Some people are fans of the Chicago Bears. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Chicago Bears. This 2012 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read the other Why Your Team Sucks 2012 previews here.
1. Lovie. Lovie Smith belongs on the bizarro Mount Rushmore of active NFL head coaches (Reid, Turner, Lewis) who are seemingly impervious to unemployment despite their best efforts to fuck their own team in the ass on a regular basis. Part of me would like to see the NFL give each team five timeouts per half just so I could see how Lovie wastes them. No one is better at taking a timeout to figure out whether or not he wants to throw a challenge flag on a four-yard completion than Lovie Smith.
I root for a team that has a rich history of terrible coaching, and yet whenever they play the Bears, I still take solace in the fact that, at least once a game, Lovie Smith will offer the Vikings an undeserved chance to seize victory (Leslie Frazier usually takes that opportunity and immediately reciprocates). The Bears could start an Avenger at every position on defense and Lovie Smith would still find a way not to win a championship. Remember, Lovie Smith once challenged a Marty Booker incompletion that already came with a pass interference flag attached to it. I swear that happened. Lovie Smith is fucking horrible. And he's virtually unkillable! Thirty years from now, he'll still be coaching this team, consulting into his mouthpiece with a red flag gripped firmly in his hand.
2. Cutlerfucker. Remember, he's not actually a human being. He's a housecat in disguise. Jay Cutler makes McKayla Maroney look enthusiastic. His joylessness actually shows up on meteorological charts. You'll notice that no one has ever said of Jay Cutler: "Oh, he's a great guy once you get to know him. He's not sulky like that in real life!" Cutler is the rare public figure whose true identity perfectly matches his perceived identity: pouty, mopey, indifferent, shitty. He leads this team with all the excitement of an eighth grader stuck in study hall. I remain convinced that the Bears never do anything to shore up their offensive line specifically because they want to see Cutler get sacked 90 times a season. He's like Jeff George made from distillate. Sack him enough times and he'll just openly quit. He'll bring an XBox out onto the field and start playing it. WHATEVER, PFFT. I BANG FAMOUS PEOPLE.
3. Mike Ditka is a fucking idiot. Do you realize that ESPN still employs Mike Ditka? To talk? Have they actually heard this man speak? It's like having a cinder block occupy one of the chairs on your set. DURRRRR I LIKE THE TOUGHNESS OF THESE BEARS DURRR I DENY EVERYTHING UNFLATTERING SAID ABOUT SWEETNESS DURRRR. No one—not even the average Bears fan—has suckled off the tit of 1985 quite like this man. Every time I hear Ditka speak, I become convinced that the 1985 Bears were really coached by Buddy Ryan and a rotating group of drunken team captains. Ditka is a fucking buttsteak, and it galls me to think that he serves as a kind of unofficial ambassador for the city of Chicago. It's one of the greatest cities in the world, and here's Andy Reid's drunk uncle representing it. He's less a football legend than a hilarious caricature of one.
I guess I should expect Ditka worship from Bears fans, a group of people who still think shouting "DA BEARS" is funny (it isn't), a group of people who happily ignore anything Bears-related any time the Cubs come within a sniff of playoff baseball, a group of fatties who secretly loathe the idea of hauling ass to Soldier Field from their relatively cushy digs on the North Side, a group of people who routinely insist that their rivalry with the Packers is the greatest in sport when the rest of the world knows it's just another stupid divisional game now. A lot of Bears fans remind me of Mike Wilbon, which makes sense because Mike Wilbon is a fucking fartsniffer.
4. Brandon Marshall will hit you with a fucking brick. I think it's cute that the Bears want to recreate the '08 Broncos—a team that went 8-8—by trading two third-round picks (!) for Brandon Marshall. Just as a refresher, here's a snippet from Brandon Marshall's timeline (yes, timeline) of horrible, awful acts:
Watley told police that Marshall did indeed cut her thigh with a kitchen knife during a fight earlier that evening and that he later returned to the condo and continued to assault Watley by punching her in the forehead.
What a guy. Only Lovie Smith will be shocked when Marshall gets six DUIs before Week 8. When Marshall was accused of hitting another lady during the offseason, linebacker and Jenny McCarthy seminal outlet Brian Urlacher said, "The only thing I worry about is him getting suspended." One thing that won't worry him: whether or not that woman will need facial reconstruction surgery after getting fisted in the mouth. Also, Alshon Jeffery is fat.
5. Hear it from Bears fans!
A current Bears player can't get a sack or a first down without being compared to a member of the 1985 squad. Never before in the history of sports has a group of players and a coach been so idolized nearly 30 years after winning a championship. Every member of that team is still paid a pretty penny for autograph shows. Want to wait in line for 30 minutes for a Kevin Butler autograph? Bears fans do!
Growing up we would play football in a field near my house. We had a play called 'the Cade McNown'. After the snap, the QB would run to the sideline as quick as possible and throw up an awful side arm pass as far as he could. I wish I was joking.
For Christmas one year (circa '05-'06 ish), I asked my brother which Bear's jersey I should get him. That turned into a very sad conversation. He eventually settled on Mike Brown.
You wanna know why the Bears will suck this year? Lovie Smith challenges. If you need a coach to just blow a challenge and waste an important, and most likely 2nd half, timeout for you, I can't think of a better candidate. Devin Hester fumbled and it's recovered by Green Bay in a pile that's impossible to determine who picked up the ball first? THROW THAT RED FLAG!!!! 4th and goal on the 1-yard line and Matt Forte didn't break the plane on the 4th straight run up the middle? CHALLENGE THAT SPOT!!!!! Calvin Johnson makes a catch along the sidelines where both feet are clearly inbounds? YOU BETTER BELIEVE THAT'S A CHALLENGIN'!!!!
I recently watched a video of Jay Cutler singing 'take me out to the ball game' at a Cubs game. He looked like he would rather be in a nightclub washroom with Ben Roethlisberger than to have the attention of thousands at Wrigley Field. It seems as if the Bears PR team summoned Cutler from his summer dungeon for some natural light to remind Chicago of what they are in for this fall.
If any Bears fan looks you in the face and tells you that they actually root for Jay Cutler to succeed, tell them to go fuck themselves because they're dirty liars.
The Bears are the only team that matters to Chicago and they bring out the absolute worst in this city. People still talk about the '85 Bears as if they cured polio, including the 25-year-olds with their ironic block letter sweaters who weren't even alive then.
By far, the most frustrating part of being a Bears fan during the Lovie Smith era has been Lovie's stubborness/inability to check out of a Tampa 2 coverage when necessary. If you're good enough to even get a look at an NFL practice squad, and you have an offensive coordinator that has watched 10 minutes of Bears defensive game film from the past 8 years, then your team has a 100% chance of driving the ball 90 yards up the Bears ass on every GD offensive possession. Sometimes your team will shit the bed and give us an unearned turnover, or sometimes your own shitty team will miss a wide open receiver in the endzone, but your team will almost always be guaranteed a field goal on every GD offensive possesion. All of this because Lovie Smith has never, ever, not once, in 8 fucking years of coaching the Bears sought it necessary to play anything but a zone defense, where the middle 20 yards of the field are wide fucking open for every Joe Webb, Tyler Palko, and, gulp, Tim fucking Tebow, to pad his QB rating.
Oh, and our starting linebackers have fathered 1/4 of Chicago's toddlers.
Deep down, Bears fans know that their team sucks, that for all of their Bill Swerski Superfan blustering, Mike Ditka slurping, and "Defense Wins Championships" panegyrics, the best Bears football teams played in the pre-Super Bowl era, which no one besides sports writers gives a shit about. Only a Bears fan would look you straight in the face and try to tell you that the Bears have the most "overall" championships in football history and that the "dominance" of the Decatur Staley's should somehow be measured against the dynasties of the 70's Steelers or 80's 49ers.
Bears fans can't go more than five minutes without shoehorning it into any conversation-regardless of topic. In fact, I'm pretty sure that failing to reference the 1985 season in casual conversation warrants a fine in the Chicagoland area. In the minds of delusional Bears fans, 1985 represents the Fukyama-esque End of (Football) History. Everything up to 1985 was pretext. Everything after it has been vanity.
In the nearly three decades after 1985, rife with the capitalist decadence of downfield passing and offset formations, only the Bears and their fans toil away in deference to George Halas' dialectic of over-hyped defense and plodding, nihilistic offense. Like the Marxist, who holds out the eschatological hope that the Crisis of Capitalism will one day result in a Proletarian revolution, the Bears fan similarly believes that his own team will one day win out against the trite cynicism of competent offensive scheming.
Soldier Field is a shithole. The field turf looks like the aftermath of a hurricane. The Raiders have better turf and half of it is fucking sand.
Despite having an OL that has given up the most sacks in the NFL over the last two seasons (105) we selected zero OL in the draft. ZERO! And don't think that's because we picked up a stud OL via free agency because that didn't happen either. And get this: Mike Tice, the OL coach responsible for the worst OL in football the past two years, just got PROMOTED to Offensive Coordinator. You can't make this shit up.
It is physically impossible to have a good statistical season at WR in Chicago. Would you care to guess who the top WR in Bears history is from a fantasy standpoint? RICKY FUCKING PROEHL, who only played 15 games for the team. Marshall's pet goldfish will die in Week 4, his PTSD will flare up, and he'll get put on the restricted list after punching Staley on the sidelines.
The Bears patented overrated white players. Ditka coined the term "Grabowski." Tom Waddle has a broadcasting career in the Chicago sports media because he was too slow to avoid taking concussion-inducing hits on seven-yard slants over the middle, which was also as far as his starting quarterbacks could throw without generating an interception. South-siders would gladly let Brian Urlacher impregnate their common-law wives (but not that darkie Lance Briggs). When excessive drinking and syphilis undoubtedly take their toll on Rob Gronkowski's career, he could play his last season in Chicago before successfully running for mayor as long as he caught a TD against the Packers during a season finale where Green Bay was resting their starters.
Despite the clamoring over the first competent receiving core in recent memory, and despite hope recently being sprung eternal over new GM Phil Emery's penchant for NOT drafting unathletic failed abortions in the first round, everyone in Chicago secretly knows this "promising" season is riding on the broken, battered knee of war-torn Brian Urlacher. Also, note to Jay Cutler: do not let Devin Hester anywhere near that newborn. It'll slip out of his hands faster than it takes Chicagoland to realize our heightened expectations were the product a sausage-induced delirium.
For some reason, people think Brandon Marshall will thrive in the "professional atmosphere" in Chicago, which is a joke. Under Lovie's watch, Tank Johnson amassed an arsenal that many small countries would envy and Sam Hurd attempted to become Tony Montana. When Marshall is inevitably killed by his wife or suspended for stabbing a Chicago cab driver for saying "State Street" the wrong way, the Bears will be left with Hester (can't catch), Dane Sanzenbacher ("gritty" slow white guy who can't catch), Johnny Knox (BackAIDS), and Alshon Jeffery (fat rookie). Hooray!
1) The fans are RAYCESS! Anyone who has lived in Chicago knows the city (parts of the South Side in particular) might as well be 1960s Birmingham, Alabama. I've heard plenty of racial epithets dropped in the stands, but one exchange in particular postgame stands out: My girlfriend and I are walking back to the car after a game (that they won, mind you) and some larger white gentlemen wearing Devin Hester jersey is complaining about some boneheaded play Devin Hester made (as he is wont to do) and posits the following: "I'll wear that n*****r's jersey, but he's dumb as hell".
2) Holy hell, whoever decided to move forward with the current remodeling of Soldier Field should be sodomized with Jay Cutler's Ray-Bans and flip flops. There's a shitload of wasted space, there's like 2 bathrooms in the entire grandstand and it takes 45 minutes to get into the god damn stadium because they force the majority of the 62,000 fans through one entrance. It's a beautiful lakefront plot of land that some developers poured a big bucket of shiny futuristic diarrhea onto.
3) There's a large majority of Bears that feel have to live out the lives of that Superfans sketch from SNL 20 years ago. We get it. You're a fat dude from Calumet City that eats Italian sausage and drinks beer and likes the Bears. It was OK when Chris Farley did it (who is from Wisconsin and a Packers fan, btw). It's not OK when that's your actual life. Please turn off that horrible, horrible, fake Chicago accent and start acting like a grown up.
Their offensive line couldn't stop a determined troop of girls scouts.
1. This is a fan base that wanted to run the first decent QB we have had since WW2 out of town because he couldn't come back into the NFC Championship Game after he shredded his MCL. I guess Jay Cutler permanently injuring his knee while being completely ineffective would have been worth it in order for Cutler to prove he is "Chicago tough". They then clamored for Caleb Hanie to get a shot at the starting QB job (I'll give you a minute to let that sink in). Then turned around and complained about how bad Hanie was last year and wondered why anyone would put him on an NFL roster.
2. This offseason everyone I talked to wanted to give Matt Forte a Chris Johnson-like contract even though Forte had very little leverage, crumbles in goalline situations, and spent the last four weeks of the season with a major knee injury. Despite rampant unemployment and a massive budget deficit in Illinois, apparently Matt Forte only being offered 14 mil guaranteed was the most depressing fiscal issue this summer in the Land of Lincoln. Hopefully now that Forte got $18 million guaranteed he can quit delivering pizzas during the summer.
3. Last year our offensive line sucked. It still sucks.
4. Even though Lovie Smith has one of the best winning percentages among active head coaches, apparently he doesn't yell enough. So even when the team has a winning record, he should be fired and replaced with Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells, or a homless schizophrenic....anyone who yells A LOT!
5. Bear fans will wax poetically about vague concepts that don't exist, like "Bear Weather".
OOOOHHH, wait till Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady come to Chicago and have to play outside, in the cold, near a large body of water!!!!!!
FUCK this team. The most obnoxious thing about the Bears is the myth of "Bear Weather." We as fans are led to believe that our players relish playing in 60 mph winds, driving snowstorms, or just plain frigid days. However, since we are in the free agency era, these players don't give a shit about Bear Weather... Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman, Julius Peppers... all of these players are from the South. How in the fuck would they rationalize to themselves that this shitty weather gives them a team advantage in some bullshit intangible way that affects only them? Bear Weather is stupid as fuck, and the fans who believe in it also probably thought it was a good idea to pick up any Bear player for fantasy football. Have you ever done that? It sucks. Find me a Bears player that puts up consistent fantasy points each week, and I'll show you a picture of Erik fucking Kramer.
Soldier Field sucks. On the outside, it looks like a toilet bowl with bad CGI. Heaven forbid the Bears catch up with the 21st century and build a modern, domed stadium. And they were going to! But we can't build a dome, because HERP DERP DERP SNOW IS BEAR WEATHER HERP DERP! Jesus, just do what Indy did. I'm sure they're REAL pissed they get to host Super Bowls and Final Fours every 5 years from now until eternity.
On the inside, Soldier Field looks like your neighborhood retention pond.
1. The Fans... are basically what you see when you're subjected to sitting through another Cubs loss at Wrigley. Suburban, rich, clueless and delusional. Bears games are their annually prescribed visit to the city where they can talk about how they are "from Chicago" while they're busy getting lost walking from Union Station to Soldier Field.
2. The Ownership... is it a symptom of the fans or are the fans a symptom of the ownership? Wrong, they're both plagues. They never have to really worry about making the team good again because they can sell the 'history' and 'tradition' of the team to its massive legion of super wealthy fans who populate the decades long season ticket waiting list. The Bears are an institution, and Chicago is so obsessed with preserving a unique identity we'll stick with by our institutions no matter how much they try and rip us off. Now a buy personal seat license, you fucking pawn! Sound like any other Chicago team we know?
3. The Lovie Smith... just the most recent and surprisingly long tenured company yes-man they have hired to lead the team in the most inoffensive way possible. The Bears actually managed to luck into a pretty good roster the past few years and have gladly given it to Lovie for demolition. The best part will be when he's fired at the end of this year and find ourselves on the hunt for the next Dick Jauron, Dave Wannstedt, Lovie Smith whatever-the-fuck excuse for a football coach. Like we ever stand a real chance at hiring someone competent.
The Bears are essentially Chicago's football version of the Cubs. Hope springs eternal every year via Tribune and Sun Times fluff pieces that by virtue of Chicago's print-media presence with the Tribune Co. work their way to the national circuit where the rest of the country gets conned into thinking that this could be the Bears year.
It's like the clock stopped on January 26, 1986 and no one has moved on.
#1- Lovie Smith. He has a replay challenge win rate of .0005%, he actually said last year that he didn't challenge an obvious bad call because he had just used a challenge unsuccessfully on a play that he never should've challenged because it was obviously a correct call, but he did the old "that was a big play against us so I want it to come back" and threw a red flag with no hope of winning it.
#2- Lovie Smith. He turned the Bears most dangerous offensive weapon into a horrible receiver and Hester has never recovered since. He was the most dominant player on the field for his few couple years, then the Bears had the brilliant idea that he should be more involved. Well after watching him struggle to line up properly, never run the correct route and generally not be open, the Bears decided last year he needs to go back to focusing on returns. Whoa, what do you know, he returned a few kicks for TDs. Way to waste the best weapon in special team history for a couple years.
#3- Lovie Smith. He fired Ron Rivera because too many people liked him and he wanted to blitz more, hired his buddy to run exactly what Lovie told him too, then it failed and Lovie fired him, replaced him with himself, the defense sucked again, Lovie fired himself from D coordinator and hired a new D coordinator to run what he wanted. He's teflon. Lovie is the ultimate square peg into a round hole, he never uses a guy's talent, he fits a guys talent into his system, no matter what. Despite the entire league catching onto the holes in the cover 2, Lovie insists on running it, especially in crunch time. In the final 2 minutes of a game, any team at any time can find wide open receivers 15-20 yards downfield on the sideline wide open in the holes there.
#4- Lovie Smith. He brings in Mike Martz because no one else wants a job for a lame duck coach. The greatest show on turf is coming to Chicago, wonderful. Except the Bears play on the shittiest turf in pro football and if too many people walk out for the coin toss the middle of the field in torn up and looks like the Gotham Rogues field after the explosion. Oh and Bear fans hate passing because they only like smash mouth run football, passing is too new school for Chicago. So they fire Martz because he's a moron, and hire Mike Tice, an even bigger moron who's never called a play. Jay Cutler was instantly the best QB in team history before suiting up for a game, and they are bungling the only franchise QB they've ever had.
#6- Lovie Smith is NFC Marvin Lewis. And he's an arrogant asshat in press conferences. When asked about having losing records in 4 of the last 5 seasons, he said "well, I look at it as we have had 1 winning season in our last two." Hmm, wonderful, nothing like being able to sweep failures under the rug. Gee, mom and dad, I didn't have 5 out of 6 Ds, I had 1 B in phys ed.
#7- The defense is old and overrated. The offensive line is beyond horrible, they keep trying to tell us Jemarcus Webb has all the talent to be a LT, unfortunately he has never played like it. Instead of committing to Matt Forte and paying him money, or cutting him loose and getting a new RB, they did both. They got Michael Bush and sort of paid Forte. What? Oh and Brandon Marshall seems like a real safe bet to stay out of trouble, the Bears didn't even know he was arrested the day before they traded for him. Nobody wondered why Miami wanted to settle on 2 pennies for a dollar and nobody picked up a newspaper. Good solid front office work all around as always.
#8- Chicago fans are just as dumb, annoying and mouthbreathing as anyone. And the Chicago accent makes you sound every bit as dumb as anyone from Boston or New Jersey.
Because Soldier Field is the smallest stadium in the NFL, it is impossible for the casual fan to get a ticket unless he wants to go on stubhub and drop $200 per ticket for some shitty upper deck seat where you will have to sit with the shirtless fat guys who ate a few too many Italian Beefs during their lifetimes.
1. With the opportunity to build a brand-spanking new stadium, largely funded by the public, the Bears built...the smallest stadium in the NFL. The second largest media market in the NFL, with the chance to host Final Fours, Super Bowls, and the like, and we get the smallest stadium in the NFL with the worst grass this side of the Sahara. This summer I have been to Wrigley Field, US Cellular Field, and now Soldier Field for the Bears first pre-season game. How is it possible that the baseball fields are pristine, having been stomped on all summer, and the Soldier Field turf is coming up in chunks already? And why do we still have a grass field, despite its crappiness? So we can have international soccer friendlies! Chicago-the only NFL city in which soccer concerns outweigh logical football decisions.
2. The forward pass is important. Some parts of the Bears fan base would argue that the forward pass is just a fad that will eventually phase out. THEN WE CAN RUN AND HIT PEOPLE LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS!!! BRONKO NAGURSKI!!! The signing of Brandon Marshall is not big news because the Bears added a great wide receiver, it's big news because for the first time since ever, the Bears HAVE a #1 wide receiver.
3. Our team president is an accountant. The accountant hires all the football personnel. The accountant reports to the daughter of the Bears first-ever coach, who founded the freakin NFL. This may explain why the forward pass has not been emphasized for so long.
4. No one in Chicago—and I repeat no one—says "Da Bears." It was a great SNL skit...really funny stuff. Yet we pretend it is reality.
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