Jay Cutler is a loser, Chris Williams is a bust, Matt Forte's rookie year was a fluke, we have no WRs, our entire OL is terrible, Olin Kreutz and Brian Urlacher are washed up, our secondary can't cover anyone, Mike Martz was jobless for a reason, Rod Marinelli did nothing to improve our pass rush, Lovie Smith is too passive a head coach, Jerry Angelo can't draft worth a damn, and the McCaskeys are cheap. Did I forget anything?
Some of that insightful banter comes from Bears fans, and some of it comes from fans of other teams.
Some people believe that as fans, we should always be supportive of our organization, and trust that they will do everything in the team's best interest that they can to make us successful. Others believe that it is our responsibility to hold them accountable, and to scream from mountain tops when something is wrong.
Right or wrong, Chicago Bears fans are a passionate bunch, and that passion was born from excellence.
I would guess that the modern day Bears fan has been in some way, directy or indirectly, impacted by the Super Bowl team of 1985. Whether you were old enough to remember it, or rather only read about it and watched replays, the typical Bears fan has been impacted in some way by that great team. And there are the die hards, who know of the rich history and multiple championships that were brought to Chicago way before the NFL was ever created.
Regardless of your age or experiance level as a Bears fan, your restlessness is understandable, and completely justified. You see, our version of excellence is not based on the last five years, or based on how a draft goes, or based on how much we like the personalities of people who run our franchise; our version is based on winning football championships, on being a dominant force, on being a tough, hard-nosed, take no prisoners football team, in the spirit of Coach Halas and Dick Butkus. Smash mouth. That's Chicago Bears football.
So when things don't go well, Bears fans tend to be a bit dramatic. We tend to be loud, angry, even offensive. We exaggerate things, blame people, break things, use strings of expletives that would make General Patton blush... all because we know what excellence looks like, and get tired of not fitting into that mold.
Unfortunately, having a truly dominant football team in the nature of the 1985 team is not really a reality anymore. You've got factors like Free Agency that come into play, coaches and players changing teams every three years (and thus a constant philosophy change), and fooball decisions being based more on money than what we might thnk is in the best interest of the team.
Does that mean we should change our expectation as a fan? Probably not. But it might not hurt to refocus; to stop trying to compare the younger sibling to the older one, even though the older one is perfect in every way. Maybe we should cherish our memories of the greatness of the teams that will live forever in the history books, but realize that standard simply cannot be applied anymore. This isn't our grandfather's football league anymore, even though we wish it still was.
And in refocusing, while there will forever be criticisms of our beloved franchise (see: paragraph #1), we should also note we are currently 8-3, leading the NFC North, and more than likely looking at 9-3 after this afternoon.
Do we have issues? Hell yes, a whole slew of them. But we are fighting through those issues, and winning football games. Because that is what being the Chicago Bears is about: Fighting through things. We've got fighters on that football field (Cutler, Kreutz, Urlacher, Peppers) and we've got fighters on the sideline (Martz, Marinelli, Tice, Toub), and we've got a head coach that completely understands the legacy and culture of the Chicago Bears. He might not look or sound like someone from those great teams of the past, but you better believe he gets it. And he has built a supporting cast around him that gets it too.
Are we Super Bowl bound? Who knows. But I for one am proud of where this team is sitting, and proud of how quickly we have turned things around. And for today, I don't think I'll be calling for anyone's head, or throwing anyone under the bus, or pointing out any flaws. Younger siblings need love too.
ENJOY WITH ABSOLUT RESPONSIBILITY®