2011 Conference Championships and Thoughts

Prior to the 2010 season, I was hoping that it would take a couple more years than it did for Jim Harbaugh to break into the NFL head coaching ranks. At the time, I figured Lovie Smith would have a year or two more before he coached himself out of the Bears’ gig, and thought it would be awesome to see Harbaugh return to Chicago.

That dream is now dead, but how good is this guy? Wow. Takes practically the same 49ers team that had disappointed its fans for years and turns it, with its disappointing first overall pick quarterback, into a team that is now one win away from the Super Bowl.

Last weekend’s NFL divisional playoff games proved a couple of things. First, anything can happen when for the first time a 15-1 team went one-and-done at home (Green Bay). Second, just when it looked for certain that the league is now dominated by passing offenses, three of the four remaining teams relied on their defenses to get them where they are.

I was torn in my allegiances between the Saints and 49ers. I find it hard to pull against Harbaugh, but I like the Saints and Sean Payton as well. With every year that goes by I am liking the New York Giants more and more, even if I still despise Eli Manning for his 2004 draft day shenanigans. What the Giants have done twice now as prohibitive underdogs at Lambeau Field is nothing short of remarkable.

I’m a Bears fan that is still struggling to find a way to feel good for the Packers when they have success, I won’t pile on about their stunning defeat at home. It would be pathetic for me to even attempt it given that my team sputtered to the finish and didn’t make the playoffs, and I as a Bears fan have watched my team of 14-2, 11-4, 13-3 and 11-5 go one-and-done at home.

But it most certainly did prove that anything can happen, and even if the Packers come back in 2012 and look unstoppable in the regular season, nothing is a lock if a team has obvious holes in parts of their game.

More on the championship games on Friday. For now, today’s Bears news:

Jimmy Raye is the next candidate up to interview in the floundering search to replace Jerry Angelo as Bears’ GM.

Didn’t see that coming, huh? The Oakland Raiders have requested permission to interview Mike Tice for their open head coaching position. This time the Bears can’t be jerks and deny him permission to seek career advancement.

Just yesterday I was wondering if anything was going on with retaining special teams guru Dave Toub, and it was announced that the coach was re-signed to a new two-year contract.

5 Responses to “2011 Conference Championships and Thoughts”

  1. That 2005 11-5 team that went one and done against Carolina is the first “red flag” (in my mind anyway) regarding Lovie and his lacking skills with in-game strategy. Either that or it was stubbornness: not double covering Steve Smith and letting him run wild. The 2nd red flag was next year in the Super Bowl, when they let Big Hick (Eli is Little Hick, just for reference) dink and dunk them to death.

  2. Good analysis Mike.

  3. While I wasnt so excited to see Tice replace Martz, (as the most logical decision for trying to win now and not bringing in a completely new system), It’s kind of grown on me.. and amid all of the “Bears like” GM search.. I think Tice leaving would only hurt the team. Call me crazy. Roy, much like you I find it hard not to pull for Harbaugh, what he’s done there is no small accomplishment, although (no matter how crazy he was) Singletary (at least I believe) deserves more credit than he was given, you dont turn a team around just like that. Again..call me crazy..lol

  4. Yeah I’m rooting for Harbaugh too, would be great to see an ex-Bear in the Super Bowl.

  5. I’ll never understand why Eli Manning continues to take so much crap over what happened back in 2004, while nobody seems to mind that John Elway did exactly the same thing to the Colts when they drafted him. Why the double standard? A litle anti-NY bias, perhaps?

Leave a Reply