SPORTS

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February 2, 2007

Point–Counterpoint: nothing likeable about bad news Bears

Bears fans need to shut up.

I’m honestly sick of all the talk I’ve heard about the team. How Brian Urlacher is the second coming of Jesus Christ. About how Devin Hester, who has been a non-factor, even a liability, since Week 14, is considered the most exciting player in the game—commentators even went so far as to liken him to Michael Jordan, whose number he wears. But what irks me the most is that the Bears are even in the Super Bowl-—that this team could very easily enter the pantheon of great football teams on Sunday.

If you want to be objective, you have to acknowledge that this is probably one of the least talented teams ever to make the Super Bowl—probably a close second behind the 2000 New York Giants. With only two wins over teams with winning records, it might even be one of the worst teams to ever go 13–3.

Granted, the Bears had a great defense, but that was much earlier in the season. Once they lost Mike Brown and a handful of other key members of the secondary they have been very average. Remember, this is not the defense that led the league early in the season; this is the defense that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored 21 fourth-quarter points against when they put in their third-string quarterback.

And this is not even taking into account their abysmal offense, led by none other than Rex Grossman. If your idea of an effective offensive strategy is to put someone in at quarterback who will indiscriminately toss the ball into triple coverage whenever he damn pleases then, Ryan Leaf would be a Pro-Bowler. I’ll grant Bears fans the fact that they have two above-average running backs and a solid cast of wide receivers, but, come on: Your team’s offense sucks.

This would all be well and good for me if I actually found any of the Bears likable. I have a thing for a scrappy underdogs who win games with smart and hard play, like the 2001 New England Patriots, who took down the absolutely stacked St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. But this team is really a poor man’s version of the Cincinnati Bengals. Tank Johnson’s penchant for keeping his house stocked with assault rifles or having a posse that is the target of major gang crime is not even the worst of it.

Over the summer Bears cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr. was charged with assault when he beat a UCLA student unconscious in a Denny’s because the guy was working on his laptop. Manning thought this made him a nerd, and obviously nerds need to be bludgeoned to near death. (Note that if you are reading this article, that is what Manning and the entire Bears defense probably thinks about you; have fun rooting for that.)

Of course, if the Bears had some sort of counterbalance to the absurd extracurricular activities of their defense, it would be one thing. A genius coach like Bill Walsh or Bill Belichick or a standup quarterback like Joe Montana or Donovan McNabb would all fit the bill. Lovie Smith might be a great coach, but he isn’t a Walsh or Belichick. More to the point, Grossman is not even in the same universe as a guy like Montana. Hell, Grossman is quickly turning into the signal-calling version of Randy Moss with his decision to start taking games when he doesn’t feel interested (like the Week 17 game against the Green Bay Packers).

So, really, what is there left for people to root for? The Bears are nothing but a group of marginally talented selfish assholes. I’m having a hard time seeing why I should do anything more than root for their untimely demise, especially when they are only a Manning-meltdown away from becoming a Super Bowl champion.

The Pick: Colts 61, Bears 59.