It was about this time 21 years ago.
I was working at KSTP-AM. We were getting our Super Bowl predictions – Bears versus the Patriots -together.
Everyone knew the Pats were going to tip the Bears. Even the station’s Chicago boys, Mike Edwards and Don Vogel, just knew Jim McMahon couldn’t cut it in the big game.
Of all the people at the station, I was alone in predicting a Bears blowout. Everyone laughed. The Bears? Pffft.
Of course I, alone, was right.
So it’s 2007. Conventional wisdom spoke again. Everyone knew it was true.
“Grossman will choke in the playoffs”. Fans of lesser teams repeated it like a comforting mantra. “The Saints will pull it out”.
And again – for the second time in my life – I say “Hah!”
The Chicago Bears know how to make a Super Bowl memorable. They’re making this one historic long before it’s played.Dissed all season long, Rex Grossman and Co. are heading to the big game for the first time since 1985 after rolling over the New Orleans Saints 39-14 Sunday, and Da Coach leading them there makes it all the more special.
“Grossman will choke in the playoffs”.
Lovie Smith became the first black head coach to reach the NFL’s marquee game in its 41-year history and roughly four hours later, his good pal and mentor Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts joined him.
“I’ll feel even better to be the first black coach to hold up the world championship trophy,” Smith said after the Bears won the NFC championship.
While on the one hand it’s kind of a can’t-lose – I’ve met Tony Dungy, and he’s a great guy – I’m all with Da Bears. The team everyone said couldn’t do it.
And America needs the Bears to win. Great things happen when the Bears go downtown. The Bears won their first NFL Championships in the thirties, at the bottom of the Depression – some might say that they started the recovery. The 1940 NFL Championship – where Sid Luckman led the Bears to a 73-0 victory (that everyone said they were going to lose!) to the Washington Redskins corresponded with the realization that Britain would, indeed, stand firm against the Nazis. The Bears last pre-Super-Bowl NFC Championship – 1963 – marked the last year of genuine bipartisan foreign policy in this country. The Bears last Super Bowl happened at the peak of the Cold War, in the dark days of 1986 – and, in its own way, was a harbinger of the end of that struggle and the fall of Communism. The Bears’ victory was a validation of Reagan’s philosophy, one this nation needed in that dismal season; with the turning back of the Patriots, socialism was defeated at the darkest houir of the American way, steeling our courage for the struggle ahead. In an indirect way, hundreds of millions owe their liberty to the Bears.
This has been a crappy week for America; a Bears victory will be the turning point this country needs.
The world’s hopes and dreams focus on the Bears this week. And I have faith they won’t let us – and the world, and history itself – down.
I’m waiting to see which of the usual commenters will flagrantly miss the tongue-in-cheekness (mostly) of the above.