Bears in the Super Bowl? It's hard to find a reason why not
RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org December 27, 2010 10:38PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
I don’t think the Bears are going to the Super Bowl, but I have a whole season of things I thought I knew telling me to shut up.
I can no longer say with certainty that the world is round because the moment I utter those words, someone will hand me a photograph that seems to prove the planet is shaped like a Frisbee. The Frisbee will have the Bears’ logo on it.
I can’t scoff anymore at the idea of this team going to the Super Bowl, not after all the strange things that have happened this season and will continue to happen. Did anybody really believe that the Bears’ offense was capable of putting up a combined 78 points the last two games? Did anybody really believe that the Bears’ offense would need to score 38 points against the Jets on Sunday to make up for the inadequacies of the Bears’ vaunted defense?
I’m mostly Irish, but as I look over this season, maybe I’m mostly wrong about that too. I can’t rule out the possibility that, as an infant, I was left on the stairs of a church. This year has suggested that I’m of You’re An Idiot descent.
Before the season, few people would have been willing to bet that the Bears would finish with a .500 record or above. But here those same Bears sit with an 11-4 mark and all kinds of wonderful playoff possibilities in view.
I can give you several reasons why they won’t get to the Super Bowl, but the point of that would be what, exactly? One final stab at exposing a team that has, through a combination of talent, luck and NFL parity, turned water into wine?
It’s better to be lucky and good
This season has taught me one thing: If you believe the Bears are lucky, don’t say it derisively. There are no great teams in the NFC, but there are some good ones, including the one from Chicago. Would you rather have luck on your side or not?
The Bears have had a great run of good health. None of their key players has been out for an extended period. Is that luck, too? Sure it is. Injuries are a way of life in the NFL.
But what has happened goes beyond good fortune.
Johnny Knox is a player. Period.
Matt Forte has performed better than I ever imagined he would.
Teams keep kicking to Devin Hester. No one knows why.
The offensive line — I have no idea how it’s working, just that it is. I think.
If the Bears don’t start making adjustments to their cover-2 defense, they’re going to lose in the postseason. It’s one thing for Tom Brady to chew you up and spit you out. It’s another when the pedestrian Mark Sanchez is doing the chewing and the spitting.
(The Bears will prove me wrong on the importance of fixing the cover-2 when they beat Atlanta 63-62 in the NFC Championship Game. The Falcons will be without Matt Ryan, who will contract malaria.)
Is Lovie Smith a great coach? No, he’s not. But this is a league of results, and in the season he had to produce, he did. The guy is as dynamic as drywall, yet his players get fired up to play hard for him. Add that to the list of this season’s paradoxes.
They keep proving us wrong
I can tell you all the reasons the Bears won’t get far in the playoffs, but every team in the NFC has a similarly long list. There’s no reason a team with this many holes should make it to the Big Game, except that everybody seems to be in the same leaky boat.
Why not the Bears? I haven’t been able to come up with the one obvious weakness that would obliterate their dreams. Believe me, I’ve tried this season.
I used to think it was the offensive line, but Olin Kreutz & Co. have been playing well enough to protect Jay Cutler.
I used to think the Bears’ downfall would be Cutler’s proclivity toward making very bad decisions, but except for the occasional appearance of the quarterback who thinks he can will the ball between three defenders, he has been on his best behavior.
I used to think it was the Bears’ secondary, and, well, I’m not convinced I’m wrong. Did you see Charles Tillman trailing every slant route Sunday as if a tranquilizer dart were sticking out of his leg?
But that’s a negative thought, and this season has shown us that negatives don’t seem to matter. In fact, in the Bears’ bizarre world, negatives are positives, down is up and it’s possible to win with Chris Williams on the offensive line.
Don’t waste your time or your brain cells trying to figure out how the Bears got here. Don’t waste your breath saying they won’t go far in the playoffs. There’s a decent chance you’ll be wrong.
And haven’t we been wrong enough this season?