Patti Curl: So it looks like the Bears are enjoying their practices at the Professional Bowl. I have to wonder, which was the greater masterstroke of genius namesmanship: the pro bowl named after the fact that all invitees are pros, their seasons would make it on the favored side of a pro-con list and none of the participants are currently-incarcerated convicts, or the incredible self-control demonstrated by whoever managed to refrain from naming the big game the “Super Duper Bowl”?
Jeff Berckes: Wait, I thought the Pro Bowl was named after the Akron Pros, who won the first NFL championship in 1920, led by Fritz Pollard, to honor their achievement...
Anyway, never have liked the Pro Bowl game itself, and I’m not about to start now just because it’s dominated by Bears, but sign me up for all the mic’d up segments I can get. I’m not sure anyone is having more fun than Akiem Hicks and every little piece I get of these great Bears makes me long for September.
I think the skills competition starts to get us closer to a worthy event, but we need to add some new attractions. I’m inspired by those Brian Orakpo cupcake commercials - maybe a baking contest? Or how about a good old fashioned pie eating competition - you telling me that linemen wouldn’t enjoy that? Maybe we just steal from other sports - a dunk contest on a 9 foot hoop or a homerun derby with the batters box at 2nd base. I swear I’d watch something like that over a meaningless game where all anyone is hoping for is to get out healthy. Are you tuning in Sunday?
PC: I’ve got to tune in to make sure Biscuit slices up the tomatoes the AFC is putting out under the guise of a “Professional” defense. If Matthew Stafford can win a pro bowl mvp, I’m not ruling it out for Trubisky. But yes, baking, eating, singing, runway modeling, or charades competitions among pro bowlers would be more entertaining.
And Akiem Hicks should be mic’d up all the time. He should have a second mic on his belly so we can hear the crunch as he smoshes down on backfield offenders.
Speaking of Hicks wreaking havoc behind the line of scrimmage. How do you feel about the Bears new DC?
JB: I like the Pagano hiring as I believe his personality is going to fit right in with this group. It’s impossible to know for sure, but he’s reportedly a likable coach and Matt Nagy has established a fun organization. I was pretty excited about the possibility of Todd Bowles but the timing of everything with Elway taking his sweet time and Bruce Arians moving quickly put us onto plan B. What interested me about Bowles is that he can be creative & aggressive in his play calling, something that was lacking at times under Fangio. Pagano will hopefully bring some of those elements with him given his background in Baltimore. It seems to me the Bears defense has a chance to be even better with a fresh approach. The only thing that remains to be seen is what kind of defensive play caller he will be. As long as he doesn’t rush only 3, I think he’ll be fine.
I’ve given it some thought and as crazy as it sounds to some, I’m cheering for the Patriots next week. I’ve been fascinated with Bill Belichick for 20 years now and I’ve thought that he was making a final push for 1 last run. I love the symmetry of the 2 super bowl games against the Rams bookending their Sunday too. I say let’s see them capture one more and maybe Belichick or Brady walks away on top. Am I crazy for thinking that?
PC: I wouldn’t say crazy. I’d say sociopathic. Those Patriots have been league bullies for far too long and I want to see them fall in the worst way. I get the appeal of Belichick, but I find Brady’s smug little ego insufferable. I hope he drops a game-losing pass in an ill-advised QB-as-receiver trick play. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate your whole fantasy. The image of Brady riding off into the sunset sits just fine with me. He’s already flown too close to the sun, he may as well just dive the rest of the way in.
My fantasy for this game is that Sean McVay is outcoached by the Patriot’s defensive playcaller--who proceeds to lead the Dolphins to countless victories against the Patriots for years to come--and Jared Goff gets rattled early and often. Aaron Donald and Wade Philips have to save the day and it still takes a Julian Edelman muffed punt that stands and a missed pass-interference penalty on Robey-Coleman for the Rams to sneak out with the win. At the end of the day, I want Brady, Belichik, McVay, Goff, and NFL officials to all feel like losers.
Now I’m wondering if I come across as bitter. Do I seem bitter?
JB: Yes, but bitter seems like a better descriptor than sociopathic. Let’s just move past the SB and pretend like it doesn’t really matter and look ahead to what comes after. When the Patriots win their 6th ring next Sunday, the league turns over a new page to the 2019 season, thus kicking off the 100th year of the league and the 100th season for the Bears. (League year officially starts in March but stick with me)
I can think of nothing better than bringing home a championship to celebrate the centennial. It would only be the 2nd Super Bowl win but it would be the 10th league championship in 100 years for the Bears, led by the talented Mr. Biscuit who wears... #10. Much like the Patriots dynasty bookending their run with wins against the Rams, it feels like destiny that the Bears finish professional football’s first century with 10 championships. Plus, it would mean our Pro Bowlers would all need to skip the event to prepare for... the Cleveland Browns. Bears - Browns, Biscuit - Baker, SB LIV, February 2020. Book your Miami hotel now.
PC: This is making a lot of sense to me. Some things were meant to be, and the Bears were meant to dominate the league since the day they were graced with the opportunity to choose the best mascot possible. If Pagano can keep this defense in the top 5, year two of Nagy’s offense certainly has he potential to carry the Bears right into the Browns-Bears Super Bowl, which I will affectionately call the Brown Bear Bowl and eventually just the Grizzly Bowl. You’re making so much sense that I’m starting to regret calling your rooting interests sociopathic. Oh well, it’s too late now.