So the Bears are going back to the Super Bowl. It's been twenty-one years since they were there last. And I am just all a-tingle.
Well, no I'm not actually. I proclaimed my allegiance to the Saints a few days ago, if I recall. And when they creeped within two points of the Bears early in the second half of today's game, I thought the choke was on. It was on, it was just the wrong team that choked. New Orleans started giving the ball away. You're not going to win championships doing that.
I was eighteen in January of '86 when the Bears beat the Rams by 24 to get to Super Bowl XX. I watched the game at home, and it was never close. Towards the end it started to snow, just like it did today. Two weeks later they were champs. It was the first Chicago title of my life-we were still five years away from the six titles in eight years stretch of the Bulls. I am still waiting for the Blackhawks and the Cubs (we don't recall anyone else in the city winning anything, especially October 2005).
No one could have been happier than I was when they won. I used to be a complete Bears fanatic and I admit that once I experienced the feeling of them winning a Super Bowl that it changed the way I felt about them, but it took a few years after that for it to be complete. I remember being miserable when a team that should have won more than just one title was knocked out in the playoffs on their home field the next two years, so I was still as into them then as I was before they were champions. But by the late 80's, my level of interest in the Bears was forever altered.
Blame the media first. They started sucking up to the team after the Super Bowl win and spent the next decade with its nose inserted squarely up the proverbial backside of every person involved in the organization. I swear if the Russians had nuked London in 1989 on the day that the Bears played a pre-season game, the game would have been the top story on the 10 o'clock news.
Your "average" fan in this town adds to my chagrin. Within minutes of the game ending today, the "news" was reporting live from some bar, because, you know, it's essential that we know what Dave, a 26 year old bookstore worker from Rogers Park thinks. And it's always something witty like "Yeah, I knew they were going to win. Bears!!! WOO!!! We're going to the Super (BURP!) Bowl baby!"
Man, I've really gotten old.
As I write this, Indianapolis just beat New England, so it'll be the Colts and the Bears in two weeks. Two weeks! What torture! Every top story on every local news show for the next fourteen days will be about the Super Bowl. And then there will be the bet between the mayors. Gee, what's Daley going to put up? Millennium Park? The Sears Tower? Meigs Field (oops. wait a tic...)? How about this: if Indy wins the Super Bowl, they get the White Sox. If the Bears win, the Indy 500 is forever run in the Windy City.
In '85, the Bears only loss was to Miami. When they Bears won the NFC championship, Miami was just kicking off the AFC championship against New England in South Florida. Everyone wanted Miami to win, so that the Super Bowl would be a rematch. New England won that game, and then lost the Super Bowl 46-10, and it was more lopsided than that score shows. Everybody moaned about the missed opportunity, about how the Bears would have avenged their only loss of that season.
One of the Bears' three losses this year was to New England. I bet by nine tomorrow morning I will hear someone moan about not being able to pay back New England. Personally, I'm glad it's Indianapolis. Now we don't have to hear all about the '85 Super Bowl. Plus, Colts-Bears is a better match up.
It should be a good game, and yeah, I guess I want the Bears to win, but it certainly won't kill me if they lose. It's a game where I will be happy with either team winning. And for the sake of my sanity I will do my best to ignore the hype, lest I spoil the fun of everyone else who will live and die with this team. I remember how it feels, and everyone should go through it at least once.
I just remembered that two days after the Bears won Super Bowl XX, the shuttle Challenger exploded. That kind of put a damper on things. And then my nephew was born one month later. Time does fly.
Go ahead and call me Grumpy McGrumperson, and remember how superficial and hypocritical all this is when I go batshit whenever the Cubs get to a World Series.