Traveling Bears fans give their team road-field advantage
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Twitter: @AdamJahns November 5, 2012 12:06PM
Chicago Bears fan Kristin McFall watches players warm up before an NFL football game between the Tennessee Titans and the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Joe Howell)
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Updated: November 5, 2012 5:31PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Boos from Bears fans during highlights of the Green Bay Packers’ victory against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday were louder than anything fans of the Tennessee Titans could muster at LP Field.
The Bears dominated on the field in a 51-20 rout of the Titans, and their fans dominated in the stands, accounting for nearly half of the crowd at LP Field.
“Fans make Bears feel at home” read the headline of story in The Tennessean on Monday.
“They’ve traveled well,” Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said afterward. “Hats off to our fans, it’s been a fun year -- Dallas, Jacksonville, here, it’s been crazy to watch the Bears fans take over.”
Local establishment owners — especially those on Broadway in downtown — Nashville hotels and taxi drivers all benefited from the show of force from Chicago over the weekend.
But how about the Bears themselves?
The Bears’ most dominating victories this season have come in Dallas, Jacksonville and Nashville. They’ve outscored the Cowboys, Jaguars and Titans 126-41.
If anything, Bears players say they’re encouraged by the show of support by their fans, while some opposing players have expressed discouragement afterward.
“You know you have a ton of fans when you’re in an away stadium in the red zone and I’m trying to get the crowd to hush up and they’re responding,” Cutler said. “They got quiet in a hurry, so it makes it fun.”
In the Titans’ locker room, the mood was very different:
Safety Michael Griffin to The Tennessean: “How in the (heck) did they get so many tickets? Who sold those tickets to them?”
Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks: “It sounded like it was an away game for us. When they played Green Bay Packers’ highlights on the screen, we heard (their fans) boo like we were at their stadium.”
Tennessee coach Mike Munchak did his best to shrug off what occurred in LP Field. By the third quarter, most of the fans left at the game were wearing blue and orange.
“The Bears have great fans,” Munchak said. “They follow them. Just like when we played Pittsburgh, there’s a lot of Pittsburgh fans in here that Thursday night game. We expect that they travel well with their team. That’s great for them if they have that tradition that their fans want to follow them, not just in Nashville, but everywhere they play. They’ve got a strong following..
“We need to play better, that’s all that we’re concerned about in that game. That part, we really didn’t pay attention to.”
But that’s just coach speak after a loss.
The “Let’s Go Bears” chants were too loud and numerous to miss.
“I do want to say I apologize to the fans as a team, especially to those who stayed there until the clock hit zeroes,” Titans receiver Nate Washington said.
Bears coach Love Smith said he expected a tough game in Nashville, but that “it’s always easier when you have that many fans that come out and support you.”
“This was another time where we had Soldier Field South down here,” Smith said.