Interested in rooting for one of the NFL's 32 teams -- but don't know where to start? Adam Rank has you covered with this series, which will present a handy guide to becoming an instantly rabid fan of each organization in the league. Below, find out why you should root for the Chicago Bears.
What you need to know so you don't sound stupid
The Chicago Bears are one of the benchmark teams in the NFL -- second only to the Green Bay Packers in terms of total league titles. (And if you thought I was going to willingly give the Packers credit for all of their pre-Super Bowl titles without some sort of ulterior motive, well then, we haven't hung out enough.)
The Bears have a single Super Bowl title, but what a title it was. The 1985 Chicago Bears are the unquestioned greatest team of the Super Bowl era. A defense that was nothing short of legendary and an underrated offense that actually finished second in the league in total points. Only one bad half of football in Miami on a Monday night prevented this team from being perfect. (Oh, that's right. For all of you who like to say stupid [stuff] like, "You're lucky the Bears didn't face the Dolphins in Super Bowl XX," realize DC Buddy Ryan made the adjustments at halftime and held Dan Marino to just seven points after the break. So cram it.)
Was the Jay Cutler era THAT bad?
People don't like Jay's face and they do like to make fun of him. But Cutler never got a fair shake because he seemingly played for a new offensive coordinator every year. Every. Damn. Year. One of them being Mike Martz, who nearly got him killed with his ridiculous schemes and then traded away Greg Olsen, the best tight end of his generation. (Yes. He. Is.) So thanks, Mike. And Cutler was much better than people give him credit for. And by people, I mean my new best friend and former "Bachelor" Nick Viall, the Packer backer who told me that having Cutler as our most prolific passer in club history was "shameful."
I can't completely disagree. It's been a tough run for us. Here are the top five Bears quarterbacks of my lifetime:
So yes, Nick, it might be shameful. Not everybody gets to see a HOF quarterback in their lifetime, let alone TWO back-to-back. But while I was the last Cutler fan, I realized it was time to let him go. I'm hopeful for the Mike Glennon era. Though, he's never going to get a fair shot because people would rather make Yarael Poof jokes and show the world how funny they are. But Glennon could be something special. I mean, the only person who didn't believe in him was Lovie when he was the head coach in Tampa Bay. I take that as a good thing.
BTW, if you want to buy Jay's Lake Forest mansion, have it at. It'll only cost you a cool $4.75 million.
How do you defend the Mitch Trubisky pick?
But I liked the move once I had a chance to calm down. For starters, the Bears didn't give up that much. After maneuvering with later picks, the Bears essentially gave up a fourth-round pick to grab the quarterback they coveted. Compare that to the price the Chiefs paid for Patrick Mahomes and the Texans for Deshaun Watson. It's the cost of doing business. Like paying $12 for a Bud Light at O'Hare. It's the law of supply and demand.
And I know I said I liked the Glennon move. Still do. He's going to be the starter this year. Here's the best-case scenario: Glennon balls out, the Bears win some games and he becomes the long-term answer. That would move Mitch Trubisky into that mythical Jimmy G territory, where the Bears would be able to extort some QB-starved team for a bevy of picks. It's a great move.
If Glennon doesn't translate, then you have a young quarterback to develop. I don't get how more folks don't understand this. I mean, it took me a minute to get my composure, but I'm on board now. Sorry, general manager Ryan Pace. I didn't mean to doubt you.
Kyle Long is pretty hilarious on Twitter. He's started being more, uh, forgiving to the haters. But he's still an entertaining fellow.
Monsters of the midway
The Bears have long been known for their defense. They had four of the best linebackers who ever played the game: Bill George, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher. Then you consider dudes like Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Mike Brown. There has been a lot of defensive talent on this team.
The current strength of the Bears stands with their front seven. I know I'm a biased [poop]head, so take Gregg Rosenthal's word for it. He said the Bears are a playoff team. Stop, stop. I'm kidding. He didn't say that. He just gave a fair assessment that the Bears' strength is in the front seven. There are still some holes on this roster. The secondary is all right. They could use another receiver, though I don't hate the Victor Cruz signing because we need complementary WRs to go with Cam Meredith. But this front seven could be really, really nice.
Not enough credit
Some [jerk] questioned Matt Forte'sHall of Fame credentials the other day, and let me tell you, that's my trigger. Because I won't stand for the heresy. I would imagine part of the problem stems from the Bears having two of the five greatest running backs of all time in their history (G.O.A.T. Walter Payton and Gale Sayers). It's something that dogged Neal Anderson, too, post-Walter. But let me put it to you this way ...
Mybestfriend, I mean Forte, is closing in on 15,000 all-purpose yards. He was clearly one of the best running backs of his generation. And I like to now measure all HOF credentials against Jerome Bettis (who shouldn't be in the HOF, but he played for the Steelers and people liked his nickname). And really, find me an NFL fan who would have rather had Bettis than Forte in their primes. You can't (unless they are a lying Steelers fan).
The franchise's best
Don't let that one point escape you, either. Walter Payton is the best running back to ever play the game. He played for some [poopy] teams and was still a boss. Plus, he played past that 30-year-old barrier that knocks down other running backs. He could catch. He could run. And he could even throw the ball. The only guy I can really remember who did anything close to him is LaDainian Tomlinson.
Next in line
Jordan Howard was a fifth-round pick of the Bears last season, and he ended up being the lone bright spot on offense. Well, other than Cameron Meredith, who was a nice surprise. So it's up to Howard to carry it for the Bears this season. And a lot of you haters will be all, "He's this year's Todd Gurley," which is baseless because, a) the Bears' interior offensive line is rad; b) the Bears' offense has plays designed for the current version of the NFL, and not what Jeff Fisher was running for the Rams; and c) screw you for putting that on him, man.
Nobody. The Bears are never given enough credit. I guess you could say Mike Ditka for winning only one Super Bowl. But, uh, it's hard to win Super Bowls. (Unless you're the Patriots.) The Bears competed against one of the two greatest dynasties in NFL history, the 1980s 49ers, who had Joe Montana. The Bears started Steve Fuller against the 49ers in the 1984 NFC Championship Game. If Jim McMahon had been healthy in '84 and '86 (when Chicago had to start Doug Flutie against Washington, thanks to Charles Martin -- nice way for the Packers to say thank you to the Bearsafter George Halas saved their franchise years previously), it would have been a three-peat. So shut your cake holes.
Mind you: The Charles Martin hit would be the most upset I would ever see my father. And I once crashed his company car.
It is a lot of fun to wear a Kevin Butler jersey. He was the original No. 6, before Jay Cutler. And people think you're wearing a Cutler jersey and get ready to say something [expletive] to you. But then they realize it's a Butt-head jersey and end up buying you a Goose Island (well, before Goose Island got sold).
Closing fun fact
I know a lot of people think Bill Walsh and the 49ers were a classy organization. But the 49ers ran up the score and tried to clown the Bears in the 1984 NFC Championship Game by putting guard Guy McIntyre in the backfield. Oh, hilarious. That inspired Ditka to use William Perry in the backfield in the following season, which led Ditka to run "The Fridge" and deny Walter Payton his rightful touchdown in Super Bowl XX. Something my dad took to the grave with him. Thanks, Bill.
You should be a Bears fan. It's actually a lot of fun. Now, there hasn't been a lot of winning recently, but that just means we are due. We have Howard. (Perhaps we can be best friends one day.) The defense, as mentioned above, is really starting to come around. I know neither Glennon nor Trubisky is at the top of the NFL right now, but there is some hope there. And that's the cool thing. Hope. I remember when Cutler first came to the Bears. There was a lot of optimism. And heck, we did get to the NFC Championship Game, only to lose to the [expletive] Packers. Oh man, I forget what my point is. Oh, yes! There is hope for the future of this team.
And let me tell you: When this team does win a Super Bowl, it'll make last year's party at Grant Park for the Cubs championship look like the opening for a Food 4 Less. Chicago is going to rage. I'll never forget how happy my father was after the Super Bowl (well, maybe a little grousing because of Walter not getting a touchdown), but it was pretty magical. I hope to have that experience with my daughter one day, because it will be the best. The best!