, because that team had intangiables like crazy. It may have overachieved a little bit, and was riding hot, and that lightning can never be put back in the bottle again. No one was scared of the Rams after I got to sit in 26 degree whether without a speck of wind, who the hell would have stepped up? Bill Belichick might have put the screws to them in the Super Bowl, but a Bears Pats 33 years later rematch?! Chicago would have lost its collective shit.
As dire as this has been, some franchises like the Bucs and Browns haven’t touched the playoffs in over a decade plus. Think about how bad the Bills have been for nearly two decades, and now the 2020’s might be theirs. Look, i spent my hard earned Walgreens money in high school to go halfsies on Bears season tickets with my best friend, and sat through some bad Dave Wannstedt era football. 8-8 is just that much closer to 12-4. Fear not, the playoffs (you kiddin me!? Playoffs!!) are here. To quote Mayor Quimby, I’m going to enjoy this!