Why The Bears Can't Afford To Make The Playoffs

Jonathan Daniel

If the Bears manage to make it to the playoffs, no one will remember how badly the offense performed, or how, after a strong start, the defense no longer scared anyone. The record books will show that they finished 10-6 and took part in another post season.

Yes, you read it right. Perhaps some of you are thinking I should be writing about how the Bears can't afford to miss the playoffs, but I just don't believe that's the case.

We are in the midst of what looks like becoming Chicago's customary end of season slump where they pretty much fall apart and look nothing like the team that started this season 7-1. Let's look at what could still happen - Chicago can realistically win their remaining two games against Arizona and Detroit, finish the season with a 10-6 record, and somehow sneak their way into the post season. But what favors will this really do them?

Now take the time to imagine that they play some outstanding football, make it to the Super Bowl, and actually win it. 'What am I complaining about?' I hear you ask. I am one of those annoying/highly intelligent people that would rather their team played good, competitive football and miss out on the playoffs, than turn in some awful performances, but manage to get there, and possibly win the Super Bowl. Call me crazy, but that's how I feel.

If the Bears manage to make it to the playoffs, no one will remember how badly the offense performed, or how, after a strong start, the defense no longer scared anyone. The record books will show that they finished 10-6 and took part in another post season.

The Bears need to completely self-destruct. Ideally, they need to lose their remaining two games. Only then will we stand a chance of seeing some changes, starting with, but not limited to head coach Lovie Smith. If he can steer the team to another playoff appearance, I think his job is safe, but again, I can't see how this benefits the Bears. His time has to be running out. Defensively, the Bears have been solid under Lovie Smith, but offensively, they have been woeful.

And it's offensively where things need to really improve. We all thought this year would be different, didn't we? With the acquisition of Brandon Marshall, and the potential of rookie Alshon Jeffery, the Bears looked like having their best receiving corps in years. To be fair, Marshall has been great, but he's been the only reliable player on the team. Imagine if Chicago hadn't managed to sign Marshall. How bad would the offense have been then?

It is beyond embarrassing how much they have had to rely on Marshall, and the failure to create a more balanced passing attack must be investigated. Someone is to blame. But if they get to the playoffs, this will all be forgotten.

This is the problem with the playoff system as it currently stands. A team such as the Bears, which is playing pretty bad football at the moment, still have a chance of winning the Super Bowl. Okay, so they started out great, and you could argue that all that matters is 'getting hot' at the right time, but then where does that leave the regular season? What is the point of it?

I also find it frustrating that your chances of making the playoffs can literally depend on how strong your division is. As we have said, the Bears can still finish 10-6, which might be enough to win some divisions, especially if the rest of the teams are poor. Look at the AFC West as an example. The Broncos are currently 11-3 and have clinched the division. The rest of the teams (Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs) all having losing records. The Broncos could have ended up 8-8 and still made it to the playoffs, and therefore still have a chance of winning the Championship.

First and foremost, I am a fan of the Chicago Bears and have been since 1985, and I care passionately about the fortunes of the team. And this is the reason why I want the Bears to miss out on the playoffs this year. Playing the way they are, we can't have them representing the organization in the post season.

The only way that things will change in terms of personnel; both coaching and players, is if the Bears once again miss out on the playoffs. We all hoped things would be different, but the offensive line has not improved. The run game is faltering, the defense is starting to show signs of age and the passing game still needs work. This is not the description of a team that could still win the Super Bowl.

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