Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: CHICAGO BEARS — Rick Moran @ 10:49 am

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Bears RB Adrian Peterson in last year’s Green Bay Game

When the Football Gods gave NFL founder and the original owner of the Chicago Bears George Halas the Ten Commandments of the Gridiron, the game was in its infancy. There was little passing, not much in the way of protection for the players, and the single wing was still a new formation.

The Gods, knowing a good thing when they saw it, made the Commandments somewhat flexible. For instance, Commandment #5 - “Thou shouldst be mindful that three things can occur when forward passing and two of them are bad” morphed into the modern “Wing it, baby!” And the Second Commandment -
“Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath by playing The Game” changed into “Eh, whatevah.”

But the First Commandment was not to be trifled with: “Thou shalt honor the Gods by never playing the game indoors.” In the history of the NFL, only two domed teams have won the Super Bowl; Indianapolis and St. Louis. (The Gods gave Indy a break because their favorite movie is Hoosiers while St. Louis was made an exception due to the enormous pity felt by the Gods for a city that had to endure 5 years of Bob Costas as a sportscaster).

The Gods are wise. Football is a game made to played outdoors. It is not canceled for rain or snow or sleet or wind or cold. Fans must view the event in the elements along with the players which makes football a truly unique game. It is a “no excuses” game because both teams must play in the same weather with the team coming out on top who is best at stoically enduring whatever Mother Nature can impose upon the contest.

All of this is relevant because the weather forecast for today’s clash between my Beloved Bears and the Jacksonville Jaguars calls for temps to be in the mid to upper teens with a stiff wind doing its swirling dance around Soldier Field that will no doubt perplex Jacksonville’s warm weather kicker Scott Scobee.

Also predicted - snow - which should arrive by the second half. All in all, the perfect playing conditions for a team that thrives in the cold and snow.

Not so much Jacksonville.

They call it “Bear Weather” here. Many a foe have come a cropper in December at Soldier Field thanks to their inability (or unwillingness) to man up and match My Beloveds when the cold penetrates their pitiful attempts to keep warm and the wind howls. It is an icy wind, almost alive in its desire to eat through the layer upon layer of thermal clothing worn by opposing players and make its presence felt by causing it feel as if a thousand icicles are pricking at their skin. That wind, if it is blowing off the lake, is a wet wind, a damp, freezing gale that can be so miserable to endure that some simply give up and play not to win but to get the contest over with so they can be warm again.

Such was the case two years ago in December when the Atlanta Falcons and Michael Vick came to town with temps in single digits and a wind chill that froze the spit before it reached the ground. It was comical. It was so obvious that the Falcons didn’t want any part of the Bears, the cold, or even playing football that the game turned into a rout. Michael Vick, the talented run/pass QB currently serving jail time for his transgressions against dogs - and humanity - refused to take off and run through defenses as he had been doing all year and simply headed for the sideline when pressured. The whole Atlanta team gathered around the sideline heaters trying not to look at their coaches, hoping their number wouldn’t be called. Head coach Jim Mora was simply glum, standing on the sideline being forced to watch as his team froze and then fell apart in the bitter cold.

Similar scenarios have played out through the years with other teams. Only Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and perhaps Cleveland, who also play outdoors in December, give the Bears all they can handle when the temps plunge and the snow falls. (Pittsburgh and Green Bay especially seem to glory in the elements and both have easily defeated my Beloveds in December in recent years).

But don’t expect such manly efforts today from the Jags. On their website is a story with the headline, “Stay Away from the Heaters.” Good advice, but the reporter doesn’t have to be out there hitting or getting hit by 300 lb linemen with bone jarring intensity:

Win in Chicago this Sunday and the Jaguars will avoid such attacks on their integrity. Hey, how about four wins in a row to end the season? That would turn the tables, right?

Yeah, it sure would, but since victory is something no one can guarantee, I would offer this small bit of advice to Jaguars players for this Sunday’s game in frigid Soldier Field: Stay away from the heaters.

Trust me on this one, guys. I know your coach has already so warned you and you really need to listen to him on this one. I’ve covered football for a long time and most of that time was spent covering a cold-weather team, and we always watched the opposing team’s sideline to see how many players were gathered around the heaters; how many guys were wearing the long coats on the “Hot Seat,” with their feet in the slots and their bodies in the tuck position.

In the comfort of our little press box, we would turn to each other, smile and say, “They quit.” It’s the time-honored way of judging the state of mind of a team out of contention, especially such a team from Florida or California, playing in the Northeast or Midwest in December. All eyes will be on the Jaguars’ sideline to determine if the Jaguars are more concerned about staying warm than about winning.

Stay away from the heaters. Don’t put on the long coat. Limit your time in the “Hot Seat” and when you are sitting on it, don’t tuck your feet into the slots; appear as though you’re using it only as a place to sit, not a place to get warm. I promise you that if you do as I say no one will accuse you of quitting. It’s a cold-weather thing. Take it from a guy who knows.

The fellow may as well be remonstrating against moths to stay away from a flame. Not inured to the icy cold, the Jags may win the game anyway (such is the lamentable state of my Beloveds defense that they would be hard pressed to stop the offense for the Class 8-A High School Champs to be decided next week). But I guarantee they will take full advantage of the heaters and the “Hot Seat” and any other device they can find to keep warm.

However, the cold and snow will grant My Beloveds an advantage anyway. In such weather it becomes difficult to pass the ball and the game is won or lost at the line of scrimmage. The “Big Uglies” up front on both sides of the ball for both teams will win or lose this game by blocking for their side’s featured back.

For the Jags, it will be Fred Taylor - a wizened veteran and one of the most underrated running backs in NFL history. Taylor does it all and does it all better than most. He can still hit the hole with authority, still make LB’s miss, still has speed, and still has toughness to spare. Few are better at catching the ball out of the backfield. He can also block and has the instincts to go along with all this talent. In addition to all that, he is one of the great gentlemen of the game, a man deserving of much more approbation than he receives as a result of him playing in the smaller media market of Jacksonville.

On the other side, the Bears defensive line has become a bad joke. But the Jags O-line has not shown anything special either so one can count on the Beloved’s superior linebackers and safeties to keep Taylor from dominating the game. If he does, the Jags win.

For the Bears offense, Matt Forte, a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate, will bear the burden of running and hitting in the cold. I like the match-up of the Bears O-line versus the Jags D-Line and believe it will be the decisive difference. Forte will need to gain more than 100 yards for the Beloveds to win - unless the defense takes over the game and takes matters into their own hands by scoring a few TD’s themselves.

Forget the QB’s in this game. David Garrard for the Jags has been terribly inconsistent while Kyle Orton hasn’t looked the same since his ankle injury. There will probably be a lot of three and outs on both sides with the team who is able to play the field position game the best probably having the best shot to win. As in any contest, turnovers will be important with the team that can hang on to the ball the favorite.

By the time the snow arrives, I expect the Bears O-line to have taken over the game somewhat. And kicker Robbie Gould may be the best offensive weapon in my Beloved’s arsenal. Gould has an uncanny knack of being able to gauge the winds at Soldier Field and that’s why I think the Bears will win this game. If the offense can get Gould within 40 yards, he will win the game with his foot.

The Gods of Football had the Chicago Bears in mind when they created the game. For this reason alone, the Bears should triumph in a low scoring, not very exciting game.

Final score: Bears 20 Jags 13.


  1. Rick,
    Your prediction on the final score was pretty close - 23-10 was the final score.

    But the Minnesota Yikes won too ….so Da Bears are still one game behind.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 12/7/2008 @ 5:23 pm

  2. awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by jambrowski — 12/7/2008 @ 9:45 pm

  3. You should write sports full-time. Very entertaining.

    Here’s my own pathetic cold-day-in-sports story… I moved to San Francisco in 1996, and decided to go to a baseball game one lovely July evening. Clad in shorts and t-shirt, consuming large quantities of overpriced beer, I enjoyed the game immensely- until about the 3rd inning. Now, I’ll admit that a cold San Franciso night in July can’t compare with a cold Chicago day in December, but I challenge you to find another place more miserably cold in July. I took great pride in staying till the bitter end.

    The next game, I wore a parka.

    Comment by lionheart — 12/8/2008 @ 11:49 am

  4. I’m a Cleveland Browns fan and thus doomed to disapppointment! So sure, I’m always willing to cheer on your preferred team!

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 12/8/2008 @ 12:49 pm

  5. Hey Rick, I am a huge Bear fan also but isn’t calling them “My Beloveds” going a bit too far? It doesn’t sound like a manly football term to me. How about “My Neckbreakers”?

    Time for Coach Lovie to hit the road. He’s way too soft to be a winning Chicago Bear coach. They need to bring in an aggressive coach like Singletary if we are to see a real post season contender. S.F doesn’t deserve him.

    It would be like Ditka II. Go Bearssss.

    Comment by Gerry From Valpo — 12/8/2008 @ 7:23 pm

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