I have been feeling down after the loss to the Panthers. But this picture cheered me up. I dont know when it was taken but it appears to be very recent. I discovered it through a link to Collegehumor.com and it was submitted to them by Ayo Phillips on 1/21.
Seeing Kyle Orton in all his glory is inspiring. It reminds me of work hard, party hard attitude of former Bears of the SuperBowl era like Mongo McMichael, except much dirtier and significantly less intimidating. So look for the much belated Season: Notes & Numbers Review later this week.
Since the Bears' season is now officially over, I've been trying to figure out how to keep content flowing from Da' Bears Blog. Obviously there will be lots to talk about this offseason, both regarding Da Bears and the NFL generally, but things can be expected to slow down a little without Sundays to talk about.
With that said, we've decided to set up a little forum to fill some of our offseason free time. So hop on over and start talking to some of the other Bears fans about what you want to see the offseason, who you think will win the Super Bowl or what you thought of Jimmy Johnson's hair two weeks ago. The sky's the limit.
Go now! Da' Bears Forum is waiting.
Also, if you want to contribute to Da Bears Blog during the offseason, feel free to email us at dabears [AT] dabearsblog.com.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing about as good as I've ever seen a team play going into a Super Bowl.
The Seattle Seahawks are a meaningless Week 17 loss away from not having lost in three and a half months.
You'd think it's going to be terrific game. It's not. Steelers by two touchdowns.
Thanks Jake Delhomme for saving your shit performance for the week after you play the Bears.
Hey Lovie - double-teaming Steve Smith works better than using Chris Thompson, doesn't it?
I'll be watching the Super Bowl at Josie Woods Pub and wondering what might have happened had Lovie and "Captain" Ron Rivera not decided that the Bears cornerbacks were invincible.
Here's my wrap-up of the season that has come and gone...
For three consecutive years I have picked the Colts to go to the Super Bowl and they won't even be on my shortlist next season. No more.
I'll say it again: there has never been a dropoff for a professional sports organization as drastic as the 2005 Indianapolis Colts from Week 12 to the Divisional Round. In that span of time they went from undefeated and unbeatable to beaten, detroyed by tragedy and embarassed in the playoffs. It's hard to win a championship with Peyton Manning at quarterback. It's hard to win a championship with Tony Dungy at coach. It's going to be impossible to do it with both.
I was as wrong as wrong could be when I called for Mike Shanahan to be fired after a Week One loss to the Miami Dolphins for two reasons: (1) Shanahan should probably have won coach of the year for getting Jake Plummer to hide his Jakeness for so long and (2) Because the Miami Dolphins are going to make the playoffs next year.
If the Carolina Panthers are serious about winning the Super Bowl next year, I think they'll make a play for Ricky Williams.
The Dallas Cowboys are something of a contradiction. Their defense is built for the future. The offense is built for 1998.
The Washington Redskins are stockpiling good football coaches. Joe Gibbs is relinquishing all play-calling and simply becoming the head coach / CEO while Al Saunders and Gregg Williams run both sides of the ball. Danny bought a lot of players and that didn't work so now he's buying coaches. Okay, that could work.
There's not a single reason in the universe that Mike Vick should have made the Pro Bowl over Mark Brunell.
I think the window for the Philadelphia Eagles is closed. They've got no running game, no good receivers and a quarterback with accuracy issues. The rest of that division is clearly better than them now.
I think the window is nowhere near closed in New England. And right now they're tops on my list to make the Super Bowl from the AFC next season.
I really like the Houston Texans drafting Reggie Bush with the first pick.
I think Sean Payton is drafting a quarterback in the first round but if I were the Saints I'm taking A.J. Hawk. Not only do I think he's the best player in college football not named Bush, I think he's a key to the Saints being able to control Mike Vick - a must in the NFC South.
I would really like to see Eric Mangini do well with the Jets but I just don't see how they make the playoffs in the next three years.
Same goes for the San Francisco 49ers.
The Mike McCarthy hiring in Green Bay doesn't make any sense to me unless it's a ploy to make Favre come back. On that note, I have never seen a team clamor to keep a player with such diminishing returns in my life. It'd be like the Yankees hiring a manager now in order to keep Bernie Williams.
I don't think Dick Vermeil should have retired.
I think the Raiders should hire Russ Grimm to be their next head coach. He's a tough guy and he reminds me of John Madden.
Larry Johnson will easily win the rushing title if he stays healthy next year.
Priest Holmes may become the most dynamic third down back in the history of football.
Curtis Martin should retire. It don't get better - ask Eddie George.
The T.O. question will be fun to follow but I think the team that should make it priority numero uno is the San Diego Chargers. If he comes and plays, they'll become the best offense in the game.
My favorite hire of the offseason was Rod Marinelli in Detroit. It is a bit puzzling, however, when you a hire a guy who's been the best defensive line coach in the game when the strength of your team is the defensive line.
Dick Jauron is a bad hire in Buffalo. He's too passive. He's too conservative. And that defense will not get better.
Would it surprise anyone if Jacksonville passed Indy in the AFC South next year?
The Tony Dungy Award for Biggest Disappointment of 2005
5. Julius Jones
4. New York Jets
3. Kerry Collins
2. Buffalo Bills defense
1. (tie) Tony Dungy & Peyton Manning
The Neil Rackers Award for Biggest Surprise of 2005
5. Chicago Bears
4. Joe Jurevicius
3. Eli Manning made the playoffs
2. T.O. made it half the season
1. Ben Rothlisberger is a great quarterback already
Put Bob Costas in the booth with Madden, Dick Ebersol.
Use the Mike Tirico and Sterling Sharpe team instead, ESPN.
Can you imagine what Boldin and Fitzgerald's numbers would look like with Carson Palmer throwing them the football?
Are the Lions going to take another wide receiver in the first round? I hope so.
And in a final point, I'll say this: you'll know what you're getting from the Chicago Bears next season by the end of Week 3. If they start the way they started this year, it's going to be a horror show. If they come out and win three or go 2-1, they'll be in the playoffs and learn from this year's debacle.
Stay tuned to dabearsblog...there's always news to report.
Okay, so I don't feel so bad today and there's a reason for that...they are the Chicago Bears. That's right, the same old Chicago Bears. Those same Chicago Bears who've been doing this to their fans for eternity. Jay Mariotti referred to this as 2001 all over again and Jay Mariotti was absolutely right.
So here's my look at the things the things of Sunday...
1. NOT ARRIVING TO PLAY THE GAME
Every girl will tell you that it ain't worth it if you don't come.
2. CHARLES TILLMAN CAME
Man, his performance ranks up there with Al Pacino's in The Devil's Advocate as one of the most embarassing I've seen in a long time.
3. DON'T BLAME REX, PLEASE
If you were told on Sunday that'd the Bears would score 21, you'd have been sure they'd win the game.
4. ADJUSTMENTS, ANYONE?
How does this team not adjust to being destroyed by Steve Smith and I don't count using Chris Thompson one-on-one as an adjustment. Any hope of Ron Rivera being considered for a head coaching job should have been flushed right down the pipe.
5. BRAD MAYNARD PICKED A NICE GAME...
To have his worst as a Bear.
6. CHARLES TILLMAN PLAYED
He deserves two mentions. Wow, that was bad.
7. IT'S THE PLAYOFFS, CATCH THE BALL
Justin Gage, Muhsin Muhammad...jesus christ.
Oh, forget it. There's like a thousand things I could say. Let's talk about what this team needs.
1. A pass-catching tight end to open up the middle of the field.
2. Another cornerback to replace Charles Tillman.
3. Another receiver, preferably someone who catches the ball pretty good.
4. Two words: Terrell. Owens. Bring that badass in here to piss people off. Because I'd much rather be entertained than disappointed year in and year out.
A lot of people came looking for something.
I got nothing, but feel free to talk.
No numbers for the Bears v. Vikings game. The Bears didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care, so I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. Notes and Numbers returns next week with Notes and Numbers: THE SEASON dun-duh-dun. In the meantime some brief observations about SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game.
Divisional Playoff Game:
NFC home teams are 16-2 in divisional games in the last nine seasons. However, the two losses were the Bears to the Eagles in 2001 season and the Rams to the Panthers in 2003 in SmithÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last game with the Rams.
Coming off a bye they are on a 5 game losing streak stretching back to their 2001 playoff loss, and including 0-2 under Lovie.
The Bears have the least experienced playoff roster of any of the NFC teams that made the playoffs. They have 36 total appearances and 23 starts.
Nine of the last 10 Super Bowl champions won their final regular-season game.
LovieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Coach of the Year Award was the sixth won by a Chicago Bears coach, the most for any franchise. But as a playoff predictor its mixed. Halas won it in Ã¢â‚¬â„¢63 (Bears won NFL championship) and Ã¢â‚¬â„¢65 (No postseason) and Ditka won it in Ã¢â‚¬â„¢85 (Shuffle) but Jauron won it in Ã¢â‚¬â„¢01 (Divisional blowout).
Weather report as of Friday evening: high of 43 low of 35. Not quite the artic blast that helped cripple the Falcons.
RevDad chimes in with Illinois Sportswriters predictions:
sun-times: bears 14-10;
trib: bears 20-9;
novacek: panthers 21-14.
novacek says bears are rusty (he might be right) and panthers are on an
upward trend (also correct). but he spends most of his time writing about
how foster has to have a big game, and if he runs like he did the last two
weeks, panthers are solid.
but sun-times notes that the teams foster feasted on the last two weeks had
defenses that ranked 22nd and 24th, respectively.
dad says: offensive lines will be the key. if bears O-line makes room for
the running backs and protects rex, bears will score at least a little.
panthers O-line will certainly scheme different in hopes of protecting
delhomme better; god knows they better. but if bears D-line embarrasses the
panthers' tackles like last game, getting pressure from the front four, the
score will be like the last game too. watch the trenches.
i'm verrryyy nervous about this game, to a large degree for the same reasons
novacek outlines. but in soldier field, bears win, 20-13.
The Panthers arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t as good as the Giants made them look but they are a very good team who are playing well. Bears once again though have something to prove. We win one and anything is possible, but all I care about is getting the one win.
Sunday is the chance for the Chicago Bears to advance to the NFC Championship game.
Sunday is the chance for the Chicago Bears to play the kinda defense the '85 defense played in the playoffs: shutout football.
Sunday is the chance for Mike Brown to show Steve Smith that if he wants to catch the ball, there's a price to be paid.
Sunday is the chance for Thomas Jones to put the Chicago Bears on his back.
Sunday is the chance for Rex Grossman to become the quarterback of the Chicago Bears.
Sunday is the chance for Muhsin Muhammad to earn his thirteen million dollars.
Sunday is the chance for Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown to show Rucker and Peppers how it's done.
Sunday is the chance for Lovie Smith to become the third most popular coach in the history of this organization.
Sunday is the chance for Ron Rivera to earn the head coaching job at the St. Louis Rams.
Sunday is the chance Nathan Vasher to hawk balls. A couple.
Sunday is the chance for Brad Maynard to keep the field long.
Sunday is the chance for Chicago Bears fans to be in the stadium, in front of their television, at JOSIE WOODS screaming and yelling and howling at the sun with pride. The boys are here. And they have a chance to keep going.
Monday is the chance to prepare for the first NFC Championship game in 20 years.
It's Panther Week.
I was prepared to apologize to Noah for stepping on his column here but this will sort of work as a response to his question.
Here are the things happening in Bearsland that warrant concern, consideration, contempt or just a passing glance.
WHO WILL THE BEARS PLAY AT HOME IN TWO WEEKS?
This is the biggest question that will emerge over the next six days. With the Bears having fully-prepared for and beaten both Carolina and the Bucs and with there being no chance of the Redskins coming to town, that leaves only the Giants for the team to blindly scout.
ROBERTO GARZA, SIX-YEAR DEAL
As it becomes more clear that Terry Metcalf has seriously fucked up his knee, signing Garza may be another stroke of brilliance from Jerry Angelo. They need this guy playing his best and nothing helps a player play better than a little money in his pocket. With news also circulating that Angelo is ready to wrap-up John St. Clair to a multi-year - it seems the Bears have made o-line depth a primary concern.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, 2006
It seems that with Gregg Williams' contract in Washington means he's no longer in consideration around the league. News is that the Rams are targeting Ron Rivera and that would leave the 2006 Bears without their defensive coordinator. There are some good choices out there but I'll give you three quick ones: Rod Marinelli in Tampa, Dave McGinnist...and...wait for it...Assistant Head Coach of the San Francico 49ers...wait for it...
LOVIE SMITH, DEAN OF THE NORTH DIVISION
We have now have the longest tenured coach in the NFC North. On that note, there's a serious chance that Rex Grossman will be the longest tenured starting quarterback in the division at the start of next season.
HEALTH, HEALTH, HEALTH
If Mike Brown comes back, this defense becomes infinitely better.
THE NUMBER TWO DEFENSE IN FOOTBALL?
If the Bucs win Sunday and come to Chicago next week, the story of the week becomes: who has the best defense in the NFL? You know what, that's sorta fun.
THE NUMBER ONE OFFENSE IN THE PLAYOFFS?
and now the picks for the Wild-Card round of the playoffs...having finished above every analyst on CBSSportsline, USA Today and the beloved Sports Guy against the spread this season...
NEW ENGLAND -8 OVER JACKSONVILLE
I make this pick because it's the only game I think will be easily won. I would be flat-out shocked if Jacksonville won this game with a gimpy quarterback and they don't exactly have the receivers to exploit the depleted Pats secondary. I think the key for Jacksonville is getting Fred Taylor going early and using the play-action with limited mobility. That being said, this is the playoffs. And Bill Bellichick will stop whatever Jax needs to do and Tom Brady will be terrific.
WASHINGTON +2.5 OVER TAMPA BAY
I have no idea who is going to win this game. Not a clue. I pick the the Redskins for no reason.
CAROLINA +2.5 OVER NEW YORK GIANTS
I'm not sold on either of these teams and I think you have to run the ball on the road in the playoffs. Oh, the Panthers can't do that. FORGET IT!
NEW YORK GIANTS -2.5 OVER CAROLINA
F the panthers. Bring on the Giants!!!
CINCINNATI +3 OVER PITTBSURGH
I'll always take home underdogs in the playoffs.
Stay tuned for Monday, when I'll be writing an obnoxiously long column preparing Bears fans for the Divisonal Round opponent.
Sunday was a bizarre scene at our local bar as we all sat there half-watching the Vikings game, not really caring who won. It kind of felt like a victory lap. Yeah, Urlacher looked a little peeved that a bunch of no-names were making his defense look shabby. But the records don't matter. The Bears are going to the playoffs with a team we all believe in.
It will be the biggest game of burgeoning Bears fandom and I'm already getting nervous.
So I ask all you, what do the Bears need to work on most in the next 11 days? What will make you feel good going into that playoff game in Chicago on January 14/15?
I know for me it would be to see Mike Brown running out of the tunnel with the rest of the Bears. But what do you think?