It was good to see the Arizona Cardinals take the wind out of the Minnesota’s sails by beating the Vikings soundly last weekend. Kudos to the Cardinals for finally having an organization that assembled the talent, and a coaching staff able to put a gameplan together to handle one of the hottest teams in football. Contrast that with the Bears getting utterly embarrassed by both the Cardinals and Vikings.
Following last night’s win over the Ravens, the Green Bay Packers have now won four in a row and are in the NFC Wildcard lead. I would love to see the Bears salvage a bit of pride and find it within themselves to upset the Packers and Vikings, but with their shambles of talent and a completely inept coaching staff, I don’t see it happening. Not by a longshot.
I despise the Bears’ chief rivals, the Packers and Vikings. And this blog is not a forum to praise the enemy. But look, how can you not praise them for doing what the Bears have failed to do for generations-that is to field a program that wins consistently. While the Bears have managed one or two winning seasons sporadically since 1991, the Packers and Vikings have used a couple of down years to retool a program that comes back better and better each time.
As we know, both the Packers and Vikings started building while the Bears suffered through the Wanny and Jauron fiascos from 1993-2003. And they won consistently, with two Super Bowl appearances and four NFC title game appearances between the two of them during that stretch. The Vikings faltered from 2001-2002 and 2005-2007, but they emerged with a team that is frightening along both lines-the most important part of any football team, and with a running back that I believe will give Emmitt Smith a run for his rushing record in the end.
The Packers fell to depths their organization hadn’t seen since the late 1980′s in 2005. But what do you know, they were back in the NFC title game in 2007. They were again 6-10 in 2008, but in one season they have rebuilt a defense with young talent that should remain intact for years to come.
The Bears? They’ve lost consistently since 1992. Sure, they mustered playoff seasons in 1994, 2001 and 2005-2006. That’s four since 1992. The Vikings have made the postseason 10 times since then, the Packers 11. And the current state of the Bears? It’s Jerry Angelo’s house of cards that toppled. He built a team in 2005 and 2006 that won due to an extremely weak division and conference, with several players on defense that hit their peaks they couldn’t sustain, with an offensive line that was on the brink of collapsing, and a strong running game.
Angelo followed up the success of these two seasons by trading away the running back that sustained Ron Turner’s offense in the only way it can be sustained, with a solid offensive line and running back. He then squandered the majority of the draft picks he had on projects that didn’t pan out, while totally neglecting the offensive line that obviously was ready to collapse.
So the Bears are in a hole of their own digging, while the Vikings and Packers have built solid programs for the future.
I guess we could be Lions fans…probably the only way I could imagine it being worse.