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The Playoff Drought is Over for Chicago

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The Bears have clinched their division, earning a spot in the playoffs for the first time in what feels like forever.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
Can you spot what didn’t exist when the Bears last had a playoff game?
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Bears last competed in a playoff game on January 23, 2011.

To give some sense of how long ago that was, when the Bears lost the NFC Championship Game, the Marvel Cinematic Universe consisted of a pair of Iron Man movies and a version of the Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton in it. Chris Hemsworth’s biggest movie role to that date was arguably playing Jim Kirk’s dad in the Star Trek reboot.

Over on the sports side of things, the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Fierce Five were not yet a thing. Urban Meyer had just resigned from coaching at Florida, and Lance Armstrong was still two years away from admitting to doping. Joe Paterno was not only alive, he was still coaching at Penn State. Texas A&M was still in the Big Twelve.

In that time, Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie, Josh McCown, Jason Campbell, Jimmy Clausen, Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer, Mike Glennon, Mitchell Trubisky, and Chase Daniel have all started at least one game at quarterback for Chicago.

A remarkable 2884 days separate the NFCCG when the Bears lost to Green Bay and the regular season game when the Bears clinched their playoff berth by beating Green Bay. Last year, the Bears only had 2811 passing yards of offense. In other words, quite a bit has happened since the Bears were in the playoffs.

How much?

When Pro Bowlers Khalil Mack, Kyle Fuller, Eddie Jackson, Akiem Hicks, and Tarik Cohen all suit up to represent Chicago in a playoff game, they will be the first players for the Bears to do so in nearly eight years. Russell Brand and Katy Perry were still married eight years ago, but Prince William and Kate Middleton were not. Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-il, and Steve Jobs were all still alive.

Not only had Game of Thrones yet to air an episode when the Bears were last in the playoffs, an actual book in the series (Dance With Dragons) was released after the last Bears playoff game. Jersey Shore and Breaking Bad were both still filming new episodes (as a side note, I never thought I’d have a reason to include those two shows in the same sentence).

The last time the Bears were in the playoffs, Siri had yet to be released and Candy Crush was still more than a year away, while the U.S. Space Shuttle Program was still in operation. The world was supposed to end thanks to the Mayan Calendar (but all that really happened was there was a really bad John Cusack movie about it).

Kodak had not yet gone bankrupt and Facebook had not yet gone public the last time the Bears were in the playoffs. Uber was already in business, but Lyft was not. Back then, Disney had yet to buy Star Wars and Microsoft had yet to release Aaron Rodgers’ favorite thing to throw, the Surface.

So, the drought is over. It’s been a long time coming.