Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Chicago Bears – NFC Champions

c Flying Debris

Well, it’s 24 hours until Super Bowl XLI, the cross border smackdown. As a Bear season ticket holder my allegiances should be obvious, I am a Chicago Bear fan. My childhood home was next door to a good friend of George “Mugsy” Halas, Jr.; Uncle Sony had access to a lot of Bear tickets. A few of us kids knew that Sunday mornings gave us an oppotunity to go over to Uncle Sony’s house after he and his friends had a few Bloody Marys and get some tickets plus a ride to the game; with some half-lit Bear fans. So I started going to Soldier Field as a pretty young kid, in fact at that point the stands in the north end zone were the first of several temporary solutions to the fact that Soldier Field’s original configuration was much too long for football. I recall being told that there were once sprint-car races held in Soldier Field. This History of Soldier Field even mentions ski-jumping competitions being held there. It was of course the site of the notorious Tunney/Dempsey “long count” boxing match. There also have been quite a few concerts held in Soldier Field over the years; this blog has even Photoshopped one of its personal photos taken at a Soldier Field concert to make a joke here on Al Gore’s Internet.

The above photo was taken during the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago and shows what Bear fans live for, defensive victories. An intentional grounding penalty on the Saints occurred in their own end zone resulting in a safety. For us Bear fans a safety would be far superior to a touchdown if it weren’t for the five extra points that a touchdown gives you. People in this town still speak in awe of middle linebacker Dick Butkus, with good reason. The last Bear championship team, the 1985 team was a defensive juggernaut led former Bear tight-end and then Coach Mike Ditka, the last hire of George S. Halas Sr. (whose birthday was yesterday). I recall a sports crazed New York friend of mine commenting at the time that really “Ditka is the Bears” My response was that “no, Butkus is the Bears.” So it was with Chicago’s love of defensive prowess this year, the Bear’s starting quarterback has been Rex Grossman, a guy who has been up and down during his first full season. During Grossman’s struggles the Bears relied on the defense and frankly some pretty good luck to continue their winning ways. That incredible Bear defense that seemed to rest a bit during some of the later half of the season has shown up during the postseason. The Vegas line immediately established the Colts as 7 point favorites, a fact that warmed the cold hearts of Bear fans everywhere. This Bear team, especially the defense, thrives at being the underdog and we Bear fans know it. Go Bears!

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