To whom it may concern:
While undoubtedly not nearly as tenured as many Bears fans out there, I have been a fan since I was 5 years old... my earliest memories of football was sitting on my grandfather's lap, watching the late Walter Payton work his magic on the football field. My grandfather was a Packers fan, but I loved him in spite of this.
Through the years, I've seen a lot of changes in the organization, while witnessing my favorite team hold on to certain core values undoubtedly set decades before my time. The Bears have long been known as a smash-mouth football team, mostly on the defensive side of the ball, but also as a tough-as-nails running team.
But, I've also been a part of plenty of heartbreak, and the ups and downs of the last several years has been an emotional ride, to say the least.
This year, though, brought with it a new set of expectations, a breath of fresh air that so many fans were in need of. I had never thought of jumping ship, but 2009 did allow my mind to honestly feel good about the upcoming season. The offseason was a busy one in terms of trades and free agent acquisitions, as well as bringing in a position coach in Rod Marinelli, who is known league-wide as one of the best at his trade.
The season started off with a big letdown in Green Bay, but three straight wins, including over the defending Super Bowl champs, only solidified my hopes of finally being a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. That leads us into the Bye week, and then into Atlanta.
First, in no way do I take anything away from the Falcons. They are a great football team, run by an outstanding executives and coaches. It is good to see a team endure what they did a couple of years ago, only to have them see a turnaround like they are experiencing now.
That being said, this is about my team. We had two weeks to heal up, two weeks to watch film, two weeks to game plan, two weeks to fine-tune our schemes. Had we gone into Atlanta, and simply been outplayed, I think things would be a little different. But we weren't outplayed.
With two weeks of preparation, all three phases of our game were completely out of synch, and often times seemed totally unprepared for this game. You would have thought we were on short-notice... like we had only days before learned we would have to take the field.
I won't get into any semantics of that game, nor will I try and dissect the schemes and game plans that we attempted to execute. But I will say this: the game in Atlanta was huge. We needed that game, for many reasons. We needed to win that game to keep pace in our division. We needed that game to show our resolve from the heartbreak endured last year when we played the Falcons. We needed that game to show that we were jelling as an offensive and defensive unit. We needed that game to show that, when firing on all cylinders, we could compete with anyone we take the field with.
But, we were unprepared. We were sloppy. We were undisciplined. We did not show signs of having an extra week of preparation. We did not show passion. We did not seem to have our hearts and heads in that football game. And that is a direct reflection of the coaching staff and management.
I do not doubt Lovie Smith, Ron Turner, Rod Marinelli, Dave Toub, Bob Babich, Jerry Angelo, or any other member of our organization. But many fans do doubt... many fans now wonder just exactly what is going on in our organization that would allow our football team to show up with an extra week's rest and play a game like we did Sunday.
It's not acceptable, and I hope that it was just an accident. I hope that it was an aberration. I hope it is not really reflective of our organization; not something that we should expect in the future. I do hope that everyone directly involved in getting our team prepared takes something away from this loss. I hope that something is learned, and certain things are avoided in the future.
We are now in position to have to fight harder than ever to not just make the playoffs, but simply contend within the NFC North. If we continue to play the type of football we witnessed last night, then more people will start questioning the folks in charge. More faith will be lost, and more letdowns from our favorite football team will be levied.
Please, Bears organization, get us ready. Get us ready to play football the way we are capable of playing. We have enough talent to win, but we need our coaches to lead us. We need our coaches to not let us down. We are better than that, and our expectations are not unwarranted.
A Bears Fan