Dear 'aged' fans,
I classify you as old enough to clearly remember the 1985 Bears. This would put you in the age group of 40 or above. There are many of you: devoted, fanatical, and...stubborn.
Ah, how I wish I could remember those '85 Bears. Alas, I was just a youngin' and any memory I have of that year and the team is fuzzy at best. I've read these boards for years, and started posting a year ago. Most of my posts are admittedly cynical, pointed, and critical. I've been called out about it many times, and a lot of times by older fans.
I am told I need to be patient. That I don't remember the really bad days. That things will get better. That...I am young and impractical.
Truth be told, older fans, I am impatient. I am naturally cynical (though I like to think it more realistic). But I am not really young. And trust me, I remember some really bad days. In fact – from my perspective – my years as an active Bears fan have had far more bad years than good.
Here's the thing: I am not the only one like me. I am not a bushy-eyed teenager. I am not a, *gasp*, millennial. I am part of a large portion of this fanbase. A growing part, with each additional losing season, that simply does not know anything other than losing with our Bears.
We are in our mid-30's. We have spouses and children. Our children are getting old enough to be interested in football, this amazing, crazy game we love. Old enough to ask about the Bears, the history, who they are and used to be.
Here's what I would say: My first memories of the Bears are of a Mike Ditka who had long worn out his welcome. I only knew him as a crotchety old relic who yelled at players and got little results. I remember Neal Anderson and I liked him a lot. I also remember the running back carousel that occurred after he left. I remember Singletary and Dent, but only as older players, and I was continually told about their exploits when they were in their "prime". But mostly, I remember Dave Wannstedt, and the terrible group that masqueraded as a defense during those dark days. I remember Dick Jauron offering little in the way of improvement. I remember Lovie Smith being the best coach the Bears have had, according to what I actually saw with my own eyes.
And the quarterbacks, oh, the quarterbacks. I could list them here, but we all know them, or
struck them from our memories.
The years that stick out for me are 2. And only two. Because the Bears have had only 4 playoff appearances in the past 20 years. This is the time period I remember, and I can count success on a single hand. 2001, the "lucky" year. Mike Brown was our hero, and it was a fun season to watch. It was also very much a flash in the pan. The Bears were bad before, and the Bears were bad right after. In fact, it only resulted in Jauron sticking around far longer than he should have.
Of course, the other year is 2006. Probably the only year I remember save the late 80's where the Bears were a legitimate force, coming off an 11-5 season and playoff berth the year before...something that hadn't happened in years before, and hasn't happened since. The defense was scary good, but our offense was shaky. Even at their 'Best', these Bears were written off as 'lucky', and a workhorse team that just couldn't possibly keep it up.
There is much more I could write, but what is the point of all of this? Well, I only ask that older Bears fans think of the fact that they are part of a dwindling population that actually remembers the success of the 1980's. And that we think they cling fruitlessly to that ancient success as a justification for everything that has happened since.
We're too impulsive, impatient, not true fans.
Maybe we...I..am too cynical. But think of it this way. We've known no different. For those old enough to remember before 1984, we are in the exact same position now:
Imagine 1983. The last championship was 1963. Less time in between championships THEN as now! A couple of playoff appearances (fewer playoff spots, remember), a few winning seasons, but nothing ever sustained. A coaching carousel. A piece here or there (and later, even Sweetness), but nothing stuck. My elders at the time told me that was a low point. That apathy and cynicism were at an all time high. So, how can we be blamed for feeling exactly the same?
It's not all doom and gloom, of course. And we've been close before. I truly believe if Cutler was on that 2006 team in his current incarnation, the Bears would've won it all. They were THAT CLOSE. I know the Bears can get there again. Everyone in my generation knows it. But we're not there, and haven't been in our lifetimes.
So forgive us if we come across as impatient, disappointed, or even...cynical.
Cut us, the post-1985-memories generation, some slack.