Whenever the NFL schedule is released, we Bears fans cringe whenever there’s a national game listed. Not because the Bears’ record over history on Sunday or Monday night is pretty porous, though that’s part of it. And it’s not the slagging we’ll be in for by national analysts. We’re numb to that by now. We’ve been getting slandered by NFL followers for decades. There comes a point where you can’t be hurt anymore. The nerves are all dead.
No, sometimes you just don’t want to share your pain. We’re stuck with this. But we have no urge to spread this detritus onto anyone else. It’s not that we want you to have a great Sunday or Monday night. We generally don’t care. We just don’t want it to be totally in the muck. You didn’t ask for this, after all. We did.
With each Bears performance on a national stage, our friends from other places have questions for us. And these questions have no answers. They’ve been around too long to merely have simple solutions. They clearly are beyond anyone here. And if it’s not questions flung our way, it’s only more arrows, and we’ve got plenty of those to aim at ourselves, thank you.
The Bears faced a woeful defense against Minnesota. One that had given up at least 20 points in every game going into Monday night. One that found a way to surrender 40 against the Falcons. And yet last night the Bears gained less than 150 yards, managed only two first downs in the second half, and two field goals the entire game (the one TD was on special teams). Every time the Vikings blitzed the Bears’ only tactic was to stand around afterward and ask if that was legal.
It’s actually quite stunning how the Bears offense gets worse every week. Because after each game we’re sure this is bottom, and yet they find another trapdoor to fall through. Perhaps in three weeks’ time, Mitch Trubisky will just be turning around and firing the ball through his own goalposts. If only he was that accurate, that is. And he’s going to have to play after Nick Foles needed to be carted off the field on the game’s last drive after he was driven into the ground by Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo.
And we have no wish to share this with you. We want to be left alone with our own curse and misery. We’re beyond embarrassment at this point. Embarrassment is not possible when you’ve gone totally comatose. It’s just solitude we seek.
So please ESPN, and NBC, leave us be. We know you think the Bears equal ratings. Are ratings worth this? This country is a miserable place to live right now as it is. Do you really wish to add to the difficulty and rancor? No ad rates can be worth this. Chris Collinsworth or Brian Griese are going to throw themselves out of the booth in the second quarter if you don’t stop.
Let us up, we’ve had enough.
On a more serious note, there is something off about the whole scene when Lisa Salters in the first quarter chimes in with a report of how Illinois’ and Chicago’s COVID numbers have exploded in recent weeks, and only relating that to what it means for the Bears. Salters is only doing her job, assuredly what ESPN has asked of her, but when talking about the coronavirus and what it’s doing to a particular community, or all of them, how the Bears are shuffling the offensive line because of it is at the bottom of an ocean of priorities. It is not just an injury crisis. It is not a matter of “next man up.” It is not a test of a team’s depth.
People are dying. Millions of lives are irrevocably altered. Perhaps it is beyond Salters and ESPN. Perhaps they only want to carve out this little niche. Perhaps going beyond that would make it clear just how ridiculous that football is being played at all truly is. But to reduce it merely into football terms is insulting.
Speaking of harshness of the business, the Bucks are about to acquire Jrue Holliday from New Orleans, reportedly for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and draft picks. While it’s almost certainly an upgrade for the Bucks, there is something off about Hill being the spokesman for the team when they refused to take the court after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which sparked the first general strike in sports we’d ever seen. Hill was also instrumental behind the scenes, as well as being the one who got in front of the microphones when it was time to explain.
And just a couple months later, he’s but an asset to be moved for another one. That’s the business, and he can hold his head high about what he and his teammates accomplished. But that’s whiplash speed of going from the center of a team in a historic moment to simply currency for another player to get results on the floor.
A stark reminder of what really matters to teams in the end.