Chicago: City of Broad Shoulders and No Balls
If you happen to notice that people in Chicago are walking a little funny this week, it's probably because their assholes are sore from having the foot of the Pittsburgh Steelers in it for about three hours on Sunday afternoon. These Bears fans can certainly talk the talk, but they obviously can't walk the walk. I have to admit that I hadn't watched a Bears game all year (because they suck and they're boring), but I had been hearing a lot of hype about how their defense was supposed to be comparable to the '85 Bears or the '00 Ravens. They entered the day leading in most defensive statistical categories and had propelled the Bears to an eight-game win streak and had the Second City talking of a first-round bye in the playoffs. Sixty minutes of football later the Bears were left pondering a 21-9 drubbing by a newly-inspired Steelers squad.
The Bears really should be ashamed of themselves. As you can see, it was a cold snowy December Sunday, the kind of atmosphere that is just begging for a dominating defensive performance. To make the Bears pathetic display even more embarrassing, the Steelers were starting a second-year player in Max Starks and a rookie from Northwestern in Trai Essex as their two offensive tackles. Where was Alex Brown? Where was Adewale Ogunleye? The Bears failed to record even one sack against the Steelers. The Steelers ran the ball 46 times for 190 yards. The Bus ran for almost a hundred yards in the second half alone. I don't want to hear any of "our defense was on the field too long and got tired" shit either. The Steelers manhandled them from the opening drive. Meanwhile, the Bears only managed 83 yards on the ground. Orton didn't do shit (big surprise there), but anyone who thinks that Rex Grossman is the answer is completely off base. Bears fans need to realize something - Rex Grossman sucks. Bears fans should consider themeselves lucky they have Orton, because otherwise it would be Chad Hutchinson, Shane Matthews or, god forbid, Kordell Stewart playing QB. The Bears should just appreciate the fact that they aren't one of the five worst teams in the NFL for a change and not start expecting Super Bowls. And make no mistake about it, this Bears team is nowhere near a Super Bowl caliber team. If the Bears were in the AFC they would be, at tops, the ninth best team. Now, I think it's really neat that the Bears compile gaudy records once every four or five years due to the fact that they get lucky and play a last-place schedule. It's a cute little story for the media to cover because their fans get all excited and start talking about their glory day of Super Bowl XX and other shit that no one outside of Chicago gives a shit about. But, Second Citizens, please realize that a team of little girls like the Bears will always lose to a group of men like the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's really a shame that all this ink has been spilt over an overrated defense that only plays tough against the Lions and Saints. The big bad Bears are actually big fucking pussies. This loss single-handedly precludes this defense from ever being mentioned in the same breath as the '85 Bears or the '00 Ravens. First be the best defense on the field on Sunday, then start worrying about whether you're the best of all time. The Bears should be Super Bowl shufflin' on back to Chicago with their tails between their legs.
In case you were looking for proof that this world isn't a fair place, because the NFC is so shitty (and the NFC North is particularly shitty) the Bears are pretty much guaranteed to host a playoff game (which they will most likely lose like they did in 2001), while the Steelers are battling it out with the Jaguars, Chiefs and Chargers for the two wildcard spots in the AFC. The Jaguars seem to have the inside edge on the #5 seed, but after the Chargers and Chiefs lost on Sunday, there is a three-way tie for the #6 slot. If you look at the remaining schedule the Steelers clearly are in the driver's seat. If they can beat the Vikings in Minnesota, the Browns in Cleveland, and the Lions at home they will be 11-5. The Chiefs and Chargers play each other in two weeks, so the loser of that game will be eliminated from playoff contention. The Chiefs' other two games are against the Giants at the Meadowlands and hosting the Bengals. The Chargers still have to play at Indianapolis and against the Broncos. If the Steelers can use their win this week to start to build up a little momentun to end the season, I can start to get excited about a playoff run. It's the team that's surging going into the playoffs that is most dangerous. In most years the Steelers have been sitting pretty at the end of the season and been caught by surprise by upstart teams like the Patriots in '01 and almost by the Jets last year. Hopefully this year the upper hand will be on the other foot. But, first things first - they need to beat my arch-nemesis next week in the Dome in Minneapolis.