Some people are fans of the Chicago Bears. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Chicago Bears. This 2013 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the 2013 NFL previews so far right here.
Your team: Chicago Bears
Your 2012 record: 10-6. Lovie Smith went 7-9 three years ago. The Bears could have fired him THEN. But no no no, they had to wait until firing him made the least amount of sense.
Your coach: CFL refugee Marc Trestman. I was in Chicago this spring and talking with a friend of mine who was a Bears fan.
HIM: Have you seen Marc Trestman? Like, actually looked at him?
HIM: He's fucking creepy, man. Just creepy as hell.
So I went and looked for video of Marc Trestman looking creepy, and here it is, via Accrofoot.com!
The glasses do him no favors.
Trestman is the first CFL head coach to be hired as an NFL head coach in over 30 years. The last one was Frank Kush, who went 0-8-1 in his first season with the Colts. Trestman hasn't been in the NFL for seven years. His last stint was as an assistant on a Tampa team that went 4-12. You never want to make a coaching hire that Al Davis plausibly could have made.
All this was done in the name of "bolstering the offense" (offenses in the NFL are often bolstered). Hiring an offensive "guru" is always a bad idea, particularly when he's an untested Canadian import whose last five seasons were spent coaching in a tinker-toy football league. Trestman has floated the idea of running a read option with Jay Cutler. Have you SEEN Jay Cutler run? Old men blocking the grocery store aisle move with more urgency.
Your quarterback: Guess who's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season? The Bears now face the dilemma of either grossly overpaying for a guy who, on an annual basis, turns the ball over about as often as he throws for a touchdown, or letting Jay Cutler walk and starting all over again. If you're familiar with this team's history of quarterbacking, you know what a terrifying prospect that is. Cutler isn't getting any better. Also, you could drop a baby in front of him and he wouldn't give a shit. But it's either that or the prospect of Moses Moreno II; a loveless marriage is just about the best option for Chicago at this point. Once Cutler is gone, this franchise will plummet down into a vodka-addled hole from which it will take decades to recover.
Your one fantasy player everyone will hate: Alshon Jeffery. He's the guy getting talked up in camp. The guy who gets talked up in camp always ends up sucking. Always. I've wasted a lot of time in fantasy football waiting for supposedly talented receivers to break through (Josh Reed is a prime example), and I know damn well that if I draft Jeffery, he'll break an ankle in Week 2 and subsequently gain a hundred pounds.
Why your team sucks: Now that the Blackhawks have won their second Stanley Cup in four years, here is your revised list of a typical white Chicagoan's cheering priorities:
2. Bill Murray, if attending a Cubs game
3. "The Kubs," Chicagoland's favorite troupe of Cubs impersonators!
4. 1985 Bears
5. Steve Bartman's future assassin
6. Derrick Rose (NOTE: only if willing to play in pain)
7. Teachers' union
9. Proving they were Blackhawks fans prior to 2010
10. Current, actual Bears
9,078. White Sox
The dirty secret of Chicago fans is that it takes very little for them to not give a shit about the Bears. The Bears are a consistently mediocre team run by Miss Havisham, and they play in a windblown mausoleum by the toxic-coal-ash dump known as Lake Michigan. If Chicagoans can find any excuse to ignore the Bears—Derrick Rose, a mayoral election, some leftover sausage in the fridge—they'll take it.
And now Brian Urlacher is gone. URRRRRRLAYYYYYKURRRRRR. That means that Bears fans have lost their one, limp emotional connection to the franchise. Urlacher was everything your average Bears fan thinks he is but isn't: tough, understated, sexually active. You won't find a better white-fanboy object of affection this side of Wes Welker. A fan in an Urlacher jersey is the kind of guy who will drunkenly walk into you, spill your beer, and then challenge you to a fight.
It's keeping in line with a city that fancies itself more sophisticated than its Midwest counterparts, which is like bragging that you were employee of the month at Long John Silver's. I've lived in Chicago. The typical resident is a 5,000-pound Pole who wears stirrup pants to Marshall Field's. All the fancy architecture in the world can't cover up the fact you're a city of fat humps.
Why your team doesn't suck: Maybe hiring Trestman was just crazy enough to work! Seems like the only selling point here.
The 12 worst Bears ever:
1. Curtis Enis. But a useful fellow when it comes to making dirty limericks.
2. Dave Wannstedt. I'd still like to know what's going on with the weird side of his mustache.
3. Cade McNown. No quarterback in history gave off stronger "That guy looks like a real asshole" vibes than Cade McNown.
4. Shane Matthews
5. Andrew Sullivan
6. Ced Benson
7. David Terrell
8. Rashaan Salaam
9. Bryan Cox
10. Kordell Stewart
11. John Shoop
12. Rick Mirer. Remember: They traded a first-rounder to get him. He started a grand total of three games.
Emails from Bears fans:
Our 2nd year GM and 1st coach look like they met in a paddywagon after an episode of "to catch a predator" was shot. And Trestman spells his first name with a "c" instead of a "k". Fuck that.
Even if they start off well, they know they're the one team that can be 7-1 and still somehow miss the playoffs.
Every position has a failed high round draft pick project. Nathan Enderle (QB), Ced Benson (RB), Juaquin Iglesias (WR), Greg Olsen (TE), Chris Williams (OL), J'Marcus Webb (OL), Dan Bazuin (DE), Dusty Dvoracek (DT), Michael Okwo (LB), Josh Moore (CB) and the Bears are still trying to replace Mike Brown's torn Achilles with Chris Conte, Major Wright, Brandon Hardin, Craig Steltz, Kevin Payne, Al Afalava, Adam Archuleta (free agent, fuck Lovie Smith cronyism!). The only draft pick of any value over last the last few years is Matt Forte, a running back and the least value position in the NFL.
To close the gap between the talented and talentless, the Bears often overpay for free agents or give up too many draft picks in trades for replacement level production: Jay Cutler (the most punchable face in the league), Brandon Marshall, Mushin Muhammad, Chester Taylor, Marion Barber (if he doesn't step out of bounds Tebowmania never happens!), Brandon Manumaleuna, Gaines Adams (only the Bears trade for a guy that dies the following year) and Pisa Tinoisamoa.
I can not fucking wait until we don't re-sign Hester and then everyone within the city limits goes ballistic because he's "our best player since Walter Payton" (yes, I have heard that more than once, I promise you) and "still the most explosive player in the league" even though he is only useful for returning kicks and he hasn't even done THAT job well in 3 years. All while the goddamn murder rate goes up another 3% in the next year. And fuck Rex Grossman.
Even when this team is good, they're painful to watch. I don't understand how it works, but the Bears could go 16-0 and it'd feel like a 8-8 season, at best. Oh, and The Superfans are the worst thing to happen to this city culturally in its history.
I understand why Jay Cutler is an asshole. I'd be the same way if I had to deal with these types of fans. And as a bonus, go to a Bears fan between the age of 13-28, ask them what GSH stands for. 10% will get it right.
For the most part, Chicago is a decent place. But the thing that truly hold us back? We collectively have this small-minded, provincial mindset that we can't seem to comprehend anything further than a couple hour's drive away.
Call out out city's crime? "Gary is way worse!"
Shitty government? "Well, you're welcome to move to Detroit!"
The list of cities the average spherical shaped man from Palo Heights will cite as "not as good as Chicago" continues: Milwaukee. St. Louis. Des Moines.
And here's the joke: Chicago's real rivals are cities like Seoul or Frankfurt. We have to compete with those cities for corporate headquarters or cultural attractions, and time after time we come up lacking. Our shitty airport(s). Our crumbling education system. Our massive gun violence epidemic.
So how does this pertain to your preview of the Chicago Bears? Because for the first time we deigned to roll the dice on an offensive minded coach and bet everything on Jay Cutler and the passing game. And when it fails (and it will), our fan base will once again demonstrate our complete lack of awareness of trends and changes going on out elsewhere in the world outside the midwest. We'll piss and moan that we didn't build around the run for January. Or we just didn't play traditional, "smashmouth" football like Halas/Ditka/God intended.
We'll limp into the playoffs, get housed by some team with a mobile quarterback and a modern system, let Trestman hang around for a year or two, then go right back to a retread defensive coordinator who promises to go back to classic "Bears football" in order to "beat the Packers" and please our myopic half-manatee fans.
Jerry Angelo was the fucking worst and set this franchise back FOR-EV-ER. During his tenure (over an 11 year span) not one of his first round draft picks ever made it to a pro bowl. The ineptitude of talent evaluation is fucking mind numbing.
Soldier Field is the worst. Every year players have to avoid career ending ACL blowouts by leapfrogging huge chunks of sod in the middle of the field. And instead of building a new stadium with a retractable roof (and losing millions of dollars in revenue to host future Super Bowls/Big 10 championship events, whatever) the Bearsopted instead to build an outdoor stadium that looks like it was designed for a high school art fair project and has one of the lowest seating capacities in the NFL because THAT'S BEARS FOOTBALL!! COLD WEATHER!! WE GET OFF THE BUS RUNNING!! DEERRRRPPPPP. Fuck this clown college organization.
Everyone around the Bears seems to think it's a special, storied franchise. But the only legacy they have is being consistently awful, with one—ONE—good team that should have won more championships but promptly self-destructed after dominating the league in '85.
No doubt Cutler will have his occasional flashes of amazing snugly fit into a massive pile of shit season. Jay Cutler is your buddy that you invite to a best-ball golf outing because he hits 325 off the tee. Except he shows up late and hungover and does nothing but shank into the woods until he finally pulls it together on the 12th hole and is all "see guys, just needed a little hair of the dog." Fuck Jay Cutler.
We have the most confused fanbase in football. Ask them how they feel about Cutler, or Urlacher's retirement, or *anything* related to the Bears, and you'll get three completely opposite answers in the span of two sentences. Cutler's no good at QB, but Trestman has already turned him into a top-level QB, and the first preseason game shows Trestman's system won't work in Chicago. Huh?
Seriously, this city is so confused, it's a miracle people don't show up to Bears games wearing Cubs jerseys.
Here's a fun drinking game: try to name all the quarterbacks that started for the Bears during the time Brett Favre was the starting quarterback of the Packers. Take a shot for each one you miss. No one ever names them all (there's at least 21). Most give up halfway, finish a bottle of Malört as punishment, drunkenly google the full list, then reminisce. I always remember Moses Moreno, never remember Dave Krieg. How about when Kordell Stewart was under center? That was fun. Cade McNown? Bad at football, good at getting himself kicked out of the Playboy Mansion. Bonus points for throwing out Jim Harbaugh, though. I can't tell you how many people in Chicago take credit for the Niners' recent success just because Jimmy was once a member of our esteemed quarterback carousel. DOSE NINERS, DEY PLAY BEARS FOOTBALL, they say, which is hilarious because Bears football is letting Rex Grossman take snaps under center only to fumble/throw the ball into a defensive lineman's nutsack because that's how tall Rex Grossman is and our offensive line is coached to step out of the way and let the quarterback get destroyed.
In 2007, with the Bears losing by seven against the Vikings and needing a win to keep any shot at the playoffs alive and barely any time left with one timeout, we forced fourth down after stopping a run and Lovie Smith can call that last time out so that we have a shot at blocking a punt or having Devin Hester, who was still good at the time, run it back and save our reason. EXCEPT HE DOESN'T AND JUST TROTS OUT ONTO THE FIELD, SURRENDERING A GAME TO A DIVISIONAL RIVAL. I remember throwing a glass coke bottle at my TV then - and I was twelve at the time.
The 85 bears: Fuck these guys. seriously. it's been almost 30 years. it's time to move on. you know how people say "if you win a championship in x town you'll never pay for a meal again?" Well for these guys it actually came true, and it's as sad as you'd imagine. Boy does Dan Hampton's CTE addled brain provide great analysis and football thoughts! You know why they didn't win another Super Bowl? Cause they were egomaniacal assholes who were too full of themselves to get it together when it mattered, and Ditka was chief among them. Also, if you played for the Bears for even a quarter you have a job for life in this town as a broadcaster, and if you were part of the 85 team you can throw a baby of the Sears Tower and nobody would say shit.
This is a franchise in the second biggest market in the NFL and is run like a mom and pop hardware store, where shitty coaches don't get fired if ol' gramma McCaskey takes a liking to them. And they'll never sell. The team will just keep getting passed down through this increasingly diluted gene pool.
The great hope in Chicago this year is the new head coach, who made his mark by being successful in the Canadian Football League. I suspect the Bears will lead the league in 12-men-on-the-field penalties, illegal procedure penalties (What? The wideouts can't get a running start down here?) And third-down punts. (four downs?!?!?! Witchcraft!)
For 9 months out of the year, grown men take an already horrid Chicago accent and add "DA" in front of everything. "DA BEARS" turns into a way to greet people, end conversation, and signal the end of a fap session. Tailgates around Soldier Field turn into an open mic session of fat, drunk, likely ugly men trying to re enact the SNL Super Fans scenes but it comes out slurred, misquoted, and slightly depressing.
And fuck Dick Jauron.
Our new head coach looks like some creep from a Tim Burton movie.
I sent Jay & Kristin a napkin ring for their wedding and I got a card saying "thanks". It wasn't Hallmark.
I know MULTIPLE (more than one) lifelong Bears season ticket holders who actually sold their season tickets because Urlacher retired, or mostly because the Bears didn't get on their knees to give him the multi-year deal that his decaying corpse demanded.
This year the Bears have convinced themselves "J'Marcus Webb will be better now that he's playing on the right side!" Best of fucking luck, Jay. Hope your health insurance covers a Rascal scooter.
Here's life as Jay Cutler explained in terms of Illinois's finest 24-hour burger joints:
SINGLE SHITBURGER: The Bears traded away Greg Olson - their only successful first-round pick since their trip to the Super Bowl - because the voices in Mike Martz's head told him that every time a tight end catches a pass, an angel loses its wings.
DOUBLE SHITBURGER: Before Brandon Marshall's arrival last year, the Bears' receiving corps was headlined by Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox and Devin "HEY GUYS DID YOU KNOW THAT CATCHING A PASS AND FIELDING A KICK ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS" Hester. Cutler somehow managed to make Bennett and Knox look like NFL-grade receivers despite the fact that they would have been #5 options on real offenses.
TRIPLE SHITBURGER WITH FRIES - Cutler consistently leads the league in sacks taken, thanks to an O-line anchored by J'Marcus Webb, scouts and coaches that turned two first-round tackles into diddley and squat, and a rotating cast of turnstiles at guard. The two best O-linemen during Cutler's tenure in Chicago have been the carcass of Orlando Pace and the geriatric Roberto Garza, both of whom were drafted before the NSA acquired the right and the capability to read this email, and whose Pro Bowl years were well behind them.
And I haven't even mentioned the coaching! Starting with Lovie Smith, who's about as interested in his offense's performance as Buddy Ryan was, continually vowing to "get off the bus running." His offensive co-ordinators were Mike Martz, who attempted to run the Greatest Show on Turf with none of the talent he had in St. Louis. The O-line couldn't protect Cutler long enough to finish his seven-step drops, which didn't stop Martz from calling them by the dozen. After Martz left, Mike Tice was promoted from offensive line coach to OC because why the hell not.
But if Cutler had shown CHICAGO TOUGHNESS and continued playing (poorly) on a shredded MCL, everything would be fine.
I'm not surprised that Cutler has taken to yelling at everyone else associated with this shitshow of an offense. I'm just surprised that he hasn't taken to drink, or attempted to axe-murder Chris Williams on the sidelines.
Bears fans actually believe the team plays better when it's cold. Doesn't that sound like the fucking stupidest thing you've ever heard in your life? Of course it does, because you're not a Bears fan and therefore don't believe that there will never be a linebacker better than Dick Butkus.
We have one discernible pass play: Jay Cutler evading three defensive lineman, deftly stepping over his own fallen piece of shit guards, and then having to unleash a 100-mph bullet into a tight window to a quadruple-covered Brandon Marshall, all as he gets speared by two blitzing linebackers. He will go 15 of 26 for 210 yards doing this, and then all week I have to hear that he is an overrated pussy. Fuck you all.
I try to pretend we aren't all a little racist for being glad to see Lovie fired, but then I remember that Urlacher has been the most popular and over-rated athlete in Chicago for the past ten years.
Besides the Cowboys, I can't think of a team that is more glorified despite not having any serious success in the last two decades.
You know how mediocre Jay Cutler has been for the last 4 years? Well, if he throws for 2,395 yards this year he will become the Bears all time leader in passing yards. This is as good as its been from that position for 94 years. Nauseating.
The first game I ever attended at Soldier Field was a game that Chad Hutchinson started.
The Bears suck because of all of the fans who insist on sucking on Mike Ditka's tit. This stupid ignorant mustache wearing douche who traded all of his draft picks for Ricky Williams has become the face of this franchise. The only thing worse than that is watching Jim Belushi hoist the Stanley Cup on the ice as he rides the coattails of his actually funny brother. Ditka had 4 hall of fame players on the same team while he coached the Bears and he only wins 1 super bowl. He had one of the best linebackers and running backs ever and he wins only one fucking super bowl. Throw in there that everyone on that team admits that that 85 team was 2 teams, Ditka had offense and Buddy Ryan had defense, yet everyone continues to throw praise on Ditka. Want to know what else? In December, people who are not only going to have to brave the cold and watch Tony Romo attempt to be a quarterback but they also have to sit through a jersey retirement for guess who....Mike Ditka.
The Bears have, by far, the creepiest coach AND owner in the NFL. They both look like the Saw doll.
In the middle of the 3rd quarter of last year's heartbreaking loss to the Seahawks, the 50-something dude behind me was so drunk he fell on me, dumping both of us onto the concrete in the row in front of me. Trapped under the dead weight of a middle-aged fat man, my back of my head bleeding against the concrete, it took my cousin (not a small man) and two others to lift the drunk off me. I finally got up, turned around to confront the fucker, and the first thing I saw was... his son, who looked about 14 or 15, and had a look that combined terror and shame. I'll never forget it. Any anger I had in me left almost immediately as I considered this kid, brought to a game by his dad, who proceeds to get so shitfaced he literally cannot stand up.
Trestman self published a memoir titled "Perseverance". Making it better, the book is completely and utterly absurd. Trestman begins every chapter with a few quotes from fellow coaches and players about how great he is. Then fills the middle with self-help advice and recaps of games that happened 10 years ago. The entire book is a vanity project, a 200-page resume that was formatted by a 5 year old with arbitrary paragraph breaks.
Collectively, we're remarkably petty, with a total unwillingness to admit when the other teams in our division are good at football. I've never heard a single Bears fan ever give any credit to Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers for the way they've routinely handled our team year after year after year. Find any Bears fan and ask them "what do you think about Aaron Rodgers?" and you'll get one response: "Fuck the Packers!" This is why we don't know what a franchise QB looks like - not just because we haven't had one since Sid Luckman, but we refuse to take note and give due respect around the league when other teams have skilled players.
They fired Lovie Smith, which is totally fair. However, they replaced him with a guy that looks like a ventriloquist dummy with hair plugs.
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks: personal anecdotes, encounters with fans, etc. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: Minnesota Vikings.