Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
Kudos to the Heisman Trophy Trust for putting the integrity of NCAA football above the embarrassment of stripping a past winner of the award. They decided (correctly, in my opinion) that the sport would suffer more harm by turning a blind eye to scandals than by taking the tough step of addressing them.
Now if only Bud Selig and Major League Baseball could find similar courage. But I’m not holding my breath.
No one else in the NFL understands what it means to be a fan of the Chicago Bears, the league’s longest-lived, most storied, and most frustrating franchise. It means losing when you should win, losing when you should lose, and winning the NFL championship every 10 or so presidential administrations then disappearing back into the primordial ooze of bad management, worse coaching, and fans who can’t kick the Bears habit for more useful pastimes like shooting heroin or watching the Cubs.
Still, no other franchise can lay claim to a history like that of the Chicago Bears. Here are just the last 50 years:
Chicago Bears Timeline (1960-2010)
1960: Behind Bill George, Doug Atkins, and Richie Pettibon, the Monsters of the Midway wreak havoc on the NFL, leading to several felony charges, but no convictions. Good news: the Bears nearly crack the top 10 in offense. Bad news: there are only 13 teams in the league.
1961: Bears acquire QB Billy Wade from the Rams to end their quarterback woes. Controversy erupts after a game at Wrigley Field, when the Rams accuse coach George Halas of putting poisonous snakes in their lockers.
1962: Bears improve to 9-5, despite 24 INTs from franchise quarterback Wade. Centenarian coach George Halas is unofficially credited with three quarterback sacks when the refs aren’t looking.
1963: Bears win the World Championship! No doubt the first of many over the next five decades.
1964: Bears lose 9 of 14 games behind aging Bill Wade. They pick up Rudy Bukich to end their QB woes. Coach Halas is accused of setting fire to the Vikings locker room at halftime.
1965: Bears draft Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus. Sayers plays halfback, runs back kicks and punts, catches passes, and works the concession counter at halftime, but the Bears still miss the playoffs. Opposing players begin bringing extra pants to the game because Butkus is beating the crap out of them.
1966: QB Rudy Bukich deftly guides the Bears to a 5-win season. Off-season physical reveals Bukich has developed an unusual eye condition wherein all jerseys appear the same color.
1967: Bears pick up franchise QB “Classy” Jack Concannon (#1 draft pick of the AFL in 1964), thus ending their quarterback woes. Dick Butkus is indicted on numerous charges of Mayhem, but juries refuse to convict. George Halas retires after almost two centuries of coaching, playing, and spitting on opposing players.
1968: Concannon finally lives up to his hype by throwing fewer than twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. Off-season physical reveals he suffers from Bukich Eye Disease.
1969: Bears draft All-American Bobby Douglass as their franchise QB. At last, their quarterback woes are over. Douglass can reportedly “throw the ball out of the stadium” which he does during several games, occasionally on screen passes. Bears lose 13 games and the coin toss with Pittsburgh for first draft choice (really).
1970: Bears experiment with leaving the defense on the field for one entire game, since they are more capable of scoring than the offense. Butkus is ineffectual at QB, but no one will tell him. Sayers comes back from knee injury to lead the NFL in rushing, despite playing behind an offensive line defenses refer to as “The Red Carpet.”
1971: In the draft, the Bears pass over linebacker Jack Ham for running back Joe Moore, who will go on to rush for nearly 300 yards in his NFL career. Gale Sayers suffers his second knee injury and football is never the same.
1972: Bears pass over Franco Harris to draft offensive lineman Lionel Antoine. Dick Butkus leads the team in every defensive category despite having had his knees removed in the off-season. Bobby Douglas rushes for nearly 1,000 yards, most of them with his helmet ripped off.
1973: Bears draft Gary Huff to end their quarterback woes.
1974: Bears pass over Lynn Swann and Jack Lambert for Raymond Bryant and Dave Gallagher. Halas complains about the rising cost of player salaries: “Soon, I’ll be out over $100 a week!” Rumors surface that the Bears score a touchdown via something called the “forward pass,” but this in unconfirmed.
1975: Bears draft Wayne Wheeler over John Stallworth; however, the Bears also draft running back Walter Payton, who declares he’ll make fans forget about Gale Sayers. We don’t, but we’ll never forget Sweetness, either.
1976-1978: In three seasons, QB Bob Avellini manages to throw for more yards than Payton rushes–barely. Bears hire Neill Armstrong as their head coach, figuring if he can walk on the moon, he can do anything.
1979: Bears pick up franchise QB Mike Phipps. At last, their quarterback woes are over. Phipps passes for more TDs than INTs (by one), prompting Bears fans to check the NFL rulebook to see if that’s legal.
1980-81: Bears bring in QB Vince Evans, who manages to throw half as many TDs as INTs.
1982: Bears select Mike Ditka as their head coach. Ditka causes controversy by slapping a player in the locker room with his glove and threatening to shoot him unless he gets back on the field. Bears also pick up franchise QB Jim McMahon. Finally, their QB woes are over.
1983: Bears finish at .500. Downtown Chicago closes for ticker-tape parade.
1984: Bears win division for first time since Hoover Administration. Not really, but it sure as hell seems like it.
1985: The Chicago Bears field the most feared team in football history. Quarterbacks throughout the league have their life insurance suddenly cancelled. In their three playoff games, the Bears outscore opponents 89-3 while the first-team defense is on the field. (The three points come after a lost fumble deep in their own territory.) Sorry, Miami: THIS is the greatest team in the Super Bowl era. Since the Bears have the 2nd-youngest team in the NFL, it will no doubt be the first of many championships over the next two decades.
1986: In a bitter divorce settlement, Buddy Ryan gets the Bears 46 defense. Bears win about three dozen games but lose at home in the playoffs.
1987: See 1986.
1988: See 1987.
1989: Bears trade McMahon, but they draft future franchise QB Jim Harbaugh to keep their quarterback woes at bay. Starting QB Mike Tomczak bets he can lead the Bears to the playoffs.
1990: The Bears return to the winning column behind Harbaugh who throws for 10 TDs, one of the highest totals in Bears history.
1991-1993: Bears success is short-lived, and soon they slide into mediocrity, despite hiring new coach Dave Wannstedt and his mustache.
1994: Bears acquire #1 pick Steve Walsh as their franchise QB. At last, their QB woes are over. Walsh quickly matches Harbaugh’s record of 10 TD passes in a single year.
1995: Bears acquire Lion’s QB Erik Kramer to end their QB woes. Amazingly, he turns out to be good.
1996-97: Kramer turns out to be not all that good.
1999: Bears start QBs Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, and Jim Miller in an attempt to end their quarterback woes.
2000: The Bears ring in the millennium by finishing dead last in the division. On the bright side, QBs Cade McNown and Shane Matthews throw nearly a dozen TD passes and end with a passing rating well into double-digits.
2001: Lowly draft pick QB Jim Miller leads Bears to 13-3 season. A championship is clearly just around the corner.
2002: Lowly draft pick Jim Miller leads Bears to 4-12 season. A championship might not be just around the corner.
2003: To end their QB woes, Bears acquire 2nd-round pick Kordell Stewart. Unfortunately, off-season physical reveals Stewart suffers from Bukich Eye Disease.
2004: Bears hire head coach Lovie Smith, figuring any man named “Lovie” has got to be tough. Combined, the slew of starting Bears QBs bring back memories of the glory days of the 1970s quarterbacks.
2005: Bears draft franchise quarterback Rex Grossman in first round to end their QB woes. And sure enough, the Bears win the division behind Kyle Orton, who comes within one pass of the magic 10 touchdown throws for a season.
2006: Grossman returns and leads the Bears to a loss in the Super Bowl. Return man Devin Hester accounts for 104% of Bears scoring for the season. Clearly, a championship is just around the corner.
2007: Rex Grossman and Brian Griese combine to lead the Bears to 3rd-place finish in division. Off-season physical reveals Grossman suffers from Intermittent Bukich Eye Disease.
2008: Grossman is benched for Kyle Orton, who Lovie Smith has realized is still on the team. Midway through one of the NFL’s toughest schedules, the Bears are near the top of the league in scoring and would be undefeated, except the coaches feel bad about winning close games. Orton’s stats drop precipitously when he plays the 2nd half of season missing one leg. The Bears lose the last game of the season–and their playoff spot–when the defense shows up at Soldier Field instead of Houston, where the game is being played.
2009: The Bears trade their starting QB, three high draft picks, and $800 million in Federal stimulus money to acquire Denver Franchise Quarterback Jay Cutler. This time, their QB woes are definitely, absolutely, guaranteed to be over. In his debut, Cutler throws interceptions to Packers defensive backs, defensive linemen, and a hot dog vendor. As punishment, the Bears break with a hundred years of tradition and extend Cutler’s contract (which has three years remaining) until “forever,” adding a signing bonus of a reported jillion dollars and agreeing to rename the team, “SuperJay and da Boyz.”
The Bears’ disappointing season continues and rumors swirl that Cutler suffers from Bukich Eye Disease. It turns out to be something far worse: Cutler Syndrome–a combination of bad eyesight, color blindness, excessive ego, overconfidence, and WTF. Cutler leads the Superbowl-favored Bears to a losing season against the NFL’s weakest schedule, leading the league in interceptions, red zone turnovers, winnable games thrown away, pouting–and, of course, salary. On the plus side, he throws several touchdowns, a couple of them even outside the ten-yard line.
When the dust settles, Cutler has thrown more interceptions than any Bears quarterback since the middle of the Truman Administration (actual fact). This includes starters Mike Phipps, Vince Evans, Bob Avellini, Jim McMahon, Steve Fuller, Rusty Lisch, Greg Landry, Mike Tomczak, Doug Flutie, Jim Harbaugh, Peter Tom Willis, Will Furrer, Erik Kramer, Steve Walsh, Dave Kreig, Rick Mirer, Steve Stenstrom, Moses Moreno, Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Henry Burris, Kordell Stewart, Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, and Bob Griese–plus all the quarterbacks for thirty years prior to the start of this list.
And yes, even more than Rudy Bukich, who is reportedly delighted that Cutler joined the team.