It's been a long summer for the Cubs and fall and winter won't be much better for the Bears. Before anyone wearing green and gold boxers starts reveling in the certain and imminent misfortune of the Monsters of the Midway, let me stress that this forecast is totally unscientific. No "Poor Richard's Almanac" educated speculation here. The observation is based on recent encounters with my in-laws in Joliet and several of my wife's high school friends at a class reunion. But the opinions about the depth of the Bears' ineptitude were so strong and so unanimous that it's hard to dismiss the sense of impending pro football doom for the Windy City.
To hear the folks south of the border tell it, in a nutshell, the Bears offensive line couldn't block you and their defensive backs couldn't cover me. "I don't think Cutler is going to have any time to throw," said someone at the reunion. "He's gonna spend a lot of time on his back," a nearby friend agreed. Those two guys, who had only last year at this same gathering, dissed the Packers, saying that Aaron Rodgers was a fluke and with Brett Favre gone, "They'll be lucky to finish ahead of Detroit," then spent the next ten minutes telling me how fabulous the Pack was going to be (the 59-point bust-out against the Colts was nationally televised) and that Green Bay's offense was the greatest assemblage of firepower since the '27 Yankees.
An August homage from the flatland to the boys of the Frozen Tundra? This was the sound of desperation.
Later that night, we visited my brother-in-law, Jack, who was watching the end of the Bears' 14-9 loss to Arizona at Soldier Field. "I don't see them winning three games," Jack said looking at a newspaper that listed the team's schedule. "Will they beat Green Bay? Minnesota? New England? The Jets? The Giants? Dallas?" Not many Bears fans are answering yes to any of those propositions.
"We're waiting for Jay Cutler's post game news conference," said Tom Waddell, the former Chicago receiver who is now an analyst for the local Fox TV affiliate. "That's assuming he isn't sacked on his way to the podium."
Cutler did indeed find his way into the interview room where he gave a series of pained answers about throwing two interceptions and getting sacked four times while turning in a stellar passer rating of 31.
"He would have looked more comfortable in a dentist's chair," Waddell observed when the cameras cut back to the set. "The first team offense needs more snaps," Waddell continued, "But you have to balance that with the possibility of Cutler getting crushed behind the line of scrimmage."
Head coach Lovie Smith didn't have many positive comments decrying a defense that allowed the decidedly unexceptional Matt Leinart to complete nine of 10 passes. "Matt Leinart did this to you?" Waddell asked with a disbelieving tone as he voiced over the highlight of an Arizona touchdown pass.
The print media was equally unforgiving the following day.
"Distress Signals" and "Land of the Lost" cried the two headlines from the Chicago Tribune sports section, reporting on the Bears third loss in as many exhibition games. The Cubs are awful. The Sox are struggling to stay in the pennant race. The Bulls didn't sign Lebron. The Bears have looked terrible in the preseason.
There's only one question on the minds of Chicago sports fans: "when does Blackhawks season start?"
Before arriving in Wisconsin, Mark was a TV sports director at stations in Greensboro, the Quad Cities and Fort Smith, Arkansas. He got his first job at the ABC affiliate in Syracuse during his junior year at Syracuse University where he majored in TV and Radio at the Newhouse School.
Mark is an avid fan of all sports. He covered the Packers at Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans and has also reported on the Final Four, the Daytona 500, the Rose Bowl, the NLCS and the PGA and U.S. Open golf championships. He covered the GMO for 20 years. Mark played soccer in high school and is a passionate supporter of "The Beautiful Game." One of his greatest experiences was attending a UEFA Champions League game hosted by Real Madrid at Bernabeu Stadium.
Mark was born in Philadelphia but has happily made the transition from cheese steaks to cheese heads and is thrilled to now call Wisconsin home. He is currently president of Concannon Communications LLC and working on projects involving, writing, producing, voice-overs and public relations.