Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: CHICAGO BEARS, General — Rick Moran @ 8:21 am

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My beloved Bears may be undefeated, untied, and untouched this 2006 season. But that doesn’t mean it’s gone to their heads. Their latest challenge against the Phoenix Cardinals will be no less a test than any other NFL team. Brian Urlacher and Co. appear to be ready for the multi-faceted Cardinals offense when they take the field Monday night before a national television audience for the second time in three weeks.

The AZ offense has the potential to give the Bear’s corners nightmares with talent galore at WR and a quarterback in Matt Leinart who appears to be the real deal. The Cardinals also feature an aging but still dangerous Edgerrin James as running back. James may have lost a step but he is still a mortal weapon catching passes in the flat. And WR Anquan Boldin is an emerging star in the league with speed to burn and terrific hands.

Anyone who saw the USC-Notre Dame game last year knows that Matt Leinart, while still young and raw, is a competitor of unusual intensity. His ability to avoid the rush will be sorely tested but he is extremely capable of running out of trouble if the situation calls for it. And he seems to be poised beyond his years in the pocket.

But the Bear’s defense, while fairly young themselves, are nevertheless a mature group of professionals and do not plan on taking the Cardinals lightly:

We’re impressed with them offensively, especially Leinart,” said safety Mike Brown. “He’s very impressive; the poise that he shows, the confidence that he shows. He’s playing pretty well. He’s definitely not playing like a rookie. He’s playing like a veteran type of guy and we definitely have our hands full because they’ve got some great skill position players.”

The old Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals franchise is a rival from the pork and beans days of the NFL. When the franchise was lodged in Chicago (1922-59), the Cardinals were the city’s poor stepchild; a mediocre club barely eking out a living, playing their games at the old Comiskey park before a small, but rabid fan base. It is said that skinflint Charles Comiskey, in addition to charging rent to the Cardinals for playing in his precious ballpark, also billed the NFL team for damage to the turf (in addition to taking a hefty slice of concessions and ticket revenue).

Where the Bears dominated the league in the 30’s and 40’s, the Cardinals were stuck on awful. Posting 9 losing seasons in a row, they finally broke through with a championship season in 1947. Their playoff record was 1-1 - another playoff appearance in 1948 being the limit of success for the franchise.

Strangely, there never really developed the kind of intense rivalry with the Bears that one might expect during those years the Cardinals stunk up Comiskey Park. At least from the Bear’s point of view. Usually out of the running for the championship by mid season, the Cardinals looked forward to their games with the Bears immensely but there are really no storied games that jump out of the series’ history as evidence of any special feelings of hatred or revenge. Although the game in 1953 may rank as one of the most bizarre from the standpoint of motiviation.

The Cardinals were heading for another winless season and were scheduled to play the Bears the last game of the year. Coach Joe Stydahar of the Cardinals let it be known that he would withhold their final game checks unless the players came through and avoided the winless record. Sure enough, the motivated Cardinals came through, taming the Bears 24-17 to finish the season 1-11.

And that was pretty much the story of the franchise’s existence. Moving to St. Louis in 1959 (just prior to the league becoming hugely popular) and then angering St. Louis fans when owner Bill Bidwell took the team to Arizona for the 1988 season, the Cardinals have been to the playoffs only twice since they moved from Chicago. They may be considered one of the most unsucessful franchises in the history of the NFLm having never won a playoff game and never been to the Super Bowl

But ex-Vikings coach Dennis Green has the Cardinals playing hard and smart this year. With Leinart, they almost certainly have a stellar quarterback for the future and may even help them to the playoffs this year. So my beloveds better not come out flat against these Cardinals lest they come in for a rude awakening.

Look for a close game through 2 1/2 quarters with my beloveds pulling away in the second half to win big.

Final: Bears 37 - Phoenix 6.


I mention above the Cardinals have never won a playoff game. This is obviously incorrect since they won the Championship in 1947. And Gwain’s Ghost painfully reminds me that in 1998, the Cardinals went to the playoffs and upended Troy Aikman’s Cowboys.

When I lived in St. Louis, I got so used to hearing that refrain - Cardinals have never won a playoff game - that I totally forgot about ‘98.

Looks like no playoffs this year either…


  1. The Cardinals have never won a playoff game? Strange, I remember them and Jake Plummer taking out the Cowboys in the first round, not too long ago. That loss is seared, seared in my memory.

    Comment by GawainsGhost — 10/15/2006 @ 10:06 am

  2. Ouch!

    You’re correct. I suppose I’ll have to change it although I hardly think anyone else will notice (yeah, right).

    Comment by Rick Moran — 10/15/2006 @ 10:10 am

  3. Despite their talent at the skill positions, Arizona’s offesive line is like warm swiss cheese; Chicago will crush them.

    Comment by Andrew, West Des Moines — 10/15/2006 @ 12:18 pm

  4. I grew up in Chicago, root for the Bears every chance I get. Moved to Phoenix a few years ago - and usually, I cheer for the Cardinals. Doesn’t really cause much of a problem since the two teams don’t play each other that often. But this week, I’m a Bears fan! You can take the boy outta Chicago, but you can’t take the Monsters of the Midway out of the boy!

    Comment by Paul, Phoenix — 10/15/2006 @ 3:05 pm

  5. My mother in law, in Bloomington, Indiana is best friends, forever, with Rex Grossman’s grandmother. A group of “the girls” got together to watch him whenever possible during his college years. He could do no wrong with them.

    Comment by Karen — 10/16/2006 @ 10:44 am

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