The year was 2005. The date, November 20th. The venue, Soldier Field. The city, Chicago. Which just so happens to be the greatest city on the planet. And that previous sentence is in fact a fact. And that fact is not debatable. The specific locale of said venue, the South parking lot. The menu, numerous sausage products and a plethora of beer.
It was a glorious tailgate experience, a balmy 40 degrees, and we were 4 grills deep. For all of Todd's, how shall I say it... For all of Todd's "childlike innocence", that man sure as Hell can man some grills. All four grills were being manned by Todd for a full 3 hours prior to kickoff. He's like a conductor at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with his tongs in his left hand and a beer in his right, just twirling to and fro around the 2 Weber gas grills and the 2 Weber charcoal grills. It was a beautiful sight to see.
His nimble feet were akin to a young Walter Payton, dancing around the Minnesota Vikings in route to a record setting 275 yards in 1977. And if someone were to get in between Todd and his cooking prowess they were stiff-armed ala Sweetness as well.
But as to the game at hand, the 6-3 Chicago Bears were hosting the 7-2 Carolina Panthers. We had some great seats for the game, about 15 rows up on the Bears sideline at about the 35 yard line. I'd like to get in a quick shout out to my in-laws for keeping us in mind when they stumbled on to the tickets, and I'd like to give a special thanks to the bout of pneumonia that knocked out the original owners of those tickets.
Long story short, season ticket holder Ms. Kuchowski, who came down with the sickness, instructed her son to pass the tickets onto my in-laws. My in-laws knew that if they didn't pass the tickets on to me, that I would deliver the mother of all guilt trips. Thanks Mom you are da best!
The Bears were led by a couple rookie sensations, quarterback Kyle Orton and kicker Robbie Gould. Orton, who was playing most of the year in place of injured Rex Grossman, was coming off his 5th straight win for our Beloved, and he was in the middle of a streak of 8 in a row. We've said it before, and we'll say in again, that kid was a winner, pure and simple, a winner.
The game itself was billed as a battle of two of the NFCs top teams. Chicago's #1 ranked defense was coordinated by former '85 Shuffling Bear, Ron "Chico" Rivera. He had the Bears playing lights out defense, and the Ron Turner coordinated Bears offense was doing just enough to win. It was some classic old school football.
Muhsin Muhammad, who came over from the Panthers in the off season, kicked off the scoring with a 3 yard TD from Captain Neckbeard. He then proceeded to do the pass the ball between his legs thingy that he did when he scored. It was a riveting TD celebration, and one that caused Carl to pull his hammy when he attempted to "get low with it", whilst passing his Kielbasa between his legs.
That particular scoring drive was set up by the 1st of 2 Nathan Vasher interceptions on the day. The "Interceptor" was just one week removed from his record setting 108 yard field goal return for a touchdown, and Bears fans were fired up for Vasher to keep it rolling.
The Bears next score was also set up by a Vasher pick, this time Robbie "Good as" Gould nailed a 33 yard field goal to increase the Bears 1st quarter lead to 10-0. It was more than enough for us to coast to the W. Chicago went on to win 13-3 in a game that saw our boys dominate from start to finish.
The Monsters Of The Midway were kicking ass and taking names defensively. Asides from those 2 picks by good old #31, the Bears picked up 8 sacks. Yes, 8. Alex Brown had a couple and Adewale Ogunleye had a hat trick! Solo sackers were Tommie Harris, Alfonso Boone, and Michael Haynes. Yes, Michael Haynes.