August 25, 2016

Redskins 24, Bears 21: Skinned, Beaten, Buried

December 15, 2015

Redskins 24, Bears 21: Skinned, Beaten, Buried

For the second straight week the Chicago Bears lost a game at home they should have won and, for the second straight week, much of the blame falls on a guy who, for a decade, has been the Bears’ most reliable player.

Placekicker Robbie Gould whiffed on a 50-yard field goal attempt with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter, a score that would have tied things up. Instead, it was all over but the whisker-scratching as the Bears fell to a bad Washington Redskins team, 24-21.

We hate Christmas, we fear puppies and sunsets make us puke.

After the Bears beat the Packers on Thanksgiving – a game that feels like it was played in 1988 – we all thought Easy Street was wide open, free of potholes, gay and bright.

But what has followed is consecutive home losses to the 49ers and Redskins, leaving the Bears at 1-6 on their home mud.

Maybe they should start playing home games in Gary. Or Green Bay.

Losing back-to-back home games to Blaine Gabbert and Kirk Cousins reminds us of the time Dane Cook got more laughs than Kim Jong-Un.

The Bears are 5-8, which is also my height, and that’s not going to get any better before January, either.

The Monsters of the Misstep have now also put receiver Kevin White on injured reserve so the rookie first round receiver’s season is over before it ever started. I still want his jersey.

What do we have to play for now besides pride, money and mistletoe?

The 8-5 Vikings are up next. In Minnesota.

Bundle up. Bear Down. Believe in Santa. Say a prayer. –TK

Remembering The Day of the Bear

December 8, 2015

The Day of the Bear

Think of December 8, 1940.

Europe is at war, so is Asia, but the U.S. is not.

The nation is still in the Great Depression and while things are getting better, the unemployment rate is still 14.6%.

Baseball is the most popular sport in the U.S. along with boxing, horse racing and college football. The NFL is a Sunday distraction for many, but not most.

The Chicago Bears arrive at Washington’s Griffith Stadium and 36,034 fans pour through the gates for the league championship game and the Bears, “The Monsters of the Midway” destroy the Redskins in a score that still seems unfathomable and remains the most lopsided game in NFL history, 73-0.

For the Bears, it is their first title since 1933 and they would go on to repeat as champs the next season. That year they beat the New York Giants in a game played on December 7, 1941.

That football game can be considered the last one ever played before the U.S. entered World War II or the first one played during World War II as Pearl Harbor was attacked that very same day.

As Chicago celebrated that ’41 title it must have done so knowing that the NFL, America and the world would never be the same.

And many probably longed for that afternoon 364 days earlier when a crazy score on the gridiron was the biggest story of the day.

Poop on the Packers – Bears Win on Thanksgiving

November 26, 2015

Bears 17, Packers 13: Thanks

We were surprised and thankful to have a rare holiday off and so the day was filled with football, food and frequent thoughts of just how lucky we are.

After a sumptuous dinner of turkey, pasta, potatoes, rolls, cookies, pie and just about everything else delicious and fattening, and after watching the Lions devour the Eagles and the Panthers splatter the Cowboys, a quick drive brought us back home just in time for the primetime event and main course: Bears-Packers, for the first time ever on Thanksgiving.

If only it were that easy.

The smell attacked as soon as the door opened. The beautiful little black lab puppy, Dakota, has been with me for less than a week and has presented many challenges but, until Thursday, had kept her cage clean. Was she left alone too long this time? Did she get some Thanksgiving goodies on the sly?

Whatever the reason, this cute little pup had taken the Browns to the Super Bowl with extreme prejudice, just as the Bears and Packers were getting underway in the cold and rain in Green Bay. We took the dog out and apologized to her profusely for the mess she made because really it wasn’t her fault and so instead of watching the game the first quarter was spent cleaning up poop while listening to the play-by-play.

That was OK; the first quarter was a bit of a pooper anyway as Aaron Rodgers hit Eddie Lacy for a 25-yard score while the Bears offense still looked stuck somewhere between the rain and Kenosha.

Packers 7, Bears 0 and a clean cage.

The dog still had to be fed, though, and the little white and brown domestic short hair cat, Charlotte, who also came home from the shelter just last weekend and, we must add, has just one eye (it makes her look tough) appeared a bit uneasy, too. Maybe the dog crap made her nervous. Maybe her squint made the dog queasy.

By the time Jay Cutler hit Zach Miller for a three-yard score in the second quarter to tie the affair at 7 the dog’s bed had been pulled into the living room so she could be watched while we watched the game.

Her response? She peed on the bed. So it was time to clean the bed, spray it, scrub it, wipe it and dry it while the Packers marched down and Mason Crosby booted a field goal.

Packers 10, Bears 7 and nearly a whole roll of paper towels gone in a flash.

As the Bears fought back through the cold and rain on a 7-play 58-yard drive in just 1:28 and ending in a Jeremy Langford one-yard score Dakota, this sweet, loveable, humble, adorable little pup, looked us in the eye and peed on the doormat.

Bears 14, Packers 10 – get out the paper towels and Lysol again.

Rodgers and the Packers had little time and wasted none of it, taking just 30 seconds to get into field goal position and the puppy took even less time than that to, we’re really not kidding, sprint into the kitchen and unleash a smelly brown and yellow explosion on the kitchen rug and floor.

Halftime: Bears 14, Packers 13 and the Lysol, paper towels and patience have about evaporated. The house smells like poop and pee and we think the dog is getting revenge for the insult of being left alone for more than four hours on a national holiday.

By the time the second half started and Brett Favre had been honored by the Packers with his number retirement – something he richly deserves but we really didn’t mind missing because Favre has ruined a thousand Chicago Sundays – the poop was gone, the dog was calm, the cat was cute and now all the Bears had to do was win this damn thing.

They did, they did, and they did.

It wasn’t pretty but it was filling and fulfilling. It was sort of like putting your whole Thanksgiving dinner in a blender and swigging it down with a Cherry Coke chaser.

Cutler outplayed Rodgers (not by a lot but by enough) and the Bears defense, after letting the Packers march down the field in the final moments, forced Rodgers into four straight incompletions from the 8-yard line and the Bears had this thing won.

The dog looked at the cat, the cat swatted at the dog and we can’t believe we ate two whole plates of food at dinner – plates the size of Goodyear Tires, too.

Rodgers was a little banged up, the Packers offense has not been sharp lately and the conditions were decidedly defensive but, despite all that, credit must be given to the Bears and especially their defense, a crew as resilient and confident as it is resurgent.

Everyone in Green Bay, and 90% of the people in Chicago and the rest of America, thought Rodgers and the Packers were going to score on that last series. And the 10% who didn’t were so lost on Tryptophan they really don’t count.

But in the last three games Vic Fangio’s defense has allowed 13 points, 15 points and 13 points. Two of those games have been victories. The Bears kept Rodgers and friends off the scoreboard in the entire second half and out of the endzone after the first quarter. They’re making plays, getting after the quarterback and backing down from no one.

What nice fellas. I bet their puppies never poop where they’re not supposed to.

Beating the Packers in Green Bay on Thanksgiving night is even more fun than watching a Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Pieces of April and Avalon marathon with your best gal – or your favorite cat and dog – at your side.

The Bears are now 5-6 and still in the hunt for the playoffs but man if only they had beaten the Broncos last week when they really, really, really could have, they’d be firmly sniffing January football.

Now, the postseason is a distant aroma. It’s like the whiff of turkey when you first walk in the house.

Or will the rest of the year be like the aroma of puppy droppings as you regret that fourth Pabst Blue Ribbon?

Thanksgiving is joyous, football is fabulous, and God, family, friends, country, dogs and cats are glorious.

And the Bears drive home in the rain from Green Bay with a game ball. And bragging rights. And the possibility of a happy Christmas not too far down that dark, damp holiday road. – TK

(PS – Why the hell didn’t Snoopy and Woodstock get invited to Grandma’s condo? And what did Lucy, Schroeder, Patty, Violet, Shermy and Pig-Pen do for Thanksgiving? We’ll always wonder.)

Broncos, Bears, Rams, Chargers, London, Fries, Never Forgetting

 

November 23, 2015

Broncos, Bears, Rams, Chargers, London, Fries, Never Forgetting

The Chicago Bears could have beaten the Denver Broncos on Sunday at frigid Soldier Field. Victory, a three-game win streak, a .500 record and a great storyline heading into the Thanksgiving night showdown against the Packers were all just a chilled breath away.

Instead, it was a 17-15 loss to those stubborn, Peyton-less Broncos and the Bears are 4-6 and feeling like cold turkey. And not the good kind that you get to pour hot gravy over. More like the kind that’s the only shard left after your uncle Maury inhales half the frickin’ bird while you’re still on your third pre-dinner Schlitz.

The Broncos didn’t have Peyton Manning at quarterback because he’s older than Sammy Baugh and creakier than a hardwood floor in a haunted house and it’s difficult to say whether this hurt the Broncos or helped them. Denver turned to the young and tall Brock Osweiler who played well and the Broncos’ defense played even better and those were the major storylines.

At least in Denver they are.

But here in the land of hot frustration and heavy disappointment, the narrative is that the Bears could have tied the game in the final minute but failed and did so in a question-raising fashion.

Jay Cutler had marched Chicago down the field and Jeremy Langford scored on a two-yard plunge to make it 17-15 with 24 seconds to play. Then on the two-point conversion the Bears gave it to Langford again and he scampered right between the tackles and hit a brick wall like a drunken crash test dummy.

Broncos 17, Bears 15.

Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase is catching heck for running it instead of rolling out Cutler. Doing so would have given the Bears two, three, four chances of getting into the endzone? Instead, it was Langford or nothing and the Bears got nothing and man, is it easy to second-guess when you’re not on the sidelines.

The Bears are also being questioned for going for it on fourth down earlier in the fourth quarter from Denver’s four-yard line when trailing 17-9, and failing. If the Monsters of the Maddening had kicked a field goal instead it would have been 17-12 and then Langford’s late score would have won it.

That’s football math for you and it’s the kind we fans always get an “A” in but it doesn’t always apply between the lines on Sunday.

What we’re trying to say is the Bears have a banged-up roster, (they played without Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery again) are still gelling under their new coaching staff and faced one of the most talented teams in the league – one that John Fox used to coach – and the contest came down to the final seconds. And the Bears committed no penalties. None.

So yes, we can always question the decisions, but we must also acknowledge that this Bears team plays with confidence and bravado. And discipline.

And those things don’t matter much if not guided by sound decisions but how happy would we run-loving, snow-eating, Bears fans have been if Langford had shouldered his way in?

The Bears lost and deserve to be second-guessed. But the season, while on life-support with the mortuary on speed dial, is not over yet. A win in Green Bay on Thanksgiving night will be better than watching Avalon, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving back-to-back-to-back while downing Schlitz, pumpkin pie and Cherry-Vanilla Coke while Maury snores on the couch.

Thanksgiving dreams.

Part of what makes the Bears’ loss to the Broncos so frustrating is that it comes on the heels of a very impressive 37-13 victory over the Rams in St. Louis. The Bears looked so good in that game many of us thought they were the offspring of George Clooney and Margot Robbie.

And that game was on the heels of a thrilling 22-19 comeback win over the Chargers, a game that we must tell you about how we saw it.

We didn’t.

It was Monday night and good luck had taken us to London. Because it was London and we were trying to feel like it was London we saw a play, a magnificent staging of Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape, and it let out and we made a mad dash on the London Underground across town to a bar I was led to believe would be showing football, American football.

It wasn’t. And the kind chaps in the bar didn’t even seem to understand what we were asking.

Still, it was an American-themed BBQ joint so we bought some fries, got back on the train and rode through the pregnant London night back to our hotel. We ate our fries and dozed off, dreaming of the Beatles and the Bears. One was born right next door, the other was half a world away marching down the field, bearing down, breathing fire, and creating dreams.

London, and Paris before that, were great. But it’s good to be back in the land where football doesn’t mean soccer. No offense, but we like what we like. And we like it a lot. — TK

Jags Show Heart in the Carolina Lowcountry

October 23, 2015
Ridgeland, South Carolina
Friday Night Football in the Carolina Lowcountry

Desjon Fraser’s 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown typified the heart the Ridgeland-Hardeeville Jaguars showed against the visiting Barnwell Warhorses. The Jags lost, 46-12, in the eighth game of a disappointing 2-8 season. However, the Jaguars, who play in the lower southeast corner of South Carolina, gave their all against the Warhorses. They knew it was a war, and they didn’t lay down.

Fraser’s touchdown made the score 20-6 with 1:37 left in the first half.

“Nothing special,” Fraser said after the game. “I had good blocking.”

Actually, the play was very special. It was the first time the Jags scored at home all season.

Because of severe weather across the state in early October, the Jags had played only two home games all season. They were shut out in both.

One of those shutouts was a 35-0 loss to Woodland that prompted head coach Jahmaal Nelson to say, “We’ve got too many guys on the fence.”

Against the Barnwell Warhorses, in the Jags’ third home game of the season, they often didn’t execute well. However, the Jags were a team that wanted to play.

“They fought hard,” Coach Nelson said of his players. “I love each and every one of them.”

In the second quarter, the Jaguars defense stopped a Barnwell threat on the Ridgeland-Hardeeville 15.

Three plays later, on third-and-9 from the 16, Jabari Williams connected with Frank Fields for 17 yards–only to see it called back on a penalty.

The play that didn’t count ignited the crowd. On third-and-19 from the 6–with the Ridgeland-Hardeeville band leading the crowd in a huge cheer–Williams hit Darius Solomon for 26 yards and a first down.

The drive ended in a punt, but later in the quarter, Fraser set off the fireworks.

With the Jags down 20-0, Fraser took a kickoff on his own 15, ran past one Warhorse after another, shifted gears at midfield, and turned on the afterburners for an 85-yard touchdown.

Just before halftime, with the score 20-6, Shameik Giles sacked Warhorse quarterback Pete Elmore.

The Jaguars hoped to carry that momentum into the second half, but the Warhorses continued scoring touchdowns.

The fans kept cheering for another score, and in the final minutes of the game, the Jags delivered.

Jataree Williams returned a kickoff 17 yards to the Ridgeland-Hardeeville 45. Four plays later, on fourth-and-2, Fraser ran right for 7 yards and a first down.

Fueled by Fraser to the left and Fraser to the right, the Jags marched down the field. With the ball on the Barnwell 10, Jabari Williams scrambled 6 yards to the 4.

After a Barnwell penalty put the ball on the 2, Freddie Aiken took it up the middle for a touchdown.

“We didn’t give up,” Fields said. Richard Jones said, “We played with heart.”

Jones, who plays defensive end, finished with seven tackles–three of them solo–and two quarterback hurries. Coach Nelson praised the emotional role Jones played on the team. Jones had experienced a family tragedy, but Coach Nelson said, “He did a great job encouraging his teammates.”

Vikings 23, Bears 20: Silent Running

November 1, 2015

Vikings 23, Bears 20: Purple Pain

The Chicago Bears are now 2-5 after Sunday’s last-second 23-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field, the fourth straight game the Bears have gone down to the wire.

Going down to the wire is fun. Until, of course, you trip over it.

The Bears are 2-5 and could be 4-3 as their last two down-to-the-wire losses could have easily gone their way instead of the other way. But we must be honest and say the Bears could also easily be 0-7.

The only thing that doesn’t require two different honest perspectives is that the 2015 Bears are a lot like Matthew Modine’s character “Joker” in Full Metal Jacket. “Joker,” if you remember, was described as “silly and ignorant but he’s got guts and guts is enough.”

John Fox’s Bears have plenty of guts. But it’s not enough. And we’re not saying the Bears are silly or ignorant but we like our little Matthew Modine metaphor so allow us to stick with it. What the Bears don’t have, despite their deep bag of guts, is a deep enough roster to overcome yet more injuries to the offensive line, the backfield and the receiving corps.

How many teams do? Not many. And not this team, this year.

The Bears let this one get away and Fox faces questions about his play-calling and clock management, which is fair. But sometimes it all comes down to one play and when you’re banged up like the Bears are that play has to go your way and this time rookie running back Jeremy Langford dropped a certain first down pass in the final minute and the Vikings got the ball back, Blair Walsh booted the winner and I am three weeks behind on The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead is what the Bears were a lot the past few seasons. This year they’re more like Silent Running. They’re moving, they’re trying, they’re grasping and they’re not giving up.

But they’re alone and cold in space.

And PS….the Vikings are pretty good. –TK

Not Cool: Seahawks 26, Bears 0

September 27, 2015

Not Cool: Seahawks 26, Bears 0

The Chicago Bears lost to the Seahawks 26-0 in Seattle on Sunday in a game that made children cringe and statues weep.

But don’t accuse the Bears of not trying. They punched the opponent in the mouth all day long. The problem is, Russell Wilson’s crew just kept spitting out teeth and cackling.

The Bears came out with a spirited effort and, for once, an effective pass rush and for a while they went toe-to-toe with the two-time defending NFC champion Seabirds who were 0-2 coming into this game and thus were a nasty, angry, desperate bunch.

The Bears were also 0-2 and just as desperate and scrappy but on the Bears’ flight from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest their offense got lost somewhere over Kansas and simply could not keep up and the result was a pummeling that left the Bears at 0-3 for the first time since 2003.

2003? That was a couple of wars ago and before the iPhone, wasn’t it?

Let’s be fair to our Bears. They didn’t have starting quarterback Jay Cutler, starting wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and presumptive rookie starting wideout Kevin White all of whom were sidelined with injuries. (White, their top draft pick, has not played yet this season.)

Beating the Seadogs, especially in Seattle, would be tough even with the first string but with the gutsy yet ineffective Jimmy Clausen at QB and a roster that’s looking increasingly Canadian every week, a Herculean football task became a recurring Sisyphean offensive nightmare:

The Bears had the ball ten times and punted ten times. Such odd and depressing statistics are tough to measure but one report we’ve seen says no NFL team has ever done that -punted literally every time they got the ball – since at least 1980.

Sure, punts are better than turnovers but not when the other team pulls the old switcheroo and returns one of those punts 64 yards – damn you Richard Sherman!

Clausen completed nine passes on the day for 63 yards. That wasn’t a drive. That was the game.

The Bears finished with 146 total yards. Leonard Fournette piles up 146 yards walking to the bathroom.

Still, still, still, the Monsters of the Mad-lib almost kinda sorta had a chance, didn’t they? One possible fumbled punt by the Searats in the first half should have gone the Bears’ way but didn’t as the officials said it wasn’t a fumble when video showed it indeed was.

C’mon, fellas, a football doesn’t suddenly go in a different direction unless it either hits something, or smells cheese, right? The ball hit a Seattle player’s leg and the Bears recovered, but the powers-that-whistle didn’t see it that way.

Could this have been a big difference? Probably not. If the Bears had gotten the ball they would have been in great field position and probably would have kicked a field goal and trailed only 6-3 at halftime or maybe it would have been tied, 3-3 instead of the Bears trailing 6-0. And, we know we’re reaching a little bit, yes we are, because the way the Bears’ offense struggled in this one they were going to have a tough time finding the endzone with a blimp and a bag of magnets.

In any event, a 6-0 game at halftime quickly became 13-0 when the Seacheesers opened the second half with a 105-yard kickoff return by Tyler Lockett, marking the second straight game the Bears have surrendered a kickoff return TD. What does that mean when your special teams are struggling? It probably means your roster is thin.

It was 13-0 and felt like 183-0. By the end when it was only 26-0 it almost felt like a relief. The Bears were shutout for the first time since 2002 but at least they escaped alive, and man it hurts to have to write such silly things.

Before the season many of us said that the Bears could actually play decent football and yet still start 0-3 because the three foes who have vanquished them thus far – the Packers, Cardinals and Seamuskies – are all very good.

But the Bears have been outscored in those three games by a count of 105-46. That 59-point differential is by far the worst in the NFL and with Cutler hobbled (yes, we know Cutler is not Roger Staubach but he gives the Bears their best chance, he really does) Jeffery hurt, White out of sight and a coaching staff that still seems to be finding its legs, things don’t look to get better soon, even though the Raiders are on the way.

Oakland, after more than a decade of doldrums, is actually playing very well and will come to Soldier Field next weekend with a record of 2-1 and a belief that the playoffs are actually a place, not a myth.

The Bears, meanwhile, have now lost eight straight dating back to last year. They haven’t won since before Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving

No one in Bearland thought this was going to be a good year. All spring and summer we knew this was a building season, a season for head coach John Fox and General Manager Ryan Pace to assess the roster, create a system and then contend in 2016.

But the road from this year to respectability is a lot bumpier than we thought. And it sorta smells.

Hold your nose. Lower your shoulder. Be wary, but bold.

— TK

Cardinal Droppings

September 20, 2015

Cardinals 48, Bears 23: Cardinal Droppings

The Chicago Bears were assaulted physically, emotionally, religiously, ritually, openly, unabashedly, spiritually and repeatedly by the Arizona Cardinals at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon, resulting in a 48-23 score and widespread anger, doubt and sadness.

It began, as they say, in the beginning when Arizona’s David Johnson returned Robbie Gould’s opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown and thus the Bears trailed 7-0 before most of the Soldier Field crowd had even had their first stick of nicotine gum.

It wasn’t exactly all downhill from there as the Bears did manage to fight back with Jay Cutler hitting Josh Bellamy for an impressive 48-yard score late in the first quarter to tie the affair, 7-7.

But by halftime the angry birds led 28-20 with Carson Palmer having hit Larry Fitzgerald with the first of their eventual three TD connections on the afternoon and while this game at that point was certainly entertaining from a football point of view, it was also undeniably anxious from a Chicago point of view.

It really turned sour for the good guys late in the second quarter when Cutler was intercepted by the Cardinals’ Tony Jefferson who returned it for a score and Cutler got hurt, leaving the game.

How many teams in the history of football have ever won a game in which they gave up a special teams touchdown and a defensive score in the same half?

The answer in Chicago on Sunday was none ever, ever, Pinky.

Cutler was lost for the game with a bad hamstring and in came Jimmy Clausen and at this point there were serious conversations in the stands and in living rooms about why the Cardinals were the ones who left Chicago in 1960 and the Bears were the ones who stayed.

Arizona is good. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are like Yarbrough & Peoples in cleats. And the Cardinals’ defense hits hard and they’re well coached by Bruce Arians who would have been the Bears coach three years ago if the Bears had wanted him. Instead, as you know but just be patient because I have to tell you again, the Bears hired Marc Trestman and endured two unholy campaigns.

Now, though, the Bears have a good coach in John Fox who is going to get this thing turned around, isn’t he? Just not against good teams. Not just yet.

The Bears are 0-2 and at this point don’t look, feel or sound like they’re getting better anytime soon. And now they have a trip to Seattle where the 0-2 Seahawks are waiting for them with talent, anger and caffeine.

Old Chicagoans wish the Cardinals well. They will always have South Side blood and we would rather see them hoist a trophy than the Patriots, Packers or many other NFL selfie-takers.   But we’re a Bears town. And we want to Bear down. We want to believe. We want a better pass rush, secondary and cheerleaders.

It’s a sunny September. We want a lot.   — TK

September Starts Sadly, Badly, Madly

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Packers 31, Bears 23: New Season, Same Sadness

The Chicago Bears opened the 2015 season with a 31-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Chicago’s Soldier Field in a game that was either not as close as the final score indicated, closer than the final score indicated, or, like Goldilocks smoking a cigarette after the show, just about right.

No one expected the Bears to beat the Packers because that would be like expecting Urkel to win an Oscar. But the Bears, by virtue of not getting wiped off the face of the Earth like they often have against the green and gold marauders from up north, did achieve some measure of self-esteem by hanging in there and making some sober voters think they had a chance.

They did have a chance. The Bears actually led at halftime, 13-10 and were down only 24-16 with about six minutes left in the fourth and were putting together a good drive when…(no Grandma, I ain’t gonna use no cuss words! Just finish eating your chicken and we’ll leave in a minute)…Jay Cutler threw a pass that hit Packers linebacker Clay Matthews right between the Green and the Bay.

Soon after that it was 31-16 and the Bears didn’t give up but hey, neither did George McGovern.

That killer interception was Cutler’s only pick of the day but he completed just 18 of 36 passes. Granted, the Bears’ receiving corps is about as healthy as Greece’s economy and Cutler gave it his all, but I suddenly want to write about nicer things, like Elton John, puppies and ladies with small feet.

OK, back to life on Planet Chicago, which will get better. The Bears probably won’t win a lot this season but John Fox is a good coach and these things take time. So did The Deer Hunter.

Bears running back Matt Forte was great – 141 yards – but afterwards he went out of his way to criticize the Bears coaches. Last year’s coaches. Holding a grudge while carrying a football cannot be easy.

What’s very troubling in Bear Land is with this defeat the Bears’ lead over the Packers in their all-time series is now down to just one game, 93-92-6. A loss on Thanksgiving night in Green Bay and we’ll be tied.

We’ll be dead. We’ll be sad.

But maybe we’ll be 9-2.

Urkel can act. Bears can dream. — TK

Under The Lights

If you want a perfect snapshot of America go to a high school football game on a Friday night.
On this past Friday the setting was Niles, Illinois, just outside Chicago, where Notre Dame College Prep hosted Evanston and romped the visitors 48-21 under an unmarred late summer sky.
The beauty of high school football is the optimism, the excitement, the innocence, the potential and the myriad storylines:
Who will win?  Who will get to play?  When will my kid get to play?  Why isn’t my kid playing more?  Did that kid get hurt?  Isn’t that your history teacher?  Those cheerleaders are cute, no I’m not being weird, I’m just saying they’re cute.  How much did those new helmets cost?  Why are those two sitting together?  How come his father never comes to the games?  Where’s the party afterwards?  Is there a party?  Why isn’t my kid playing more he’s faster than that other kid?  Gosh, that kid is so fast he could play D-1…
It’s relentless fascination, speculation and jubilation.  Kids who go to class all day then practice and sweat and scream and cry just for a few moments of fun on a Friday night.
And, for most of them the dream, the fun and the violence all ends when their high school careers end.  How many high school kids will play college ball? How many college players reach the NFL?  How many of them will you even remember?
Notre Dame Prep football is also about Walking Tacos.  That’s a small bag of Fritos or Doritos opened up with chili and cheese dumped inside and you get a plastic fork and you’re smiling brighter than Jerry Jones after a facelift.  And they only cost $2.  And a Diet Pepsi is only $1.
And the price to get into the game is a whopping $5 and that includes the Freshman and Sophomore games, too, if you get there early enough.
$8 for a football triple-header, delicious food, a bubbly beverage and a snapshot of America: loud, violent, reverent of youth but also tradition, discipline and sex appeal, and the team with more money almost always wins.
The signs at every border, and every football game, should say “America: It needs a lot of work…but we’re having a lot of fun.”