Welcome to the Unofficial Beginning
2022 Chicago Bears Season!
Rule #1. Injuries Matter Most.
The Bears can’t evaluate the myriad of young players on this roster if they’re not on the field. And the number of young players they must evaluate is overwhelming. Gordon. Brisker. Gipson. Jones Jr. Borom. Jenkins. All pivotal. All likely starters. Yes, the Bears will have the opportunity to complete reshape their roster next off-season. But they have to exit the 2022 campaign knowing which of these guys can be significant contributors. That means they have to stay healthy.
Rule #2. Teams Don’t Show Fans, or Media, Anything.
It is always the most puzzling thing about the summer. NFL teams, the most secretive organizations in professional sport, hold practices in front of fans and media. And the fans and media think what they’re seeing is relevant. Why? Why would a team run a single play of note in front of a crowd that could easily be filled with spies from rival organizations (and usually is)? With every single fan in attendance now possessing the equipment to record every moment of practice, why would a team risk putting something they are going to rely upon during the season on tape?
Training camp practices are fun for fans. And the videos produced from these practices go a long way towards building excitement for the coming season. But if you’re trying to discern who is going to be good and who is not going to be good from a series of vanilla concepts run at 3/4 speed, you’re making a classic camp misstep.
Rules #3. Avoid The Joe Anderson Boner.
The following is excerpted from a piece I wrote in July 2014:
“What is The Joe Anderson Boner?” you ask. Well, I shall tell you now. The Joe Anderson Boner is the yearly occurrence in the pants of Bears fans caused by the over-hyping of meaningless performances in the summer leading up to the NFL season. It might be the result of a few Larry Mayer Tweets that resemble something like, “The player who really jumped off the field in Bourbonnais today was Joe Anderson” or a 7 catch, 110 yard receiving performance in the second half of a preseason contest wherein Joe Anderson is being covered by someone of the skill equivalent to Loni Anderson.
This is not idiosyncratic to Bears fans, mind you. Every team has their summer boners. My brother Jon, a diehard New York Jets fan, once made a tee shirt that said “Kellen is the Answer” due to the boner-inducing camp performances of Kellen Clemens.
And boners are the perfect analogy for what are they but the physical manifestation of a man’s desire for sexual pleasure. NFL fans wait longer than any other sport fan in the world from the end of Season A to the beginning of Season B. And as opposed to baseball, basketball and hockey they only have (for the most part) 16-18 one-off experiences. For eight months they are jonesing for another snap, kickoff return, touchdown catch. Look at the ratings on NFL Network when free agency opens, the hoopla surrounding the now interminably long draft process and the ridiculous amount of discussion about which team will appear on Hard Knocks – a boiler plate of monotony, predictability and just general crappiness. (How many times do we need to meet the undersized white wide receiver with literally zero chance of making the roster?)
NFL fans don’t care what the football is. They just want the football. So, every event witnessed in their team’s colors is important and every word from their organization’s leadership is gospel even when history and data – presented clearly to fans each summer – suggests the polar opposite.
Candidate for the JAB this year: Chris Finke, WR.