Tuesday, December 30, 2014

EXTRA: Weren’t ’14 Chicago Bears merely typical of local sports scene?

It was everybody’s good laugh this week. Virginia McCaskey, the matriarch of the Chicago Bears (and daughter of team founder George Halas) is “pissed off” (or so says team management) at the Bears’ performance this season – which came to an end Sunday with a 5-11 record and no playoff performance.

Now I’m not any kind of a football fan (I’m eagerly counting down the 90-plus days to the beginning of baseball season, plus the month until the Caribbean Series). But it just doesn’t seem like this season’s awfulness was particularly awful.

PERHAPS IT’S BECAUSE I’m old enough to remember the years of the 1970s following players such as Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers – seasons in which playoff appearances were rare, that 2014 doesn’t strike me as being unusual. In fact, that decade was just truly awful for all the Chicago ball clubs, regardless of what sport they played.

Watching a youthful Walter Payton become the football equivalent of Ernie Banks and Luke Appling (Hall of Fame baseball players who were surrounded by losing Chicago squads back in the 1950s and 1930s, respectively) was what the Bears were usually about.

Let’s be honest. Michael Jordan was the basketball equivalent in the 1980s. Does anyone remember how bad the Bulls were prior to those two streaks of three 1990s championships in a row?

So to learn that McCaskey is displeased with the Bears? You’d think she’d be used to it by now. Because 1985 and that Super Bowl victory over New England was truly a team oxymoron.

I FIND IT interesting that one-time Bears quarterback and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh finds the prospect of coaching Michigan in the Big 10 to be more intriguing than being with the Bears.

Take into account her other statement from Monday when the firings of the Bears general manager and coach were announced – that she had been alive for eight of the nine NFL championships won by the Bears during their 95 years of existence (including the season they were based in Decatur, Ill.).

But eight of those championships came prior to the creation of the Super Bowl – which itself will be 49 years old. Making them seem about as relevant as the fact that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series back in ’07 and ’08. And I don’t mean 20--!

So what should we make of McCaskey’s feelings? Perhaps she will succeed in finding competent team management that can bring another championship team to Soldier Field in the near future. At the very least, she gave us a chuckle.

ALTHOUGH I THINK the real outburst will come down from the heavens in the form of Halas’ spirit. He, of course, who once said, “We’ve run out of time outs. Go in there and get hurt.”

Somehow, I feel Bears fans would be in complete agreement these days.


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