Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and Beyond

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This is it, the final week of the 2013 NFL season. Check out my thoughts on the previous week, and be sure to leave a few of your own in the comment section.

1) Have you heard, the Super Bowl will be played in a cold weather climate?

It seems to be the #1 gripe from fans, 99.99% of whom will watch from the comfort of their living rooms.

SB Nation has a cool looking Super Bowl preview that's worth checking out, and for the record, I'm still picking the Seahawks to win the game.

2) If the Denver Broncos defeat the Seattle Seahawks, will Peyton Manning go down in history as the greatest quarterback that ever lived?

3) Super Bowl prop bets are always fun, and our sister site Field Gulls has a run down on a bunch of them. I always wondered about the bets surrounding the Halftime Show. Couldn't someone with inside knowledge on the set list rack up some cash betting on the following?

Which song will Bruno Mars perform first?

Will Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers play a song on stage at the same time?

Would Bruno Mars do his friends a solid and open up with The Lazy Song (at 10/1 odds)?

4) Back in the old Tecmo Super Bowl days on the SNES, we used to get five of us together and run through an entire season in a day or two. We'd each pick a random team in the AFC West, because those five teams were the most competitive, and kick off a season. This Seattle vs Denver showdown reminds me of those old AFC West Tecmo battles.

For the record, I was near unstoppable if we could pick our own team for the season run through. Just give me the Run & Shoot Houston Oilers and prepare to lose.

5) If you weren't a fan of the quality of play in the Thursday Night Football games, then be prepared for more disappointment. The NFL has put the TNF package up for bid, and early speculation has NBC being the front runner in what could be a near $800 million offer.

I get it, more football is better for the average football fan. Television ratings will trump pretty much everything, but I'm just not a fan of the short turnaround for the athletes.

I also hope that by selling off the TNF package, it doesn't prompt the NFL Network to come up with Friday or Saturday Night Football.

6) So the Dallas Cowboys are thinking about hiring former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to be their new play caller. Not new coordinator, because the Cowboys still have an offensive coordinator under contract in Bill Callahan. Callahan took over play calling duties last year from head coach Jason Garrett, but the Cowboy offense never found a good rhythm under either coach.

Dallas owner Jerry Jones says that Callahan will return, but potentially stripping him of play calling has to make for an awkward coaching situation.

I hope Jerry Jones never sells the Cowboys.

7) Of the seven new NFL coaches hired in the last few weeks, who do you think will have the most success?

  1. Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns, last year 4-12
  2. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings, last year 5-10-1
  3. Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions, last year 7-9
  4. Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans, last year 7-9
  5. Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins, last year 3-13
  6. Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans, last year 2-14
  7. Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, last year 4-12

My pick, Bill O'Brien and the Texans. I can see them going from two wins to a legit playoff contender. Obviously settling in on a quarterback is key, but there's too much talent on that roster not to drastically improve on their two wins.

I think Lovie was a great hire for the Bucs, but their division is just too tough for him to make an immediate impact.

8) In case you missed it, Charles Tillman will entertain offers from other NFL teams this off season. I think Bears fans place a high value on Tillman, especially after watching him cause over 60 turnovers in his 11 year career. I just wonder how the rest of the NFL views a soon to be 33 year old corner that struggled through the 2013 season.

Everyone assumes that Lovie Smith and the Buccaneers will offer him a deal, but they have Darrelle Revis at one corner and their 2nd round rookie Johnthan Banks at the other corner. Banks started 15 games in 2013, and seems like a player with a future.

I think at this point in Tillman's career, I think he'll go where he feels he has the best chance to win. If the Bears want him back, I think the best place to win in 2014 will be Chicago.

9) We'll really amp up NFL Draft coverage in the coming weeks, but here's the latest Mock Draft from SBN to whet your appetite.

14. Chicago Bears - Kony Ealy, Defensive End, Missouri

The Bears could be toying with a move to a 3-4 defense, but at the very least it seems Chicago is exploring the idea of playing a variety of fronts. Chicago needs to add some talent on the defensive line regardless, and Missouri's Kony Ealy is the type of player who could fill multiple roles in a variety of defenses. The Tigers used a few different packages this season, giving Ealy a chance to play end in both a three-man and four-man front, and tackle in a four-man front. He even has the ability to stand up and play in space. After the NFL Scouting Combine, Ealy should cement his status as a top-20 pick.

This is the first time I saw Ealy mocked to the Bears at 14, and at 6'5" 275 pounds the early entrant is an intriguing prospect for the Bears.

10) I was at Buffalo Wild Wings last night watching the Royal Rumble, and I happened to glance at the Pro Bowl just in time to see Bears guard Kyle Long carrying Cam Newton in for a TD. You can see it in this video at around the 2:00 mark.

I think Long is my newest favorite Bear.

The Pro Bowl by the way had over 11 million viewers. Complain all you want about the game, but it'll never go away as long as people watch.

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