Yesterday's game wasn't pretty. That is to say, not from the perspective of the Chicago Bears.
Having been thoroughly dominated in all aspects of football by the New England Patriots on Sunday, many fans and analysts are turning towards the idea that the Bears are "frauds" or "pretenders." Surely, after such a complete tail-whipping by a Patriots team that has won a startling 75% of it's regular season games over the last decade, there's no way that this team should have a winning record. They especially shouldn't be leading their division, and within a weekend's grasp of clinching the division, right?
While that's all debatable, and will be covered ad nauseum over the next few weeks, there is something that was definitely proven over the weekend. Chicago Bear Weather is officially extinct.
You may recall back in June that we discussed this very topic here at Windy City Gridiron. As we mentioned then, this team is simply not built to have an advantage in conditions like the ones at Soldier Field yesterday. The concept of Bear Weather came into play strongly this past week, as weather forecasts led to the good old adage, "Oh, it's going to be perfect Bear Weather."
It was indeed, perfect Bear Weather. It was so perfect that it nullified a lot of the Bears abilities. From receivers who couldn't hold onto the ball, to defensive players who seemed to be a consistent half-second behind where they needed to be, the Bears indeed were exposed. The conditions, coupled with an absolutely dynamite attack by the New England Patriots, were enough to nullify the thing that is most advantageous to the Bears: speed.
It's best summed up, I think, by this quote from Moon Mullin's article posted today at csnchicago.com:
The silly notion of "Bear weather" can hopefully be forever banished from anything. Given the numbers of players from Florida, Texas, Alabama, California, New Mexico, Arizona and any number of warm places (including a coach from Texas), my sense of true "Bear weather" was always 95 degrees-95 humidity anyway. Frankly, training camp was more Bear weather than anything on the lakefront in December or January.
"Bear weather" for most fans traces to Wilbur Marshall (a Floridian) picking up a Rams fumble in the swirling snow in an NFC Championship game and gliding down the field for a touchdown. If you’re as far superior to others as that team was, and the Patriots currently are, any weather is your weather.
And that's the crux of it. For a team of this constitution, the weather isn't going to make a difference. Most times, the better team is going to win, and that's exactly what happened on Sunday afternoon. Should these teams be fortunate enough to meet again in the Super Bowl, the Patriots will likely still be the better-assembled, better-coached team. There's a lot of time until then, so the Bears need to get back to executing the level of play they've executed in 9 of their 13 games so far, and they'll be fine.