Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To All My Friends Who Are Bears Fans...Sorry?

To all my friends who like the Chicago Bears...sorry, but I have to write this down.

Your team went and got rid of Rex Grossman. Probably the smartest thing the organization could have ever done in their history. The boy, while great at the college level, just never matured to the point of being a great Pro quarterback.

The year that the Bears managed to get to the Superbowl was purely on the backs of a stellar defensive squad. In fact, during the NFC Championship game that year, it was the efforts of the defense that managed to win the game against the New Orleans Saints. And it wasn't enough to win the SuperBowl. The only thing consistent about Grossman's playing was its inconsistency. One half, or one game he'd be great, and then as quickly as the next game he'd put on one of the most mediocre performances ever.

Now you have Jay Cutler. The Green Bay defense hassled him all the first half and he threw 3 interceptions, and they only scored a measly safety for 2 points, thanks to their stellar defensive efforts. Then, in the 2nd half, he showed more poise, completing more passes and avoiding turnovers. He managed to throw a touchdown pass to Devin Hester to make it a competitive game. Brian Urlacher and a couple other defensemen were out of the game due to injuries at this point, and Green Bay's Aaron Rogers took full advantage of this, running a slightly smoother offense and allowing them to win the game. Green Bay's defense kept up and managed to cause Cutler to go back to his uncertainty in the first half mode.

Now, many of you know I'm an avid 49ers fan. And it's been a few years since I've really been able to follow football with my work schedule. so you're asking yourself, "how in the world could Mookie even know what the heck he's talking about?" A- I'm a football nut, who knows a lot about the sport, and B- its mostly common sense.

We 49er fans were spoiled with the combination of Joe Montana and Steve Young over the years. Two of the leagues most prolific quarterbacks over the history of the NFL. And since Steve Young's departure, we have had a litany of QB's come and go, and none of them were really worth a damn. We kept bringing in promising defensive backs, who by the time we trained them up to a level considered more than adequate, we'd trade them to teams who would then beat us with great secondary players we'd developed for them. It's pretty bad to go from being a football dynasty to the farm team for the league we have been for almost a decade now. Part of it was coaching. Most coaches came to San Francisco thinking they could ride the wave of greatness, only to lose a lot of the old team members wo helped make the 49ers a great team. And those coaches weren't good enough to produce the same greatness out of a bunch of 'nobodies.' Luckily for us, Mike Singletary, the legendary Bears defensive player from the 80s is our new coach. He is a no nonsense, high caliber personality when it comes to performing in games and his expectations of players. He isn't going to put up with prima donnas, and allow that kind of drama to take away from our efforts to field a competitive team, so hopefully, our win over the defending NFC Champs, the Arizona Cardinals, will be a sign of whats to come. Albeit, we'd like more than 30 yards rushing per game out of Frank Gore.

So now, the Bears, while they basically have the defense down pretty well, really need to learn to put together an offense to boot. And that starts with the quarterback. Trading for QB's who came from teams with an odd assortment of palymakers to help him, isn't going to be the answer. Otherwise, you'll just end up seeing the repeat of Rex Grossman, over and over and over.

Which brings me to Bret Favre (I pronounce it FAV-RAY because that's how its spelled dammit!) Favre is a great quarterback, no doubt about it. All this retiring and unretiring has dominated the sports news the past couple of years. And it really is tiring to listen too. I've never liked Favre, and part of that is that his Packers kept beating up my 49ers, and I've never been a Packers fan anyways (I lump this hatred as being equal to that of my hatred for the Dallas Cowboys- is there a rule that both can lose the game when playing each other?). The one thing Bret had to add to his great performances were playmakers for running backs and receivers. And he has good leadership qualities about him, to help them out in return. He will be a Hall of Famer, no doubt about it. When he went to the Jets, though, their offense was pretty much all about Favre. His supporting cast wasn't strong enough to get him anywhere significant.
Now he is with the Vikings. They looked okay on Sunday. Running back Adrian Peterson was clearly the star of that game however, and made Favre's efforts and leadership seem that more imposing. It could be that Favre has added his experience to improve the Vikings, or the skill of enough Viking players that will add to Favre's status. Either way, they should have a decent team. Far better than the Bears season is looking, if Week 1 was any indicator. The NFC North Division will be between Green Bay and Minnesota, with the Bears and Lions competing for 3rd place in the division.

A bit on Announcers

I think that John Madden, ever in love with Bret Favre, should be forced to unretire himself since Favre did. Their careers with the football world should (if they weren't to a degree already) be inextricably linked. That way we can here drooling commentary from Madden, over Favre's play, abilities, talents, liekability, etc. Also, more teleprompter drawings accompanying "BOOM, and BAM" (John Madden is the audio equivalent of the old Batman flare words), and other exclamation being used while pointing out generally obvious things to anyone who actually knows anything about football.

And if he wasn't so old, and set in his ways, I'd love to see Mr. Whoa Nellie himself, Keith Jackson, back on the announcing scoop. In my mind he is the best sports commentator ever. Not too much chit-chat during the lulls of the game, and he had a way of really ratcheting up the history and importance of certain games, venues, rivalries, along with the right amount of excitement when necessary. He is truly missed by the old school true fans of sports, not unlike myself. His style is a lost art. He coined University of Michigan's stadium "The Big House", and most viewers of college football knew that if Keith Jackson was announcing the game, it was the big game for that week. You know, back when all the network television stations actually showed you games from all around the country. Then Cable stations stole Americans right to watch all those football games and left them with dumb games like Notre Dame Vs anybody. Ahh, the era of good days gone by...kind of like the Bears Football program.


scotterb said...

Good analysis. As a Viking fan, I also am not ready to give up on Jackson as a future QB. I hope he learns from Favre, but clearly the Vikings are going to have to rely on Peterson this year.

In the 80s the Viking-Bear rivalry was huge, and my dad (who later would have season tickets to the Vikings and trek four and a half hours from Sioux Falls for every home game) and I were watching one of their epic battles.

Then, inexplicably, the game goes off the air to report some meeting from somewhere in Iceland where two guys named Gorbachev and Reagan were trying to make some kind of boring deal. Sheesh. Two or three times they interrupted the game. I had to wonder about the priorities of CBS (who had NFC rights at that time).

Mookie said...


I think, with the right tutelage, and some more actual playing experience, Jackson could be a decent QB. Rosenfels, who played at ISU (My alma mater..sorta), I'm just not sure on. He never seems to have gotten his shot, but who knows. For years, Steve Young was just the guy there in case Montana got hurt, and turned out to be one of the best QBs in history (including a trend towards QBs that can run, as planned instead of just fearing for their very lives!)

As for the Iceland Summit, yeah...wait for the news to come on. I thought the 'Heidi Bowl' issue a decade earlier had solved this issue of not taking away from game time short of imminent nuclear attack!

I am however disappointed, Scott, that you didn't expand on my love for Keith Jackson as an announcer!

scotterb said...

I still remember Steve Young running through the Viking defense to hand us a heart breaking defeat back in 1988, it was unbelievable and for Vikings fans painful:

Now, though I have a video I can watch to ease that pain:

Mookie said...

Scott, yeah I remember watching that Steve Young run against the Vikings....I was a happy happy boy that day!