The 2017 Bears season is a milestone of sorts: the 25th season after the firing of Mike Ditka.
That's an odd way to contextualize a Bears season, except when you realize the shadow Da Coach still casts over a portion of this fan base. Some fans love the Ditkatization of our culture. Others detest it.
Me? I love history, which somewhat ironically is the reason I want fans to look beyond Iron Mike and appreciate all this franchise has done since his departure. The ‘85 Bears were one-in-a-million, yes. They were also 32 years ago. If you've spent the past 32 years pining for our collective Shufflin’ glory, you've missed the birth of glory anew.
As a celebration of these 25 seasons, the WCG staff is unveiling the Windy City Gridiron All-Bears Post-Ditka Team.
HOW IT WORKS
Every week we will honor the best of the Bears since 1993, position-by-position, until we have a 53-man roster. Players will be selected strictly based on their Bears careers, and strictly from 1993 to 2016.
So if we want Julius Peppers, for instance, we have to make the argument based on his four seasons in Chicago, not his time in Carolina and Green Bay. Guys closer to the start of the period (Harbaugh, Neal Anderson, Waddle, Dent, Armstrong, Singletary, Butler, etc.) are on the fringe, as are guys on the other side, such as Pernell McPhee, Jordan Howard, Cody Whitehair, and Leonard Floyd.
Career-seasons will be taken into account, as will playoff appearances, fan favoritism, team records, lockerroom guys, and any other relevant factors.
In the fall of 2009 on ReadJack.com, I chaired the selection committee for the original All-Bears Post-Ditka Team. We even got a shoutout from WCG itself. Since then, the franchise has added tons of talent. As a result, the 2017 edition looks to be even stronger.
As we select each position, the WCG staff will make our picks, and polls will let the WCG readers make picks as well. After that, the debates can begin.
Why are we doing this?
Because we are Bears fans. And it’s fun.
Tomorrow, we make our first selections: our five starters on the offensive line. The full 2009 roster is printed below. What will the 2017 roster look like? Check in every Wednesday (except tomorrow), to find out.
Jack M Silverstein, WCG All-Bears Post-Ditka Team chair
Position articles (check back for updates)
- March 23: offensive line
- March 29: defensive line
- April 5: fullback
- April 12: tight end
- April 19: kicker, punter, longsnapper
- May 10: return man
- May 17: cornerback
- May 24: wide receiver
- May 31: safety
- June 7: quarterback
- June 14: linebacker
- June 21: running back
- June 28: special teams specialists
2009 All-Bears Post-Ditka Team (alphabetical with starters in CAPS)
- Quarterback: ERIK KRAMER, Jim Miller (2009 quarterback)
- Running back: Raymont Harris, THOMAS JONES, Anthony Thomas (2009 running back)
- Fullback: JASON MCKIE (2009 full back)
- Wide receiver: Bernard Berrian, MARTY BOOKER, CURTIS CONWAY, Bobby Engram, Jeff Graham, Marcus Robinson (2009 wide receivers)
- Tight end: DESMOND CLARK, Greg Olsen (2009 tight end)
- Offensive tackle: ANDY HECK, JAMES “BIG CAT” WILLIAMS, John Tait (2009 o-line)
- Offensive guard: RUBEN BROWN, CHRIS VILLARRIAL, Roberto Garza, Todd Perry
- Center: OLIN KREUTZ
- Defensive end: Trace Armstrong, ALEX BROWN, ADEWALE OGUNLEYE, Bryan Robinson (2009 d-line)
- Defensive tackle: JIM FLANIGAN, TOMMIE HARRIS, Keith Traylor, Ted Washington, Chris Zorich
- Linebacker: LANCE BRIGGS, Joe Cain, Rosevelt Colvin, Warrick Holdman, Dante Jones, BARRY MINTER, BRIAN URLACHER (2009 linebacker)
- Cornerback: Jerry Azumah, WALT HARRIS, CHARLES TILLMAN, Nathan Vasher, Donnell Woolford (2009 cornerbacks)
- Safety: MIKE BROWN, Mark Carrier, Chris Harris, TONY PARRISH (2009 safety)
- Kickers: Robbie Gould, Brad Maynard (2009 kickers)
- Return man: Devin Hester (2009 return man)
- Specialists: Brendan Ayabadejo, Israel Idonije, Patrick Mannelly (2009 specialists and bench)
- Head coach: Lovie Smith (2009 coaching staff)
- Offensive coordinator: Ron Turner
- Defensive coordinator: Ron Rivera