For some in the Bears’ organization, they can no doubt still hear the ringing of the “doink.” Almost two years ago to the day, the Bears fell 16-15 to the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles in the NFC Wild Card Game. After a resurgent 12-4 season, and a spirited effort against a team that hoisted the Lombardi trophy only 11 months prior, the Bears’ dreams of emulating such championship glory were extinguished after but one game. The disappointment at what could’ve been still rings through to this day, recency bias be damned.
Sometimes it takes a worthy reprieve to finish what you started. That is, even with a two-year break. No one will confuse the 2020 Bears for a Super Bowl contender. At 8-8, with an abundance of fatal flaws and holes on both sides of the ball, it’s difficult to fathom Chicago making a Cinderella run as the overall field’s second-lowest seed. They would not only likely have to show signs of progress and continuity they haven’t proven capable of all season (or for the last two years, for the matter), they’d likely have to overcome a successive gauntlet that features, in some form, the Saints, Packers, Tom Brady or Russell Wilson, and then eventually any one of the AFC juggernauts (Kansas City, Buffalo) with MVP-level quarterbacks and complete teams. In order, with no break. None of even takes into account the rampant health issues of some their star, core players already leaving them handicapped.
But if you believe the conceit of Any Given Sunday, as the legendary Al Pacino would himself endorse, then the Bears do have a chance. Take it one game at a time, control what you can control, and see what happens. Cliches are only cliches because of the truth they inherently hold. Maybe one of those complete teams, the first in the order, has an off-game. Maybe the Bears can end Drew Brees’ career prematurely. Or, perhaps, New Orleans effortlessly flexes on Matt Nagy’s (admittedly) hapless bunch in a needed tune-up.
It’s any given Sunday, indeed, and the Bears get at least one roll of the dice for luck. Maybe that come-out roll is a seven or 11, and they win big. But you don’t have the opportunity unless you get the roll in the first place. All anyone asks of this battle, I’m certain, is to leave the “doinks” behind. Something tells me that request unfortunately won’t be fulfilled.
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