It's getting harder and harder to be optimistic about the Chicago Bear's 2011 wayfarer. First, the team loses Cutler for (possibly) the remainder of the season. Then Cutler's engagement to Kristin Cavallari is back on. Then Mike Martz's tenure in Chicago is ending in the foreseeable future. An now, Matt Forte sprains his knee yesterday, out for about the same timetable as Cutler. This is what happens when I get my hopes up.
Now, the media circus is abound, speculating on the next move that Chicago should make to help their offense rebound--calling for McNabb to enter the fold...or, hold your breath...possibly bringing the Farve circus to the Windy.
Either way, it's over for Chicago. At week 11, they looked undeniable. They looked like the team that could dethrone the Pack at Christmas. They looked like genuine contenders--hell, even Bill Simmons (a notorious Bear unbeliever) was buying into their potential to win the NFC crown. I then started to buy in myself after my season-long hypnosis that Jeff Fisher would be the next Papa Bear. And yet, this might go down as the worst season for a Bear fan in recent history.
I would have said this after the disappointment that was last season--losing the AFC championship to their biggest rival as Cutler watched on the sideline making this face:
His shitty face couldn't be reached for comment.
But last season, the Bears were more consistent and lucky--and luck is easily one of the more underrated qualities of championship teams (see: 2001 Patriots or last year's Packers). The ball was bouncing the Bears way and they had swagger that was equal on both sides of the ball without any off field bullshit fogging their collective eyes on the prize, rare for this team. Now, in spite of any scenario that plays out, the Bears are done for another year. But, for lack of anything better to think about, I will now look deep into the foggy glow of my great-grandfather's crystal ball and visage the alternate stoylines of the post-week 13 woes of your Chicago Bears.
Scenario #1 Nabbing McNabb: I think Donovan McNabb would actually have flashes of brilliance as the Bears' starter. Sure, he would fumble around with Martz's playbook (and Martz wouldn't care at this point) but I think eventually they would have to adapt to his play, much like the Broncos are forced to do with Tebow. I think if Lovie and Martz drew up some simple plays, McNabb would do okay. Also, McNabb would feel a surge playing in his home town with his favorite team--which in my mind is already better than Hanie. Sure, mistakes would be made, but it would be fun to see what he could do in a Bear uni.
Prognonisis with McNabb: 1-3 down the stretch. Out of the playoff picture after being utterly destroyed by Green Bay.
Scenario #2: Fucking Farve: This, to me, would be the same thing as if Chris Webber became a Laker or if Orel Hershiser was a Giant.
He was, dumbass.
Part of me likes this scenario the best because Farve is so unpredictable. He will either stink the joint up or he will pull wins out of his ass as he is apt to do. Martz would love this scenario too, a true gunslinger who likes to take pictures of his wang (Martz likes wangs). And who in their right mind wouldn't forgo Opening Day of the NBA for another Farve return to Lambeau, this time in their fiercest rival's uniform--the potential of this game would make Santa hurry home. All the Bears would need from Farve is to get to the postseason, where Cutler and Forte can come back and we can forget that this nightmare scenario even played out. But would Farve find a spot on the bench if this happened? Farve never goes quietly, which is why he and the Bears won't come to this agreement from the start.
Prognonisis with Farve: 3-1, including a win in Green Bay to hand the Pack their first loss.
"Suck me, beautiful!"
Scenario #3: Do Nothing: This is the most likely since Lovie said this today. Oh well, it was fun to think about anyways. A pox on Lovie's house on staying this shitty course in light of losing your best offensive weapon yesterday. Desperate times calls for equal messures, unless you are the Bears front office--a team who notoriously stays in the cheap. The only silver lining to this scenario is that Lovie will get blamed and fired (which is unlikely). But there is no way in hell Hanie gets them to the postseason. Prognonisis with Hanie: 0-4 with the hopes that the Bears at least get a decent back-up for Cutler next year. But with these fucking-frugal McCaskeys, even that is a stretch. Ugh, I need a bullet for my head.
- Toros. It must be nice to have a complete team. The Texans could have Gore Vidal under center and still figure out how to win. It's too bad that they'll go down early in the playoffs when TJ Yates will be exposed for the fraud he is--but at least they will finally go to the playoffs after unknown seasons of flirting with the possibility. This team shall have an excellent 2012, maybe even Super Bowl bound within the next two years if they play their cards right.
- Bengals. Can't seem to get up for these big divisional games. The Steelers really have their number--but this is one of the youngest, most electrifying teams in the league and after Andy "Howdy Doody" Dalton collects his ROTY honors and plays in the Pro Bowl, you can bet the Bengals will be in the playoff picture every year until he retires in 2029.
- The Drive. I caught the tail end of the Packer-Giants game yesterday and the thing that impresses me the most about Aaron Rodgers and that offense is their ability to not only score at will--but to move the ball down the field with a small window of time. Just watch Rodgers feet as he picks his receiver, they wiggle and set with his eyes until he finds hands to laser the rock into. It is absolutely amazing what this team does week-in, week-out. I just hope they can be stopped, but I'm realistic enough to know that no team will be able to.
- Raiders. Will not make the playoffs this year. But they are getting better.
- Colts. I should have taken that point spread, Indy cut it to less than half, losing to the Pats by a tud. Speaking of the Pats, quietly on a four-win streak--much like the Saints. Don't sleep on either of these teams with arguably the best two coaches in the game. That would be a kick-ass Supe Bowl.
- Jason Garrett. He and Romo are the reasons that the Cowboys will never be mentioned in the same breath as the Pack, Saints, Pats or Steelers--this QB/coach simply isn't a successful combo because they can't seem to win the games they are supposed to. The game against the Cards yesterday shouldn't have even come down to the icing Garrett put on his own kicker--they should have won that game by 17, easily. But they lost and the Cowboys will continue to suck until they get rid of one or both of these two assholes.
- The Rex Grossman Award...will not only be given to Caleb Hanie, but the award will now be renamed in his dishonor. He's a pathetic fuck.
- Tebow. The playoff bound Broncos have a few more tricks up their sleeve, me thinks. My brain says they will lose early in the post, but my heart has them upsetting the Ravens at some point. Looking forward a couple weeks, I will be heavily invested in seeing what Belichik will do against the chosen one. Isn't Tebow the greatest accidental QB since Jim Harbaugh almost took the Colts to the Super Bowl in the mid-90's? The answer is yes.
Houston V. Cincinnati. I am hoping that Dalton and the felines can take down TJ Yates and the mighty Toros, but I'm not so sure. I thought the Falcons (who kinda suck) would put on a clinic against the Houston third-stringer, but he looks--well, adequate. I expect it to be similar outcome this week, a tight game, but with a different result, seeing as the Bengals need to rebound after dropping 3 of the last 4 if they want to be taken seriously. Beating the ailing Toros is a step in the right direction. Bengals win 14-19.
New Orleans V. Tennessee. New Orleans is absolutely money at home. That is why they will be playing hard until week 17, to see if they can catch the 9ers, or less unlikely, the Pack for the first round bye. The Oilers are red hot of late and we can thank Mr. Johnson for blowing the divots out of his cleats. This will be a high scorer, seeing as both teams are heavier on the offensive side of things. This will be a test for the Titans--to see how serious they are for that golden goose. Titans win in an upset, 37-28.
Chicago V. Denver. Goddamn I wish the Bears would run the Tebow-style offense, at least until Cutler gets back in a couple weeks, which will be too late unless they can split the next two games. Hanie is a better runner than thrower and Marion Barber is a workhorse in the vein of Dorsey Levens.
I don't know why Martz doesn't un-Martz himself and just play a ball control game with the Broncos, a game the Bears have great potential to win with their great defense and special team play. This is the Bears downfall, their inability to change the game plan. This is why Lovie sucks. And this is why Tebow time will rule again--Broncs win 21-14.
Oakland V. Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is always the footnote. Even in his pinnacle, career season, he is still in the backseat behind another quarterback stealing the headlines, either it be Farve or Tebow. But this Tebow thing works to the Packers benefit--the media's fixation is 70% Tebow, 30% the perfect season. Aaron Rodgers seems like the kind of cat that shines in this darkness, and the Raiders will get destroyed. What if Super Bowl XLVI is the Packers V. Broncos? Holy shit, what a match-up. Pack win 51-27.
St. Louis V. Seattle. Yuck! Have you seen the Miami Marlins new team uniforms? It looks as if Gloria Estefan puked south beach neon on someones pajamas and called it an MLB team uni.
These guys are taking their retinal abhorrences to South Beach.
New York Football Giants V. Dallas. Round 1, ding! Cowboys are on the ropes and the Giants must-win--this will be a smash-mouth affair that will come down to quarterback play. I like Eli and the Giants to rebound out of their slump this week because the Giants shine in December where the Cowboys falter. This year, I see no difference. Giants win, 26-21.
In last night's Thursday Night game, Colt McCoy was on the losing end of James Harrison's crown. He was taken out and then promptly put back in, rather controversially. McCoy's dad has gone on record to state that the Browns shouldn't have put his son back on the field, citing that Colt's mental state was much worse that the Browns let on. Although I agree with Mr. McCoy's concern and I agree that he should have been taken out--the game continues to become pusified.
I know I'm in the minority here, but I think the league needs to back off on penalizing all hits. The very nature of the game boils down its brutal contact and this contact defines what the game is to me. Football, like all contact sports, is there to dull the edge of adolescent males and divert the testosterone energy into a controlled environment. The good always outweighs the bad when football is introduced as a right of passage and a diversion for young males to not kill one other. That being said, hitting is essential to the game when all young men start playing it.
The message in the modern NFL is that hitting is now wrong and that all the players must unlearn what they have been taught--to destroy their opponent and make them eat mud. But I get it, Goodell wants to appeal to future NFLers by tackling the problem we see when players retire and their bodies rebel, thus creating a culture of cripples. But guess what, anyone that plays the game knows the inherent risks. This is true now and it will be true in the future.
Instead of trying to take the physical aspect out of the game (which it feels like the league is trying to do without investing in nylon belts with dayglo flags on them)--the league should invest more in health benefits for the life of the player. All NFL players should get field to the grave coverage if they have sustained an amount of hits that would be considered critical mass (the math geeks can figure out the algorithm for this). And also, let's just assume an adult that wants to play the game of football knows the inherent risks when they sign the dotted line. As long as there is there is big money in it, the league will always find the players they need. Trust me.