Tuesday, August 30, 2011
NFL ACLB PREVIEWS - #14: CHICAGO BEARS
PERTINENT DATA: 11-5 last year, won NFC North, beat Seahawks in divisional round, then lost at home to rival Packers in NFC Championship; 28 to 1 odds to win Super Bowl XLVI.
BEST CASE SCENARIO (Raven): There have been a few teams where both Neil and I either love or hate them, so we just easily dole assignments between ourselves, as this is never meant to be a laborious process - just real dudes talking real shit about what makes football real. Unfortunately, one of us has to take the positive angle on the Bears, and being Neil is fans of a divisional rival, it made sense I do it. That kind of sucks because I hate the Bears. In my years on the internet, I have found it to be true that online Bears fans are football's version of the Brooklyn hipster, all wacky and cynical and quick to share a Refrigerator Perry Wheaties box jpg or animated gif from the Super Bowl Shuffle. And it's lulzy the first couple times, but it really starts to great on your nerves. But it is my job to be positive, so let me take a few deep breaths and psych myself up for this...
Okay, in all the hub-bub about whether Jay Cutler is a sour-faced pud who is as weak as something really weak that refers to old world Polish behaviors to speak to long-time Bears fans heritage, it has been lost that Jay Cutler is pretty fucking awesome. Sure, he's got The Ol' Gunslinger disease and will throw a mighty painful pick every now and then, but really, the Bears should have known that when they acquired him. What you do with a guy like this is surround him with speed receivers, in other words about two more Devin Hesters, but better as a receiver than Hester, and let him air it out. Air Coryell 2011 in other words. The problem is the Bears have not really built around what they have, offensively. They really haven't given it the attention it deserves. That being said, there's some bright spots - Cutler is always able to go big, maybe Devin Hester actually is a receiver after all, and Matt Forte is as serviceable a back as ever, and even though Marion Barber is no real threat like he was a couple years back, having two bona fide runners - one a pounder and one a slasher - is going to server Mr. The New Ol' Gunslinger well. And if you think of the Bears, historically, you think defense. That ain't changed, even though Brian Urlacher's an old fucker now, and Lance Briggs is disgruntled again. With Julius Peppers up front, it'll keep this defense solid. That dude is a monster, a very underrated monster in this NFL. And with a punishing (although aging) defense and an offense that is questionable but could answer those questions with like three excited exclamation points in a row if it all breaks right, shit could be great for wacky hipster e-bro Bears fans, enough so to make their Jim McMahon in sunglasses DEAL WITH IT message board sigs proud.
WORST CASE SCENARIO (Neil): With apologies to my friend and colleague, the esteemed L.B., I fucking hate the Bears. They are a giant butt. I think I hate them more than any other team in the league, probably because they were on top of the division when I came of age as a football fan. I would punch Mike Ditka in his decrepit old catcher’s mitt of a face after setting my hand on fire if I ever met him. Actually, I would probably just smile, shake his hand and tell him it was awesome to meet him, but I would feel like shit about it afterward and I would probably have no choice but to go home and cut myself or huff ether until I couldn’t feel anything anymore. Either way. The good news for someone like me, then, is that the Bears worst case scenario has the potential to be both hilarious and delicious. I want to taste their blood tears. In this scenario, Jay Cutler completely melts down and gets the absolute shit beaten out of him, either on the field or by the fans, or better yet, both. This stands a good chance of happening since everyone already hates him and thinks he’s a huge pussy. I imagine his suspect nerves are already frayed past the point of no return and he’ll never be the dude the Bears thought he could be when they traded for him. Meanwhile, Kyle Orton is drinking beers, crushing ass and slinging touchdowns out in Denver. Man, it must suck to be a Bears fan right now. Sure, sure, they somehow strung together a half-decent season last year but that season was bullshit and they all know it. It was the Calvin Johnson Catch game writ large. That one game last year set the tone for that whole fraudulent season. The Bears suck. Their offensive line might be the worst in football, which means that Jay Cutler is going to get his ass beat this season. Oh Lord, let me please see Ndamukong Suh powerbomb Jay Cutler in his own endzone as at least a tiny measure of payback for last season’s atrocities. Anyway, yeah, the worst case scenario is Jay Cutler melting down and the Bears season turning into a giant 4-12 tire fire. Fuck them.
PLAYER TO PULL FOR (Raven): I am sure most Bears fans would say Brian Urlacher but I hate Brian Urlacher more than almost anybody else in the NFL because he looks and acts and thinks like a state trooper and who the fuck in their right mind aspires to be a state trooper? At least local cops know they will see you again and try to be somewhat cool sometimes, and let shit slide. A state trooper is very much a trooper in that he lives amongst you but attaches his loyalties to a larger authoritarian organization than locally known, so he is a dick more often than not in interactions with you, about why your brake lights are out, or why do you have nine brand new blu-ray players in the back of your truck, or why is this 12-inch Kbar Marine issue knife tucked between your seats Mr. Mack, or do you have a prescription for this. Fucking dickheads. But I guess that speaks strongly to the overweight greater Chicago old world ethnic lined fraternal organization members only types that are Bears fans. Wait, I'm supposed to pick somebody good, right? Let's go with Julius Peppers aka UberKlaw, because for the longest while he was the King of Carolina, both in college and then with the Panthers, but he chose to expand his Kingdom into the midwest, which usually does not think highly of his kind. But his stubborn persistence to mangle QBs and that down-home friendliest of all smiles ever has won their black (and orange) hearts over. So God bless you UberKlaw.
PLAYER TO HATE MOST (Neil): The obvious choice here is Jay Cutler but everyone already knows enough to hate him, even his own fans and so urging people to hate him even more would be psychic overkill and would possibly run the risk of creating a sort of weird karmic backlash and we don’t need that shit. So I’m going to do the only thing I can do in good conscience and advise you all to hate Rod Marinelli. Yes, he’s technically only a defensive coordinator, but . . . 0-16, dudes and lady dudes. 0-16. Fuck him, his diapers and his pad level. He is an agent of hell, a slave to the Failure Demons and although he may indeed be a nice man, so was my grandpa and my grandpa is dead. What is my point? There is no point, just like there is no point in discussing whether or not he is a nice man. It is irrelevant to his skills as a football coach, which are shitty. He is a living, breathing symbol of the ultimate failure of my team. Fuck him. Oh, and Mike Martz too, just because.
BEST NAME ON TEAM: Olin Kreutz was always the best name, but now he is gone. I am cry. In honor of weird Norwegian sounding fuckers like that though, let's go with Dane Sanzenbacher.
IN A PERFECT WORLD (Neil): In a perfect world, the Bears would completely fall apart, their misery and downfall punctuated by a vicious mauling at the hands of my Lions, complete with blood and entrails and the wails of the dead and the dying. No mercy. In that perfect world, Rod Marinelli would be horsewhipped during halftime of their game at Ford Field and forced to apologize for his wicked sins. (In an earlier version, I had Marinelli being crucified on a barbed wire cross set on fire and then hanged from the roof of the stadium but I decided that was a little much, even for me. I’m not a barbarian, goddammit. I’m a civilized man.) I want Mike Ditka to weep on national TV and beg Ndamukong Suh for mercy and then I want The Great Willie Young to ride into the studio on a pale horse and carry Ditka off wailing and begging for a second chance. It’s up to The Great Willie Young if he grants him that second chance. He is a fair being, just and unsullied by the contemptuous mores of these strange and terrible times, but he also abhors weakness and so who knows how the whole thing will shake out? In the end, I want the Bears to lose and I want the world to know that they are frauds. Oh, and if Brian Urlacher gets caught giving handjobs to bikers and being peed on afterward outside of Albuquerque for no other reason than he enjoys being humiliated by leather bound strangers, then that would be cool too. Amen.
PROGNOSIS (Raven): The Bears are not that great, plus old, plus coming apart on the offensive line. There will be some sideline Jay Cutler yuckfaces going on this year, for sure. Still though, the NFL is full of mediocrity like this nowadays, so 7-9 is likely, which won't make Bears fans happy but is not quite the dregs of the NFL just yet. But wait another two years.