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The Pride and Joy of Illinois

A lot of other teams in this league would already be writing off this season as a complete waste, watching other games on Sunday, or otherwise turning their back on their home town team. However, that's not the way we work in the house that Halas built.

So, we lost another heart attack game against the Eagles, an absolute shame considering I'm surrounded by Eagles fans more often than not. We go into Minnesota and get dominated by the current top rung of the division lead by the undead lich known as Brett Favre. Sure, we mustered the troops to make a valiant stand against the bizarro AP, but without Urlacher in the middle to give Fav-ray his patented interception stare, it was game that was over before we hit the field.

We've lost six of our last seven, we look somewhere between terrible and bad depending on what part of the defense you're looking at, and I've seen more protection at a high school prom than what our QB is getting on the offensive side of the ball. There are no holes to run through, and we're quickly rushing upon a level of misery not felt since Dick Jauron was still our coach.

We're not gluttons for punishment, we're not masochists, and we're not cheerful rays of sunshine when it comes to our team losing, and losing to a big rival on a national stage, but there is absolutely nothing fair weather about Chicago, or its Bears fans.

The Chicago Bears have a unique place in the Chicago sports landscape, and the national landscape as a whole. The Bulls have tons of fans and the image of Jordan in the red and black will be etched into the psyche of more than a few generations. The Cubs have some of the most loyal fans in the world sticking to their team for over 100 years of failure. They both pale in comparison to the love and respect that the Chicago Bears receive every single year, no matter how bad the team was last year, or how painful it is to watch. No other team is more closely associated with the city of Chicago, and its fans. No other team is worn on the sleeves of its dedicated supporters to the extent that the Bears enjoy.

I've never been able to place my finger on one specific reason on why, but the Bears captivate the state of Illinois and surrounding areas like no other team. Maybe it's the fact that football is rough and tumble game, and Chicago at its roots is a working class city. Maybe it's the fact that compared to baseball and basketball there are so few games that every single minute matters, every quarter a lifetime, and every new game a chance at redemption. Maybe it could even be the fact that when the phrase football weather was coined that they had to be thinking of the Windy City. Just warm enough to keep the grass alive, still plenty cold to make the linesmen from both teams look more like raging animals blowing smoke from their nostrils than the gargantuan men they are, and while it may only be a 40% chance of flurries, it's a hundred percent chance of pain and suffering for the warm weather dome teams that come to Soldier field in the dead of winter. 

Whatever the reason, our Chicago Bears take precedent over every other team in the city. Amazingly during the heyday of the Jordan years, you'd still hear plenty of talk about the Bears even during the off-season, and this is when the Bears then make the Bears of today look like the 85 squad reincarnated. From the city and suburbs of Chicago, down through the capital and farmland, and all the way into the rural south the Bears are the one team that you can readily guarantee that not only will the guy standing next to you in the bank have an opinion about, but he'll have his two cents about why his favorite second stringer isn't seeing more playing time.

This is why we're a bit different than other fans you'll see out in the NFL landscape, almost to a fault we know our team can do better than it is. We don't throw the entire team under the bus, we don't scream from the top of the spaceship known as Soldier Field that our team stinks. We hold players accountable, we hold positions accountable, we hold coaches accountable, and we back up our issues with players and coaches with cold hard facts. You won't see many of our female Bears fans trotting around in a pink Cutler jersey, not knowing the difference between a QB sneak and a bootleg, and in fact you'd probably be hard pressed to find one that doesn't know more about running an offence than our current OC does.

So what's the point of this post? It's very simple, and a preemptive strike more than anything else. As the fight song says, they are the pride and joy of Illinois. For better or worse they are our Chicago Bears. We have all, as fans, been through worse players, worse coaches, worse seasons, and worse losses. We might not have seen a team with more promise at the beginning of the year come crashing down as the flaws became so painfully obvious, but we've definitely been in worse situations over the years. Keep up the good spirits as much as you can, keep up the energy, and focus it all towards seeing your Chicago Bears get better every game, and get a good head of steam together going into the last quarter of this season so we can come out looking to take our crown back from the Viqueens that look like they'll be wearing it this season.

Oh, and just in case brush up on the fight song since we've not had a lot of opportunities to keep it fresh the last few games