As everyone that reads here knows, I went into the season knowing that the Bears could start 1-2. Actually I thought that 1-2 is not insurmountable if it happens, it would be better than 0-3. Then yes, the Bears did shock me by blowing out the Falcons in the opener. During the week between the opener and New Orleans, I found myself wondering if I was wrong, and was perhaps missing the boat on a potentially great team. By gametime I had myself believing that I was wrong and the Bears were going to use a bunch of motivating factors to shut up all the naysayers such as myself.
They didn’t. They did hang with the Saints for about 35-40 minutes in an amazingly loud dome. The more I read of the aftermath the more frustrated I am that the Bears threw the ball almost 50 times with an injured and overmatched offensive line. Until the fourth quarter the game really wasn’t as bad as the score indicated. But it was a loss.
I know the Bears use the “us against them” line better than it seems any other team. And I certainly hope-and actually have faith-that they’re going to prove this weekend that they are still an NFL elite team by winning a game they must win at home against the Packers. As I said before the season, they still can recover from a 1-2 start if it happens. But if they lose I don’t want to hear the tired old story that the fans don’t believe in the team and they’ll show us how good they are. Prove it.
New Orleans and the fans
I have always loved the city of New Orleans and went down for my fourth visit for this game. Great trip, enjoyed every bit of it other than the loss. It became clearer to us as our visit went on that apparently the New Orleans media was overblowing the story of mistreatment of Saints fans by Bears fans the last three times they visited Chicago. Hell, not even the last three times. Multiple Saints fans I met referenced the 1990 wild card game when Saints fans were pelted en masse by snowballs-I witnessed that myself.
Apparently due to the media hype Saints fans were really angry at us. I believe I even heard that some media outlets were encouraging revenge on Bears fans. But in 99% of the cases I was involved in, the Saints fans were admirably cool. I met and bought beers for several Saints fans and told them not everyone in Chicago is like that. Sure there were a couple of groups of people that yelled profanities at us after the game and some dude almost hit my wife with his SUV coming around a corner (scary), but the people of New Orleans are good people overall. Many of them patted us on the back, asked if we were having a good time and to come back-no joke.
It troubles me to know that Chicago fans can be brutal–I know it because I see it with my own eyes. That’s not me, and I know it’s not the majority of Bears fans or Chicago people, but I do see it. On the other hand, particularly at Packer games in Chicago, I have had Packer fans scream and swear at me twice with absolutely no provocation, so it does work both ways.
I don’t know what the answer is, but as I told the new friends I had the opportunity to make in New Orleans, I personally will take care of them next time they make the trip up.