Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Big Pile of Humbug

I am not a "Christmas Cheer" person. It is a bunch of contrived and insincere bullshit. We can't be nice to others the other 11 months of the year? Really, are people kinder to each other during the Christmas season? No, they run each other over and display no patience with their fellow man as they prowl the malls looking for holiday swag. How jolly. It is a mad rush to get to a day of consumption. U.S.A. !!!

Merry Christmas to the Atlanta Falcons and the Arkansas Razorback football players. Rookie Falcon head coach, Bobby Petrino, pulls a "duck" and leaves the franchise with three games left and doesn't have the balls to face the players and tell them. A "duck" is the move you make at a bar, when you want to get out of there and one guy keeps calling you a "pussy" and keeps buying rounds. You go to the bathroom and sneak out the back door without saying goodbye. It's a weenie move. Man up and tell your boys that you are cutting out. Really.

Anyway, this bag of crap leaves his team because he can't hack it and runs back to college. Now, the poor Arkansas football players, who can't choose their coach, are stuck with this low-life. One recruit withdrew his commitment and told the truth; He couldn't play for a guy who was so obviously untrustworthy. Good for him. Shame on the Arkansas AD for enabling this kind of behavior and subjecting young men to this mercenary asshole.

Petrino made $5 million with the Falcons and will make 3 million instead with Arkansas. With this kind of money, these coaches could give a care. The man has no honor, no sense of responsibility, no commitment and has no qualities of a real man. Petrino has the nerve to tell the media that he doesn't want to "dwell on the past," but wants to "look to the future." Of course he does. That serves his interests and allows him to avoid looking in the mirror. To top it all off, he acts like a real clown at the Arkansas press conference, one day after ass-reaming the NFL Falcons, by doing the Razorback "SOOEY PIG" cheer with a big "I just got paroled" smile on his face. If I was an Atlanta player, I would hunt Petrino down, slap in the face and tell him, as Don Corleone told Johnny Fontaine, "You can ACT LIKE A MAN!!!" How can this guy look at his children with any shred of self-respect.

Merry Christmas to Bear fans everywhere. What did Santa Papa Bear get us this year? A coach who is so arrogant and stupid that he can't take media questions about his sorry-ass team. Lovie needs to start telling the truth. He owes it to Bear fans. We buy the tickets; we allow him to make a living coaching a game; we help pay his salary. Maybe Lovie doesn't feel the "media" is entitled to know why Greg Olsen is not on the field, but I am entitled to know. They won't let me ask the questions to Lovie, so the writers do. Answer the questions, honestly. It's football not national security. I am really sick of this guy. Is this obvious?

Forgive my Grinchy frown. Christmas to me is about the five faces I see every morning. It is about the people I love and respect outside my four walls. It is about the birth of a savior, a faith in the goodness of man and a hope of heaven. To me, that is a daily reflection. In my world, everyday is Christmas.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

This Is What I'm Talking About...No, It's Not the Bears.

If you caught the Monday Night tilt between the Patriots and Ravens, you saw professional football at its best. The great thing about the Pats quest to go undefeated is watching their opponents elevate their play and effort to the highest level. The Ravens played their asses off. The Pats fought for their 12-0 lives. It was not about money last night. It was about pride. It was about beating and being the best. It was the finest football players in the world playing at their peak. You don't see this kind of game during the regular season very often. Lately, the Pats are getting to play in these games. I have said it before and will say it again, watch this team.

That being said, the Ravens are whining like bitches. "The refs stole the game." Bullshit. I love it when the losing player says, "You can't call a penalty on fourth down or in the fourth quarter. Let the players decide it on the field." Well, that is fine, unless you actually commit a penalty that gives you an unfair advantage on fourth down or in the fourth quarter. The Ravens DB held the Pats receiver on fourth down with the game on the line. It was clear. He held him. The ref is supposed to eat the flag? How is that fair? You don't get to cheat because it is fourth down with the game on the line. The Ravens' complaints diminish what I considered a tremendous game on their part. They had their chances with the ball. They couldn't get it done. Look in the mirror, lads.

After a third down hold by New England forcing a punt late in the game, Patriot safety Rodney Harrison walked past the Ravens bench and talked some smack. This caused Ravens Coach Brian Billick to make three "kissing-smooch" faces to Harrison. This was hilarious on multiple levels. First of all, this game was so fierce, all professionalism was thrown out the window. This was a street fight. Good Times. More importantly, it highlighted the fact that Billick has no lips. Can a man with no lips effectively perform the "kiss-smooch" face? Did Harrison win the confrontation because of Billick's liplessness? We don't even know what Harrison said to provoke the "kisses." Does Billick maintain credibility without lips? It is like having the Larry Linville "Frank Burns" character from M.A.S.H as your head coach. Rod Blagoevich has no lips. This does not bode well for Billick.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just Look Away. It Only Hurts for a Second.

People always come up to me and ask "How can you get excited and root for these Bears when they play like this." OK, no one really comes up to me, ever, and asks me about the Bears. I think I scare people a little. The answer is "I don't stay excited." I am easily able to lose interest in a pathetic Bear team. I can look at the talent, the coaching and be objective in my fandom. I am grounded in reality when it comes to the Bears. I will watch every game despite their record. But my love of football does not rest solely on the Bears. I love sports and competition. That is what inspires me and that has been true since I was a little fan.

When I was a kid, if I wasn't playing sports, I was watching sports or reading about sports. I was always playing ball outside with my friends. I could always find a game or get one going. I watched every sport I could find on the 6 channels we used to get back in the 70's and 80's. When ESPN was born, I was there. I have read every decent sports book ever written. That was fanaticism. My roommate in college and I just talked about this same thing, how sports-obsessed we were. He is one of my best friends. That is the foundation of our relationship. It is always our shared experiences at games. That is where it all gets done. We talk about our lives, dreams, goals, setbacks and accomplishments while either at a game or watching the game or calling to talk about the game. It is what my father and I always shared until the end. It was one of my great accomplishments in life to take my dad to great games and get great seats. I promised myself I would do that. I also told him how much it meant for me to do that with him. The few people that I consider my best friends are sports fanatics. It is not a long list of people, but it is a long list of games.

As I have gotten older, my sports obsession has waned. I have narrowed the field tremendously. Football season and college basketball until March Madness and then I go on hiatus. I have dropped the baseball and the Australian Rules football. My attachment to a particular player is all but gone. It is the pure competition that keeps me interested, that and a chance to see a game with my friends. I could be in the endzone at Montini, the visiting fans section in Gainesville, up and in the corner for the Illini comeback to go to the Final Four (remember that one), high up on Rocky Top or at the Bears NFC championship game with my new sports buddy, and I can feel like a kid for just a few hours. A family of four and a law practice means I can't act like a kid, but I can pretend.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stop. Hey. What's That Sound? It's Cedric Benson Falling Down.

I have heard enough talk about this pathetic Bear rushing attack to last a lifetime. It is a very simple issue. The guy that they hand the ball won't run hard through the line of scrimmage. I will be the first one to tell you that the Bears O-line is overrated. But they are not "worst in the league" bad. Cedric Benson is that bad. Just watch him stop at the line of scrimmage or tip-toe to the blocking. It is sickening. He also has this delusion that he can go sideways like Barry Sanders. Uh, no, you cannot. On top of it all, he hasn't broken a tackle all year. It infuriates me that Lovie Smith will not admit that they can't get it done with Benson. It makes me realize how much rebuilding is necessary. I am disheartened.

Another problem is this Tommy Harris. He is very undisciplined and, this really hurts to say, selfish. It starts with that jumping the snap count stuff that he pulled early this year. The Bear coaches got that nonsense under control. But now he is not doing his job. He is over penetrating, looking for stats and sacks, and that makes the D vulnerable to the run. I have been watching this for weeks, and hoped it was a desperate effort to make something good happen. Now, I see it as selfish. He is a two gap control tackle. He sack numbers should not be high. They are not needed in this scheme. Also, Mark Anderson should only be playing on passing downs. He over penetrates on every play. I think Alex Brown is getting the shaft. He is a more consistent run defender. He is a good teammate; he does his job. It kills me that Alfonso Boone is having a great year in Kansas City. This is another example of the incompetence of our player evaluation. I believe that Lovie is now more involved with the personnel decisions. This is the result. Let's let Jerry Angelo run that show. I would not be surprised to hear this leak out.

Can we permanently acknowledge that we suck on offense and blow this thing up? I did enjoy seeing the return of the deep ball to Berrian. The Raider game was a stinker. Unwatchable. Seattle is solid and efficient. Hopefully, a loss will stop any and I mean ANY talk of playoffs. If this Bear team makes the playoffs, the NFL should disband for one year, reduce the number of teams, and start over in 2009 with a better product. This parity bullshit is making for bad football. There are 4 teams playing good football on a consistent basis. The rest are crap. The beat down that the Patriots are putting on the league exposes the crap. It really is getting too complicated. More play, less think. Who wants these idiots thinking anyway?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bears Not Needed to Induce Labor

No need to fall back on the child-birth last resort, watching the 2007 Bears to kick start Kathleen's contractions. With the past bye week, the baby was allowed to remain in utero for another few days. It's Friday, November 9, 2007, and it looks like the baby is coming today. Hopefully, we will be watching the Bears/Raiders game at home, suffering as a family.

Ruben Brown, offensive guard emeritus, has been placed on the DL and is lost for the season. Good riddance. He lowers the team's average age a whole year just by his removal from the roster.

Pro Football Weekly (I am a subscriber) rips Lovie Smith in this week's issue. The most compelling point made is that Lovie sucks at player evaluation. I agree. He has to get out of the player personnel business and focus solely on coaching. Standing pat on offense this past off-season was a major blunder. You saw this coming. He needs to show a little less loyalty to unproductive players. A sense of urgency is needed in that locker room. That and a fear of losing your job. See the work product of Jimmy Johnson and Bill Belichick. When money is involved, fear can be extremely motivating.

If the Bears can get Michael Turner (RB-San Diego) in free agency after this season, it will be a good off-season. We need him, bad. They need to make a strong push for him. I also see Donovan McNabb popping up as a potential future Bear. I am O.K. with that as long as the price is not out of control. There was also mention of J.P. Losman. Noooooo! Run for the hills. I have three words for that guy. Rex Grossman Lite.

If the Bears are serious about getting better, we should see Kyle Orton very soon. Remember, Orton has started in the League and has won some games. After a few years on the sideline, I am curios to see what he has got. No harm in trying. Really, where are we going with this season.

I watched the replay of the Adrian Peterson record-shattering rushing game vs. San Diego. Mind you, AP is the goods. Strength and speed to burn, runs hard, plays behind his pads and has the vision all great backs have. Also, San Diego's run defense is no pushover. But folks, that team blocked superbly. The line, receivers and tight end put on a clinic. They should print copies of that tape and sell it to coaches because that was zone blocking done to perfection. Stay with those blocks, Old Bears.

Off to the Hospital. New Bears fan coming. Some father I am, subjecting my daughter to a lifetime of futile fandom. Well, why should she get to be happy?

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Dollop of WhipCream on a Crap Sundae

I didn't come up with the caption above, but I like it. It sums up how I feel about anything good that the Bears accomplish this season. We are getting no closer to a championship team. In fact, we are moving further away from a Super Bowl. It is time to find out who can play at the highest level. If you can't, then beat it.

I hate the survival instinct of NFL coaches. They have to win to save their jobs. So as a result, they try to win "right now" as opposed to doing what is best for the future. As a fan, I could care less about these coaches. If we are not good enough to win the Super Bowl this year, I don't care if we scrape together 8 or 9 wins and lose a playoff game. I want to do whatever it takes to get better. If Benson sucks, don't play him and put in someone or find someone who can. Let's find out if Kyle Orton can play. Play some rookies and backups. Make this season worthwhile instead of hitting up fans for worthless playoff tickets .

Speaking of "who can't," Cedric Benson tops the list. I would love to continue to delude myself into believing that the "lightswitch" will soon be flipped on, but really, I would be wasting energy. He cannot do this NFL running back thing. He is a bust. We wasted a first round draft pick on this load. Lovie still wants us to buy his theory that we are a running team. How much more of this coach can we stand? My boys at FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS.COM have the Bears rush offense DEAD LAST! (Wow, caps and excessive punctuation) So, we must be a passing team because our pass offense is 27th out of 32 teams. Why doesn't Lovie just tell us that we actually have won all 7 games. Maybe we'll believe that too. Fuckin' lying bastard. It's like passing a kidney stone, writing this.

I have not been to a game since Dallas, and I'm not going back this year. I can't sit out there, frustrated, with all that is going on at home and at work. It is a long day. Better to be home and shut off the TV if necessary. I want the comfort of home while I suffer. Wouldn't we all like to die in our own beds with our loved ones by our side? Is this too extreme of an example?

I will be tailgating in my driveway this Sunday. Sunny and temps in the 50's. I will roll out the big Weber, play some bags with the girls and fire up some brats and burgers. Maybe I can get the cable hooked up and watch the game outside. I have always wanted to do this. Big aspirations, I know. Also, I am aware that some may wonder how I can celebrate a Bears Sunday after my increasingly negative comments and outlook. That's the M.O. of an addict, enthused about the next fix yet certain to rage against the subsequent crash. At least the grill never disappoints.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yeah, I've Been Watching.

It's been awhile; I'm busy with life. Just closed out a frustrating 6th grade football season with two straight wins. Final record 2-6. Glad it's over. Also, I just found out that I have a new daughter coming in 26 days, and, you will love this, I am a lawyer. Back to work, old man. College and weddings and Bears.

I watched the Bears play one great defensive half of football and steal a win in Green Bay. Possible season saver. Then, an absolute disgraceful performance against Minnesota...quoting Michael Corleone..."IN MY HOME! WHERE MY WIFE SLEEPS, WHERE MY CHILDREN PLAY WITH THEIR TOYS!" The Bears defense must return the title of "formidable defense." As my Jewish buddy says, "They are an ashande to the goyim." That means "they suck." I can't even talk about this, I will break out in hives.

I have been in this situation before. By situation, I mean where the season is over by week 7. These are the Chicago Bears; lousy seasons are not rare. That is when you must find the college game, or even better, high school football. If you feed the addiction by overdosing on ballgames Friday night and Saturday, you can actually go to the mall, shop, miss the Bears game, avoid the gut-punch fallout after they play like crap, and actually enjoy a Sunday in autumn. Much easier to do if you live downtown-lots to do. In WESTBURBIA, it's the mall.

As for this week, wait who do they play, oh yeah, Philly at Philly. By the way, the cheesesteak, not overrated. The Eagles are reeling. Nothing like a late afternoon with Lovie to get them healthy. That's pessimistic, but I am pissed. A rookie running back sets an all-time rushing record against a Bears defense that supposedly turned the corner. Our running back can't stop slamming into the backs of his own lineman. We pay him millions to sniff their asses. Where is that hydrocortisone cream? I am itchy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

This Squeeky Wheel Gets No Griese

I'm not surprised by Sunday's loss. I am dizzy from the slew of injuries. That's the NFL, folks. I wish some more offensive players would get injured or, spontaneously combust so that Jerry Angelo and the Muffin would start beating the bushes for some offensive talent. I warned you about this quarterback thing. It is a band-aid on a severed aorta. Blood everywhere. We ignored the offense all off-season, and now, it is biting us in the ass. Normally, I take no solace in another's misery when attempting to soothe my wounds. Alas, this is a new day, season, miserable situation. I could be a Charger fan. They fire their coach after a 14-2 season. They hire a coach with a losing record. They have the best running back in football. Everyone is more relaxed and comfortable. They are planning for a trip to Arizona for SB42. WHAM!! They are 1-3 and staring into the abyss (Pats and Colts). Lost at home to the CHIEF. At least they have great weather. Shit, that would make THERE better than HERE. I am not feeling well again. Time to move on.

I also take some solace in the knowledge that no one is beating the Pats or the Colts. You have to watch the Patriots any time they are on the tube. I have not seen such domination since, well, hmmmm, the Patriots of 2003-2004. More dominant than that group, at least offensively. Great players, great coaches, great management, great ownership, you getting the picture. Not great weather, however.

I tried the Portillo's chocolate shake. I should say, "I attempted to try the Portillo's chocolate shake." It did not go over so well. I drove with Maggie to the Portillo's on Ogden at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The drive-thru was jammed, so we decided to go inside. There were 1,500 people in there. No wonder why Americans are so fat; you can't eat dinner, especially that food, so late at night. Unless they are hitting the treadmill later that evening, that gut bomb is with you until the a.m. I am sure they are removing the buns and fries. Nevertheless, we ordered two small chocolate milkshakes and proceeded to weave through the sea of humanity to await our dessert. We waited and waited. After Maggie and I solved several domestic policy problems for the Bush administration, our shakes arrived. Only they were "Chocolate Cake Shakes." Yes, that's right, and they tasted as bad as you are now imagining. No way was I going back into that quagmire of Naper-villains; I just wanted out. Anyway, their shakes come out of a dispenser which automatically eliminates Portillo's as a contender. Oberweiss Forever.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hey Lovie, I'm Not Booking a Trip to Arizona in February

The Post-Rex era begins in earnest. That is what the people and, most likely, the Bears players wanted. I wanted it too, but that doesn't mean that I feel good about it. In fact, I am upset and a little nauseated. The fact that this move to Griese had to happen is a bad thing for my team. Bad in many ways.

1. We spent a first round draft pick and paid for a franchise quarterback. The pick has busted. We have wasted five years on this guy, declining to develop another young QB and now our franchise is as well off as a Krispy Kream franchise. No value. Rex will be gone before June 1, 2008. Sayonara.

2. The "Rexplacement" will now highlight, to all you non-stop Rex-bashers, the lack of talent on this offense. Let's face it, Lovie and Angelo rolled the same beat up Ford out to camp, didn't give it a tune-up, threw a fresh coat of paint on it (Hester?) and tried to sell it to us as a new, sexy BMW. They stink. The QB is only one of the stinkees. The line cannot block, the receivers cannot get open nor catch and the backs are slow and fumble-prone. I am visualizing the next "wasted first-round draft pick blog entry" AKA "Cedric the Unentertaining." The horror.

3. It took so long to get to this finger-in-the-dike benching that we have practically killed our once stout and proud defense. Six starters are down because that offense could not stay on the field. Griese will move the chains, get some positive field position and protect the ball. Can he get us points? With what we have left on D, those poor slobs are going to get scored upon. We have to score on offense. I am not taking the over.

4. We are not going back to the Super Bowl. We will have to fight for the NFC North. We will not have a home playoff game. I hate writing this stuff, but it's true.

We have not made a halftime adjustment, ever. The one great second half the Bears have played under the current administration was in the NFC title game. The players responded to the Reggie Bush taunt and beat the Saints ass in the fourth quarter. Name me one other game where the Bears outplayed the opponent in the second half. I'm still waiting.

I hate Smith and Turner. They decided that it was O.K. to go with this pile of crap. They cannot evaluate offensive talent. If you cheered for another team, what player on this offense would you love to have? See what I mean? I only say this because I want you to understand...this benching is a season killer. And I want you to be as sick about it as I am.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The True Test

A true athlete or competitor knows when the crucial moment of a game or a season is upon them. It is a moment when one understands that the next play or minute will decide the outcome of the contest. If they don't know or realize the moment, they will lose. On Sunday, the Bears have such a moment. The Dallas game will expose what kind of team that we have. When you watch this game understand that you are watching a season-defining game. It will truly be a revealing night.

This is also a season-defining tailgate for me. The pressure is palpable. I will not be attending many games this season. I also will not be cooking with the kind of motivation that I will have on Sunday. I aim to please my guests with a full yet diverse menu. I promise I will not "Bad Rex" this opportunity to grill.

If you are watching on television, may I suggest a "Rex" drinking game. Every time the announcers mention Grossman and the reference is not in regard to a play that is happening or has just happened, you must drink. In preperation for this game, please purchase a large amount of your favorite alcoholic beverage and prepare to use a sick day on Monday. You think the guy hung a dog or something. He is just a lousy football player.

As predicted, Tank Johnson got a job in the NFL. This should be no suprise because Leonard Little always had a job, and he killed a human being. The only way to be banned from the league is to bet on another player killing more than one human being while that player is using a banned substance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Matriculate the Ball Down the Field, Boys.

The late, great Hank Stram, offensive innovator par excellence, would have projectile vomited at the offensive display put on at Soldier Chase Bank Oscar Mayer Wiener Field this past Sunday. The Bear and Chief offenses suck lemons. With four minutes remaining and in possession of the football, with a chance to ice the game, The Bears O goes on a 25 second drive. The Bears defensive players are taking up a collection to sign one good offensive player. It is a disgrace. I want to poke a stick in my eye. Can't we keep the defense off the field for a couple of minutes in a row? I am getting stomach cramps just thinking about this.

If you love the Bears, then don't watch the Patriots. It will make you want to walk into oncoming traffic. They are Super-powered. The football in the AFC is really good. The Bears have to do something epic to even attempt to be competitive with the AFC's best. They have the D and the special teams. They also have, in my opinion, a full-fledged quarterback controversy. Better QB play gives us a chance at a Super Bowl. Otherwise, we are conceding that all we can get is a runner-up trophy, again.

I sold my tickets for $70 over face value. The girl that bought them got her money's worth. Devin Hester needs his own theater at Caesar's Palace. The man can put butts in the seats. He is awesome. I have seen him return three kicks for TDs in person. There is no more exhilarating player in the league. 10 seconds of pure adrenaline. Even if he doesn't break one, you hold your breath. He is the best returner that I have ever seen. Watch those potty breaks, you don't want to miss him.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"A $5 Milkshake? That's Just Milk and Ice Cream, Right? Do You Put a Shot of Rum in There?"

One of my great culinary quests is to find the best chocolate milkshake in the world. I know this is not a complicated search considering the limited ingredients. Charlie Trotter, I am not. However, a chocolate milkshake is my favorite dessert. Thus, the quest. After 30 years of questing, I do have a favorite. I will share my findings with you, my two readers.

First off, I will give a favorable review to a "well-priced" shake. My best bang-for-the-buck chocolate shake goes to Dairy Queen. A small runs about $2.50 and has good chocolate flavor and loses nothing with the soft serve ice cream. Always a solid "cheap eat."

By far, the best chocolate shake belongs to Oberweis. It is expensive, $6 a pop. When ordering this monstrosity, I have a flashback to Pulp Fiction when Vincent Vega is initially incredulous about the price of a milkshake at Jack Rabbit Slim's. (See caption). When I taste the Oberweis shake, Vince and I have the same reaction. "That's a pretty f-ing good milkshake. I don't know if it's worth $6 but it's pretty f-ing good." And it is. And it is HUGE. So, you get your money's worth in volume. In the end, no shake can touch it.

I will add that Potbelly has a good milkshake. They also give you two small butter cookies on the straw. This is the kind of personal touch that moves me. After all, who doesn't need a butter cookie now and then. It makes me feel young. Also, McDonald's has tweaked their shakes in a good way. It is cheap, and if you are in a hurry to consume some calories, you can't beat the drive thru.

Now to the purpose of this blog, the Bears. I am not going to the opener. I am boycotting until they win or until they play a night game against Dallas. I fully expect that the Bears offense will score, and the CHIEF will be vanquished. It doesn't change the fact that:
1. The Coaches call a weeny game against good teams on the road.
2. Lovie Smith lies to us on a daily basis.
3. I have relinquished my seat on the "Rex Grossman Experience" roller-coaster ride.

I came to point number 3 in my usual high-traffic, alone-time on the commute. I listened to "Deepak" Smith drone on about the positives of last Sunday's "puss-out" and realized that Lovie had point number 2ed me on Grossman. He doesn't believe that Grossman can win them a big game. He never did. He really doesn't know if Rex can win them a big game. I then realized that I had just eaten from the tree of knowledge. I realized that I was naked, not literally (arrestable offense), but in my blind allegiance to the man. I am weak like that. Despite the sinking feeling, it is better this way. I can enjoy more college football and the beauty of perfect weather on a fall weekend. Perspective folks, is priceless.

Monday, September 10, 2007

If You Want to Run with the Big Dogs...You Have to Piss on the Big Trees

Bears 3-Chargers 14

With a night to sleep on it and some a.m. reflection, I will convey my disappointment. When you get an opportunity to play a game against an elite team, you must bring all the ammo in the arsenal. You play to win and in order to do that you must be bold in your planning and dynamic in your execution. I saw that on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, I saw caution and unimaginative play-calling.

The turnovers were costly, and lost them the game. But do you really feel that the Bears played to win on offense? If the turnovers had not happened, did you get the sense that the Bears would go for the kill? I did not. I never get the feeling in a really big matchup that the Bears staff has the confidence to let it all hang out and play to win on offense. The tentative play-calling is a problem. You don't slay the dragon with a dull, small blade. It is a philosophy that does not win championships. You can beat the Lions, Vikings and Packers with this unimaginative style, but it fails against the elite, the Chargers, the Patriots and the Colts.

It is the same feeling I got with the New England game last year. They want to hang around until the end, and maybe they will pull it out. That's weak. Do they really think Rex can pull out a close one at the end? Yesterday, they certainly did not give him the chance to win the game. Many people think that Rex is not that kind of quarterback. The people who really count are the Bears and their coaches. If they think Rex is the guy, then call that kind of game. If not, put in Griese and grind out the wins. Certainly, don't pay Rex for "managing" the game. That is not why you draft a QB in the first round. Either believe in him or let him go.

The defense was awesome. They were on the field way too long in the 2nd half. Note to Ron Turner, when the Chargers Hall of Fame running back, LaDanian Tomlinson was shut down, they let him throw a pass, near the goal line, for a touchdown. That is dynamic. Ron, you get paid to make the adjustments, so adjust. If it's broken, fix it. Or be gone.

Did you all think that the Bears were going to run all over SD? C'mon, they also have an elite defense. There are signs of a problem, though. The offensive line is not that good. I don't understand how the "expert media" gets this so wrong. Olin Kreutz is a player. The rest of those guys are old and more worrisome, slow. That is why the Bears have trouble with the 3-4 defense. Those defenses are fast. The line's heavy feet is why the pass protection is so bad against the good defenses. Couple that slowness with Benson's running style and you see the problem. Cedric shows no vision as a runner; he is all one hole and downhill. I hate to say it, but Thomas Jones made that line look better. He gave the line the comfort of not being perfect. Without that vision, the Cedric running game becomes one dimensional. That being said, AP ran well, quick to the hole and elusive with over 4 yards a carry. Its the fumbles.

The Chargers eliminated the special team threat. If the Chargers are not going to allow Hester to return punts, why didn't the Bears let him return the kickoffs? The defense did not score. They have got to score on offense. At least, they have got to try.

The Bears can make the playoffs in their weak division. That is not what we are looking for. We need to be a great team. This first test for greatness was a failure.

Monday, September 3, 2007

It's Getting Better All the Time.

I noticed that recently departed, Dtackle Ian Scott, was released by his new team. Just another example of the Bears GM and coaches constantly evaluating their own talent. That is an important part of the salary cap NFL success process. Not only must you evaluate the college players and NFL players on other teams, you must continue to truthfully evaluate your own talent. Bill Belichick is the master at this skill. The Bears did not value Scott at the price he would demand with the injury he was recovering from, so they let him go. Then, they went out and bolstered their depth at the position. The Bears are working within the current system with great success. It makes me feel warm all over.

I am ready for the real game on Sunday. I am bringing the lunch pail along with the Monsters. 11 wins and a home playoff game is the goal. More importantly, they must be a tougher team than last year. Mentally tougher. In order to beat the best on a regular basis, the Bears have to be better than last year right now. Then by Week 17, they must be even better. Not just one guy, all of the guys. Stay healthy, boys.

I'm not pulling any punches this year. Our window is closing with these players. Now is the time. Keep that chip on the shoulder. Arizona in January sounds great. Anything less is unacceptable. I will rip 'em.

On Labor Day, I must grill with charcoal. I have a turkey breast on the big Weber right now. Baked potatoes and corn to follow. Good year for the sweet corn. Reminds me of a tailgate tale. One opener vs. the Lions, I rode with my crew; I had not yet taken the cooking reigns in my own hands. Kevin had brought a good size grill, a larger Smokey Joe, and had put a bag of pre-lit charcoal in the belly of the grill. The bag took up all of the space in the grill. I pulled the bag out to dump in some coals. Kevin's pal, Billy, said, "No, just light the whole bag inside the grill." I protested but to no avail. He lit the bag, and soon, a geyser of flame erupted from the small grill. You couldn't get within 10 feet of that thing. It was like cooking on the sun. That day made me. I took over the tailgating from there on. I also got my first lesson on heat control. Along with some flame-induced eyebrow removal.

Friday, August 31, 2007

I Wish I Was in Dixie.

I love the South. Not the Southside, but the South. Any chance that I get to travel down below Springfield is worth taking. I mean, they even have sweet tea and great barbecue in southern Illinois. However, I would like to keep going and get deep in the heart of Dixie. That is where my football obsession would be seen as a personality strength.

I have been to three SEC football games, and they put the football-North to shame. Knoxville, Gainesville and Baton Rouge-Tennessee, Florida and LSU, respectively. UT was the best. "Rocky Top" on permanent rotation, orange everywhere, nicest people and kick-ass stadium. I'm going back...someday soon. The fans in all three spots were relentless. As much as I hate Florida, Gator fans are the best. They stand throughout the game, cheer loudly, sing songs, do that stupid "gator chomp", they are the closest thing to English soccer fans as America can provide. LSU was alright. We missed the real tailgating due to our late arrival. I hear the campus is beautiful, but the stadium is overrated. Maybe a night game...hmmm.

They are college football crazy. Being from the North, I am mainly an NFL-Bears guy. However, I will always catch those SEC games on the tube. And pine for those tailgates under the palmetto or pecan trees. I bet there are no itch mites down in football paradise.

As for the last practice game, we got a knee to the groin with an Olsen sprained knee. No need for him to be out there, Love Muffin. Just admit the mistake. This guy is starting to sound like a politician. All I know is that on September 9, they best be ready to play. I will not concede this game because it is on the road and against an AFC power. No excuses, just win, baby.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Well Attended Practice

Another full house at Chase Field at Soldier Field at the former site of the Old Soldier Field Stadium for the 3rd practice game. Our Bears scored 31 points in the first half. In the past ten quarters at home over the past three seasons, the Bears have outscored the 49ers, 389-13 or something like that. Also, Nathan Vasher returned a missed field goal 105 yards for a touchdown against the Niners three years ago. That occurred with 20 seconds to go in the first half of that game. Many fans missed that play because they sprinted to the bathroom lines. Some advice: drink less-watch more football.

It was great to be in the south lot for the tailgating. One problem, the parking police put us in front-gating position. This sucks. You spend a lot of money for that parking. You park in that lot to tailgate. Allow our tail to be gated. My kids love to sit on the open trunk bumper (don't ask me why), and I want to afford them this ridiculous but necessary pleasure. Nevertheless, I enjoy being around lit grills and semi-lit fans. My rub was in good form, but I will not buy my pork chops from Jewel again. I know this yet I did it anyway. I blame the weight loss. Still cannot beat the Johnsonvilles.

Question: Why four preseason games?
Answer: 2 soft drinks and a cotton candy...$17.50.

Lance Briggs can't drive but boy, can he play. I can just picture old Lance getting that $1,000,000 check from the Bears and running off to the expensive car dealer and pulling a Tony Montana. "How much for this one?...Is that all? Allright, Manny, bulletproof this, here, this. And get me one of those scanners. And one of those scramblers for those satellites. What, gun-turrets are extra? You're a funny guy." Lance is looking to land one of those "lady-tigers." Just don't ask Urlacher to set you up.

Monday, August 20, 2007


All right, you can't fumble snaps. You can't. Ever. Never. Ever. It's like misspelling your own name. Once September 9th rolls around, I better not see that. No contract.

Now for something completely different. Peyton Manning is so good at taking advantage of what you do well, he forces you into changing your scheme. Manning forces the Bears out of the Cover-2. The Bears played man-to-man on that drive where Harrison and Wayne seemed to get tons of cushion. You cannot roll up and bump those two; they are too good. The Bears will concede the yardage between the twenties, try to shorten the area in which those two can roam and take their chances. I want to hate Manning, but he is too goddamn good. He is so frustrating to watch when he plays your team. He makes you feel as if you have no chance.

I did not see the Bears run anything but vanilla offense with the firsts. No slot with Olsen, no real downfield attempts. It's practice, I guess. I notice that they never seem to run the slants with Rex. He might be too short for that throw. I would hate to think that was true. Griese gets that call alot. I still believe that you can't win without a QB that can put pressure on the opposing defense. You just can't have him lose games. He is testing my faith. Like a pedophile priest.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm Buggin' Out

I am a victim of the latest outbreak of unidentified biting insects. I have 11 or 12 of these mysterious bites on my neck, arms and torso. The "experts" are attributing these bites to an unknown "itch mite." All I can tell you is that these bites itch and hurt. Quite a combo. I have been outside in the evenings with the football at a park in Hinsdale. You think those rich pricks could by a fogger or some shit. I must remember the DeepWoods Off.

All is quiet in Bourboncity. No injuries to be concerned about. Knock on wood. A long wait until Monday night versus the Colt. Watch the new Colt left tackle, rookie Tony Ugoh. He was thrust into the starting lineup when longtime vet Tarik Glenn suddenly retired. I am eager to see Mark Anderson take on the rook. Other than that, 3 series and out for the starters. And Peyton Manning's neck.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Takin' Care of Business

The Bears came out of the first exhibition game with a solid B in performance and an A for "nobody gets a season-ending torn Achilles tendon." The offense got the ball moving, and Rex looked like he could see the field. Big plus: opponents will have few answers for Greg Olsen. He looks like the real deal. Defensively, aggressive play was the theme. The DB's went after that football like bobcats stuck in phone booths. Need to see some pass rush next week. All this talk about a battle for left end left me wondering who really cares about these two, Agounlye and Brown. Let's get after it!

Coach Ditka kills me. He talks so fast, he doesn't finish his words. "The Bears have a very good defen... just not a grea defen." Also, he said that the Bears are becoming America's team, replacing the Dallas Cowboys. Huh? Just because there are displaced Chicagoans around America does not make the Bears "America's Team." I doubt we are converting those Patriot fans like Christians convert Botswanians. Right, Dave? I would love to hear the Coach all season. A true Chicago treasure.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Little" Game this Saturday.

Optimism continues to run unchecked down there in Bearbonnaise. We will see the starters play about two series on Saturday night. Anything short of a dominant 14-0 lead midway through the 1st quarter will cause a disturbance in the "force." Just wait for the mood swings on Monday if Rex tosses a pick. My heart is aflutter with anticipation for the big practice game.

Today is the first practice for the mighty 11-12 year-old, St. Isaac Jogues Trojans. It is also my first practice as a head coach. It will also be my last year as a football coach for a while. Having another baby girl will enlist me into the head-dad role again.

As most of you who know me, this head coaching thing could bring a bit of the lunatic out. For instance, I have thought lately that two-a-days don't seem so unreasonable anymore. Rational thinking, however, allows me to decide that doubles are not appropriate for 5th and 6th graders. Really, the best thing I learned about coaching football is that although I played football for 14 years and have studied, thought about and watched football for 41 years, I really don't know shit about coaching football. That realization makes me a better coach every day.

Coaches are teachers. Hence, I think about teaching. Although football is the subject matter, communicating and instructing are the real skills. I don't believe you necessarily have had to play a lot of football to coach the game. Certainly, knowledge of the basics of the game is essential. But the ability to teach the game is a whole different discipline.

I have had many coaches who were, for lack of a better title, assholes. Many of them bragged on their glory days. Football playing experience helped create these monsters. However, I have played a lot of football. The three men with whom I coach have all played college football. One coach played on the 1983 University of Miami national championship team. Yet, these are all good men and excellent coaches. Why? Because they put the kids first. They truly take care of these boys. We feel responsible for giving them the best football experience of their lives.

What's the difference among ex-football player coaches? I think the longer you have played football, you will ultimately be humbled by the game. If you were a grade school standout, high school is an awakening. If you were talented enough to blow through your high school career, Division 1 college is waiting to beat you down. If college football was no challenge, please get in line for a speed trap ass-kicking over there in the NFL, rookie. Eventually, you have got to have or remember that day or play that humbled you as a football player.

As for me, I was always humbled by the game. Football was a constant challenge. I loved the competition; I loved surprising coaches with perfectly executed blocks. I appreciated the mental skills I had in order to compensate for my lack of physical ones. It allowed me to get on the field and be a part of a team, be a part of victories and be a part of something I could say that I help build.

With our collective humility, we as a staff want to help our kids fall in love with the game that we love. We don't take ourselves too seriously. We reflect on all the bad coaches we have had and don't repeat their mistakes. We take the good stuff from the good ones. Most importantly, we watch and listen to our kids. When they respect the game and enjoy the experience, we feel great. When they come back for another season, we have done our job.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Love Machine

When I played football at St. Rita Grade School, every season the parents would throw pizza parties for us. It was usually before the playoffs. During the festivities, every player was asked to stand up and give a mini-speech. Due to the shyness of most that age, a similar mantra was repeated. It went like this: "If the line blocks and the backs run...we will win." As the procession of speakers progressed, each would add another refrain. "If the kickers kick, if the fans cheer, etc." It was an 11 year-olds, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" thing.

If Rex Grossman were in this oratorical kick-line, he should add the line "If the Coaches coach...we will win the Super Bowl." Rex's 2006 inconsistent play is well known, beaten into our heads like multiplication tables. Yet, I wonder why, in the teeth of the interception-fumble storms, did Ron Turner continue to call the same plays that Rex was unable to execute. The job of a coach is to put your team in a position to be successful. Time after time, they would put Rex back on the field and call plays that the opposing defenses had clearly taken away.

"If the coaches coach," means that if they can't protect Rex, they should stop the deep drops. If the running game is not successful early, they need to stay patient. If Rex ain't gettin' er done, he should be yanked. Talk is cheap folks. I don't believe it until I see it in game conditions. So, tone down affection for the Underwear Bowl over there in Boubon-city. Rex got his year of Lovie love. Today, it's all about wins. If he has to be it. Nothing should stand in our way, not even the possible fragile psyche of one player.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

We Have a Great Touch Football Team.

Let's calm down. Nothing can really be determined by shirts-shorts practices. Love Muffin is enthused, and he should be. It is easy to be overly excited at the start of camp. Let's see how he feels when a Matt Leinart-type shreds the 1st D like last year's week 3 exhibition.
Everyone looks fast at the beginning of camp. That's because the players have only seen their kids running around at the waterpark. Or, they themselves have been running alone from the media after leaving court. They should have sent Devin Hester out first, as a decoy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Here!

When the clock strikes midnight, the Bears will all be in camp. The season will have officially begun. I am ready. I am very optimistic about this season. That is not always the case. However, Jerry Angelo did a great job this off-season with the business of Bears football. This season, the Love Muffin will do his job. The defense is back, intact. Folks, don't sweat the yardage. It's all about turnovers and points allowed. Our D is great in both of those categories.

As for the O, well, never underestimate the power of the contract year. Rex, we will know if you will stay or go. It is time for the Benson test. Let's see a healthy Mark Bradley for 16 games. I can tell you that I see good things coming from the offensive side of the ball.

The Bears are a playoff team. Especially in the NFC North. I have been a sceptic in the past. Not this year. A good, tough schedule will test and season our Bears. By playoff time, they will be a better football team than last year. Better and more consistent. Plus, we have Robbie Gould!!!

I cannot wait to kick it off. First pre-season game, Saturday August 25 v. SanFrancisco. Come on out to the parking lot. We are grilling it up for the new season.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I don't get to read like I used to. Back in the day, B.F. (before kids), I could read a book for hours straight. It was my favorite pastime. Now I grab a few pages here and there, before falling asleep at night, in the bathroom, whenever I get a free half an hour. It is not the same.

I would visualize the story and the characters in my head. I would choose the actors that would play the characters in the movie. Alec Baldwin is not Dave Robichaeux (James Lee Burke's great ex-cop character). Robert Urich as Spencer, O.K. I guess. Robert Shaw as Quint from Jaws by Peter Benchley...Masterstroke.

I would lose myself in a book. It relaxed me and took me away from reality. Reality can be exhausting, don't you think? I remember reading a whole book on my honeymoon in Jamaica. It was "And the Band Played On." A chilling look at the origin and evolution of HIV and AIDS. I have powdered off a couple on the few long plane trips we have taken. That's about it.

My only real everyday relaxation place is our neighborhood pool. In fact, I read "Unitas" by Tom Callahan at the pool. Great book, great location. I try to get there as much as I can. Now all I need is a long plane ride to a beach in Mexico with no kids. I could read like a wild man.

I have a better chance of winning the lottery twice in one week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just Fly Me in for Games

I will not be attending Bears summer camp practice in Bourbonnais, Illinois. I am not against the idea of watching a football practice. In fact, I do it all the time. I will not be a party to a circus, however. Remember the scene in Rocky 3 when Sly trains for his first fight with Clubber Lang (Mr. T) in the ballroom of a swanky hotel? Well, that's the Bears camp in Bourbonnais. I have seen the photos, too many people and too many distractions. I will quote Mickey to Lovie and Bears management. "Let's get outta here and go back to the old gym, and really work."

The "old gym" was Platteville, Wisconsin. Far away and not very fan friendly. A great place to get some work done. That is the purpose of a camp. Build some camaraderie, bust some asses and sort out the players from the arena-leaguers. I have been to Platteville, and it was all football. The move back toward Chicago was for money. That's all it could be for. In Platteville, you watched practice in the early a.m. Then, you left campus for lunch in town, which was neat. They had a great little main street, and the locals loved having you there. After lunch, you went back for another practice. If you stayed over night, you could probably catch a beer with a player at one of the local bars. Good Times.

Now they have a Fan Experience area and all kinds of nonsense. You can't bring a grill or a cooler. You have to spend your dough inside the gates. Bad Times. They should go back to Wisconsin and get serious about football. Screw the fans. If you love the Bears, you would take a drive up there.

Besides, you saw what Rocky did to Clubber after he went slummin' at Apollo Creed's gym. That is what the Bears should be doing. After all, movies imitate real life, right?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Neil Young is SO RIGHT.

In 1982, I saw Ozzy Osbourne perform live at the Rosemont Horizon. I loved Ozzy. He rocked. He was charasmatic. He was bigger than life. He rocked. It was a great show. If he had a concert in my backyard today, I would hide in my basement with the doors locked.

I want to remember being a young person. In order to do that, I don't want to be around OLD people doing things that YOUNG people do. I leave the live "rock n' roll" for those who should be there, young people. There are few things worse than these reunion concerts for long gone rock bands. I am trying to think of something worse...Got one: Cancer. Can't think of another on short notice.

I don't want to be reminded that I don't rock. I don't watch "Old-Timer's" games. Shame on these bands, Def Leppard, the Police, the ROLLING STONES, for the grand larceny that they are pulling on their "fans." Stop it. Better to have pulled a John Bonham, lose a member to choking on vomit, and burn out. Instead, these bastards think that we still need them. So, they pull all these baby boomer losers into a crappy outdoor venue and regurgitate their 20 year-old hits. Worse, they play "new" music. Ugh, stay gone. Hey, middle aged man, better to rip "Zenyatta Mondatta" into the I-pod and keep it to yourself.

I don't apply this theory to all music or all bands. Obviously, Tom Petty, Neil Young, U2 and other bands have been relevant and continue to bring new and interesting music to the world. They are not the problem. As for the real culprits, well, we all know who they are. I only wish Axl did.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Mouths That Whimper

Chicago sports used to have great announcers. Great voices and great personalities were the norm. Now, blah, blah, blahs. The Bears had Wayne Larrivee, the hardest working voice in sports. He left for Green Bay, his dream job. OK, I understand that. For his replacement, we get Jeff Joniak, who is terrible. He has an uninspiring tone, and no credibility. Grade: A to D.

The Cubs had Harry Caray, Steve Stone, Jack Brickhouse, and Milo Hamilton. All very good or great. I hate the Cubs and do not listen to their TV or radio announcers regularly. I think Pat Hughes is good, and I like Santo. Maybe you Cub fans can let me know. I would say A to a C.

The White Sox had Harry and Piersall. The kings. Now they have Hawk and DJ on TV. They are OK. A to a B-. Radio is where I get pissed. We go from John Rooney, one of the great voices in all sports, doing play by play, to Ed Farmer taking over the role. Rooney and Farmer, as color, was a kick-ass lineup. I could listen to Rooney reading a traffic report. Farmer sucks as a play by play man. He is humorless and dull. The Sox could have kept Rooney but they went on the cheap. Now, when I am in Western or Southern Illinois, I can hear him with Mike Shannon, doing the Cardinal broadcast. It is great. Grade A to F. The Cardinals went from Jack Buck, Hall of Famer, to Rooney. Great replacement; the Redbirds are a high-class operation.

The Bulls had Jim Durham and Neil Funk, both top of line. Nobody watches the NBA on TV let alone listens to it on the radio. Grade A to ? Tom Doerr and Red Kerr blow. Grade: Blow.

Last but not least, the Chicago Blackhawks. This is the worst. Legendary announcer Llyod Petitt then, Pat Foley manned the mike for my whole life. Then, for no good reason, other than they are the cheapest, lowest, dirtiest, lowdown, ratbastard fucks that ever owned a sports franchise, the Hawks dropped Foley. This should be a felony; get Blago on this. Foley was the best; great voice and opinionated. He called a dog a dog, or in this case a Hawk a dog. I never missed a game. I had to listen; the Hawks were not on TV (Ugghh.) Foley could paint the picture and raise your pulse. When the road games were on TV, it was a bonus, his voice with pictures. Grade A+ to "Death by Lethal Injection."

I am a cranky old fan, but I am right on this. So uninspired, these franchises. If the Sox don't sign Buerhle, just wait. I'll be off them for life.

Somewhere Over the South Side

I grew up on the Southwest side of Chicago. I lived there for 18 straight years. I was liberated in August of 1984. You may wonder how Galesburg, Illinois was an improvement, but let me tell you, it was as if the world had opened up to me. I had to get out; I got out; I never went back. I have done quick recon missions and worked in Markham for 5 years, but I never blended back into the clan. I thought about it several times, then, came to my senses. Or, my wife reminded me of why I left in the first place.

There is only one thing left in that area that "pulls me back in." The original Rainbow Cone. The ice cream joint of my youth. 92nd and Western, the original building still stands. There is a large, replica Rainbow cone on the roof that still lights up. The prize is a large cone, flat scooped with five flavors, into a wave of sweet delight. Chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, Palmer House, and topped with orange sherbet. Palmer House is an original, yellow vanilla with chunks of cherries. Alone, each of these flavors would not rank as favorites. I am a butter pecan man. But together, I loved this cone. It was always a stop with my grandmother, Busha, as well as a frequent destination for my mother. My dad would take us but order nothing. He was not a dessert guy.

Kathleen and I took the kids Saturday evening. It is a drive; there is no easy way to my old home. The rainbow cone was worth it. It tasted like I remembered. The memories were bittersweet. My youth is fading from memory, dying. It is hanging by a thread. My whole focus is on the future, my family, the kids, my own. I hold on to St. Rita high school and an ice cream cone. It will not go gently.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Eenee, Meenee, Minee...Socks?

I love being a criminal defense lawyer. I loved being a prosecutor. Criminal law is the only branch of the law that I will ever practice. As if the rest of the legal community would have me. That would be fine, because I cannot stand 90% of lawyers. The lawyers I have associated myself with over the past 15 + years are in the criminal field. As a whole, they are good and honorable people. The best trial lawyers are criminal lawyers. That is my biased opinion. If you ever consider watching a trial, just ask me and I will find the best lawyer match-up for you. When it is done right, a criminal trial is great viewing.

The problem is that you you needed one, you won't know where to look for the best criminal lawyers. It is a crapshoot for the layman. Hopefully, someone close to you will have a referral to a good lawyer. A lawyer who will give you his best, and his best is actually worth the fee. I hope your blood curdles when you see a lawyer advertise on cable, billboard or, worst of all, in a mass mailing to your home when you have been pinched for DUI or stealing a pack of gum from the Walgreen's. Put your life into that person's hands and good luck on the outcome of your case. McJustice, churn em' and burn em'. It is a disgrace to our profession. Those lawyers are about the money and nothing else. I value my reputation over that kind of a practice. I know that I will not get rich doing this job my way. It doesn't matter. I hope to have the respect and reputation of a good and professional lawyer. Besides, I ain't crying poor.

You can always read the paper and hire a lawyer based on how good he says he is. Like the lawyer for one of the "Family Secrets" mobsters. He had a field day talking to John Kass about his pink and red socks and other wardrobe selections. He even mentioned his fashion sense in his opening statement to the jury. How is that helping the guy charged with 12 murders sitting next to him? He also is writing about the trial on a blog. He calls himself "the Shark," and has titled his column, "Shark Attacks." I will now stick a fork in my eye.

I will not retract my opening statement just because most lawyers are balloonheads. I don't despise my profession because most lawyers are money grubbing whores. This is the business that I have chosen. I do it my way, the right way, and have to answer only to myself. My clients know what I am all about, and they know me. That is all that I can control. It doesn't mean that sometimes I want to light myself on fire.

Tank You Very Much

In the words of Dr. Smith, "Ohhhh, the pain." Our team is left depth-crippled by another buffoon. One good season and it all turns to shit. I have no problem with the decision. The Bears did the right thing. Cut ties, rid yourself of the cancer. It just sucks is all. "He is gone, and there is nothing that can be done about it."

Nothing good happens after midnight. My dad told me that a few times, and he was right. I never had that good of a time after midnight. Usually, I became quite tired. Even back in my teens and twenties, I was a party pooped pooper after 12 bells. I would usually be home or in bed by 1:00 a.m. at the latest. A square, if you must label me. Of course, I avoided being pulled over at 3:30 a.m. Obviously, I can't play a one-gap DT for the Bears.

Despite all this post-Super Bowl nonsense, I am looking forward to the arrival of my season tickets. Any day now. They come in two big perforated sheets. I get to carefully fold them over and tear them apart. Then I sort them out and hold them in a fan, like a deck of cards. I look at them and feel them. I get excited about the season. Did I just say this out loud?

To further ruin anyone's remaining high opinion of me, I find myself listening to the NFL channel on Sirius RADIO. I refuse to listen to local sports talk radio and anything with Jim Rome. Asshole talking to assholes. But I can't get enough of these NFL guys, Pat Kirwin, Adam Shine, Solomon Wilcots, etc. When it's not Howard Stern, it's this channel. I find myself chiming in with my opinions on the topic of discussion. Outloud and alone in my car. Is this bad? I think I need more rest.

One more season of "The Wire" before our HBO "sleeps with the fishes."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sipping on Juice...With My Mind on My Money

I am sitting here at the computer with Mary Cate, who will be two years old tomorrow. Mary wants to write about juice and the two dollar bill that she is holding. I am feeling good about the contract extension for CB Nathan Vasher. Five years, $24 million with $14 million of that up-front and guaranteed. The next move is Peanut Tillman's extension. Locking up two excellent man-to-man cover corners is a Jerry Angelo move, "Reward production." The Bears sign their core guys to extensions before the player's free agent season. Read Vasher's comments to the press. Here is a guy who was realistic in his wants and was thrilled with the financial security provided in this deal. He wants to be a Bear and is paid like the Pro-Bowler that he is. Everybody Wins. Now after Tillman is extended, there will be no money to EVER pay Lance Briggs. Boo Hoo.

Now for the juice. The murder-suicide of professional wrestler Chris Benoit is a disgusting story. When I here people say that Benoit was an all together good and down-to-earth guy, I blame steroids. That "sport" is rampant with unchecked drug use. Look at the list of wrestlers who have died before the age of 45 over the past decade. It is horrible. This is the result of indiscriminate steroid use. Prove me wrong.

Money and juice.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Back From B-BQ Land

Back from a family trip. Springfield, IL. to Memphis, Tn. No football in the state capital. Memphis has the Liberty Bowl but no NFL team to speak of. That is all the football news I have. I love the South; Great town, great food and Beale Street (Great music). I would love to go back with my wife and no kids. That would be called a "vacation."

I also found out that my last child will be a feminine child. Some people (see: Males) have expressed some sympathy for me. Also, they have mentioned my love of football in this context. Please, don't waste your sympathy on me. I couldn't be happier. As far as I can tell or have been told, the baby is doing great. My wife is doing fine. That is all I need. Football is a hobby. The family is my life. I can share my life and life lessons with my girls. That is a unisex type of job.

As for my hobby, I really need it to begin. It is a great diversion for my mind. This new eating and exercising lifestyle is doing wonders for my physical health. My mental health is kind of shot. I feel stressed out, man. Football is my great escape. One day, I hope one of my kids goes to an SEC school, Vanderbilt maybe. That would be some Dad's weekend trip. B-BQ, beer and ball. A guy can dream.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Father's Day XI

I miss my father every day. It is not because we spent a lot of time together or talked constantly. It's just that when my dad died, I felt cast adrift in the world. It's because I always knew that my dad was steering the ship. Since childhood, I always believed that I was safe because my dad was at the helm. When he left, I was 39 years old, but I knew then and still know now that this feeling will never pass. That is just the way it is with your father. I feel lucky to have had such a steady hand on the steering wheel.

One of the most important things I have ever done was to eulogize my dad. It was a special opportunity to share my feelings about him with others. He deserved it. I did have practice, however. I told my dad what he meant to me while he was alive, on a Father's Day. My dad was an acquired taste, and it took some time for me to figure him out. When I did, I had to tell him. I wanted him to know; I wanted no regrets. It felt good to say how much I admired him and how much he influenced my accomplishments. I know he was proud of the man that I had become. The guy that blogs before you owes his dad so much. He taught me how to sail.

I steer the ship now. I was ready when it came my turn at the wheel. The kids don't see the unsteady hand; they just see the man standing tall, facing down the squall. They don't need to feel the burden of navigating through the icebergs; they need only to feel the joy of finding new and fun lands. I try to get them to keep an orderly deck. I keep trying. I love being a father. They would get the lifeboats, and I would go down with the ship. I love them so much.

I have been blessed with great mentors and role models in my life. My college football coach Randy, my father-in-law Pat, my friends Tom and Will are all people who I look up to and admire for the kind of men that they are. I love, respect and honor them on this Father's Day. They are great fathers and great men. I have told them that. No regrets.

This Sunday, find your dad and honor him in your own way. But let him know that he is doing a great job. He deserves to hear it. He wants to know that his hard work, love and care has meant something. Trust me, it will mean the world to him.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Will I Name my Child Brian or Brianna?

Recently, has been running a series on the "Best of" NFL players and teams. Best QB, first player chosen to build a franchise, most valuable running back have been some of the topics. Four "experts" make the choices. When it came down to most valuable defensive player, Brian Urlacher received two of the four votes. Champ Bailey, Bronco cornerback, got the other two. Urlacher deserves the accolade. In my opinion, he is and will remain the greatest middle linebacker to ever play in the Cover-2 defense.

In the past, the Cover-2 showcased the weak outside linebacker or "Will" backer. Our local, successful example is the dead Lance Briggs. Cover-2 is a two-deep, zone pass defense. Think of two safeties splitting up the deep halves of the field. It is not a blitzing D; you rely on your front four down lineman to get pressure and disrupt the run game. They should be fast and physical. The linebackers are responsible to make the tackles. They also have pass responsibilities and have to be very skilled. The scheme was set up for an athletic and speedy Will to run free, make a bushel full of tackles and make big plays.

The greatest Will backer in Cover-2 history is Tampa Bay's Derrick Brooks. Canton is waiting for this guy. Tons of tackles and, listen up Briggsy, tons of interceptions. The middle linebacker position in a Cover-2 scheme was never acknowledged. Not until Urlacher came along. He can do it all. No player gets to the ball faster than him. He covers sideline to sideline. When he gets there, he is a violent tackler and is an expert at creating a turnover. I hear people say "Urlacher cannot stuff the run" or "he can't get off a blocker." These are misguided criticisms. First of all, the days of the "run-stuffing LB" are over. Those guys would have to come off the field on 3rd down and were a liability in pass coverage. Secondly, name me one linebacker that can get off a 325 pound lineman. This is not 1979. The idea is to keep the O-line off the linebackers. I hate people who don't understand the modern game. Get over it.

The real "freak" quality of Urlacher is his pass defense. He drops so deep in the secondary because of his speed, he can eliminate a threat in the middle of the field. He can neutralize a fast and skilled tight end. He can also shut down a slot receiver. That enables the two safeties a cushion to cover less area. When he blitzes, which is not often, he will get sacks. Name me another MLB who can do all of that. Ever. Don't say Butkus. The Bears sucked when he played. I love that rationalization, "you beat the Bears, but they punished you." Big fuckin' deal. How about winning a game on defense? How many of those have we seen since 54 got here.

If anyone had doubts about the greatness of Urlacher as a MLB, last year's Arizona Cardinal, Monday night football game should have dispelled them. If it did not, well then, you should not be allowed to watch the NFL. Down by three touchdowns, Urlacher single-handedly took that game away from Arizona. He made all the tackles. All of them. Arizona refused to throw so Urlacher said "I'll clean up." Rex gave the ball away; Urlacher took it back. He pulled it out of their arms. So, not only did he stop them, he started us. He skilled and willed the Bears to an unbelievable victory.

That is what is great about Urlacher and great football players. Denny Green was right; the Bears "are what we thought they were." He had game-planned perfectly, knew the Bears weaknesses and exploited the matchups. But you can't beat a great player on paper. You have to do it in the game. The Cardinals knew what Urlacher could do, but they couldn't stop him. It was a virtuoso performance. Skill and desire, an unbeatable combination.

So, stop with the critiques. This season, everyone sit back and watch a one-of-a-kind football player. You won't be dissappointed. Sometimes, Urlacher does not have gaudy stats. But if the Bears are dominating on defense, it is DIRECTLY because of what he is doing. If we are getting schooled, they have an answer for him in that game. He ain't gonna be around forever, enjoy it.

I have never owned a Bears jersey, never wore one. If I thought about it, I would only wear a Payton 34. This off-season, a friend gave me an Urlacher 54. I think I may wear it to a game. He is the best defensive player in the league. Despite this post, I do not have a man-crush on Urlacher. Not that I am above such feelings, but he is not my type. Too many babies-mamas, bad decisions in clubs or Trader Joe's or wherever this dumb ass meets chicks. And he is dumb, as a post. But give me 11 solos, 6 assists, 1 interception, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble on a Sunday, and, hell, I'll cook you dinner.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Return to Campus

On Friday, I will return to Knox College for a reunion of Alumni football players. I am very proud of my college football career. Knox is a small school (900-1100 enrollment), and football holds no special status there. However, my last season of football stands as one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. It was achieved with a special group of classmates and a coach who remains a mentor and role model.

I went to Knox for school, not to play football. I had a miserable high school experience, and I hated the game. I was going away to college, leaving my neighborhood and football behind. I was talked into playing by the coach, Joe Campanelli. That first college season was for me. I just enjoyed playing the game again. The team was awful. The upperclassmen accepted losing and did not invest any effort into the program. I hated to lose and hated them. There was one saving grace. Every freshman felt the same way that I did. That spring Joe Campanelli quit. The college hired Randy Oberembt as new head football coach.

The change was immediate. Coach O was an intense guy. He looked you directly in the eye and demanded your best. I gave my heart and soul to Knox football. For the next two seasons, we struggled to turn the corner. Despite a 180 degree change in effort, three losing seasons marked my Knox career. It came down to the last season, 1987, our senior year. Knox last winning season had been in 1976. The pressure was palpable. If we didn't get it done, all the hard work and commitment would be for naught.

Additionally, our last game of 1986 weighed heavily upon me. We were destroyed by our arch rival, Monmouth College, by a score of 46-0. We quit as a team in that game. I quit in that game. We were physically manhandled, and emotionally crushed. It was an embarrassing and shameful performance. It haunted me then and is still hard to talk about. But it motivated me. We would not let it end that way.

That last year, we achieved the winning season by the sixth game. When we faced Monmouth at home in the Knox Bowl for our final game, we were 6-2 and had a chance at the conference championship. We played a great game. We lost in the last 2:00 minutes. I took it hard. It was my last football game. Looking back, I have no regrets. We accomplished our goals and played our hearts out until the end. I still see four of my teammates every year. I look forward to seeing some of my other fellow 1987 football teammates. It was a special year.

After that season, I was in Coach's office talking about life, the future, and football. I looked around the room and saw the pictures on the wall. On display were photos of the five Little All-American players from the past three years. There was one other photo on the wall. It was mine. I was surprised; I had been a three-year starter but was never All-Conference or anything. I asked Coach what was up. He told me, "You are Knox Football. You are the example of what I believe a great program is all about. Your leadership and commitment are what made this team special." It was the greatest compliment I ever received in sports. Although Knox is still a little program, I am proud of being a Siwash. (Don't ask.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

December 20, 1998-The Greatest Game Ever Played

At the age of 32, my greatest dream as a football fan was to see an NFL game from the sideline. On December 20, 1998, that dream came true. My job as an assistant state's attorney brought me into contact with a deputy Cook County sheriff who was a security supervisor at Soldier Field. His son was a victim of a felony battery, and I prosecuted the case. He heard that I dreamed of watching an NFL game up close and personal. He made it happen. I was given a magic pass and one for a friend. The pass said "McCormick Place Maintenance." I asked my Dad to come with me. I was officially "Hooked Up."

When we arrived at our special mini-gate, the door opened and we were escorted through. At the field, a guard allowed us onto the gridiron with a flourish. Amazing what a laminated placard hanging from your neck can accomplish.

We found a spot on the sideline and looked around. I couldn't believe my eyes. There were a hundred civilians all over the place. I was crushed. This was supposed to be an impossible feat. The sideline was top security only. Who were these jokers? All pre-game, women and children are walking up and down the sideline. These people with no reverence for what was to take place on this field in a few minutes. Get them out of here. They were killing my buzz.

My disappointment was short-lived. After the National Anthem, the ghost of Ditka appeared and removed all the infidels. All that remained were the Bears, the coaches, NFL Films, John McQuaid and son. We had the joint to ourselves. The Bears with a 3-10 record vs. the Baltimore Ravens with a 2-11 record, a hugely anticipated affair. The Bears trotted out for the kickoff. Jim Schwantz, the Bears special teams stud, took a knee and prayed.

Once the ball was kicked off, I knew what he prayed for. HIS LIFE. Schwantz ran after the ball, found the biggest player on the Ravens return team and ran into him as hard as he could. It sounded like an M-80 explosion. I was ecstatic. It didn't matter that both teams blew chunks; this was football at its highest level. The players were huge and fast. It was like watching car crash after car crash. I was in awe of the quarterback's ability to do anything with the ball. It was like standing in the middle of the freeway and trying to get the license numbers of the cars whizzing past. Impossible.

I don't think my dad was quite as thrilled. For starters, he had no where to sneak off for a smoke. You also couldn't drink beer on the sideline. Sorry, Dad. I, however, fell in love with the NFL for life. The Bears played well that day and won 24-3. It didn't matter. The thrill existed in each play. Every collision was memorable. I gained great respect for the players. They take years off of their lives playing pro football. They destroy their bodies, all for my enjoyment. I know that sounds sick, but hell, I'm sick.

I would love to go back down there. The experience was sports-life changing. College football is for pansies. The true gladiators still exist. They perform every Sunday in the fall at a stadium near you.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

All We Are Saying...Is Give Rex a Chance

In 1974, the Pittsburgh Steelers opened the season with a new quarterback, Joe Gilliam. The coaching staff had decided to bench their young 3-year veteran and former starter, Terry Bradshaw. The fans were merciless on Terry. Despite team success, he made a many mistakes and bad decisions with the ball. The Steelers succumbed to the pressure and sent Bradshaw to the pine.

The change lasted for 5 games. The Steelers stunk. In comes Bradshaw, and Pittsburgh goes on to win the Super Bowl. Bradshaw subsequently makes the all-decade team, wins three more Super Bowls and is elected to the Hall of Fame. Often, a little patience brings great reward.

Bradshaw is a legend; Rex is not. However, there are similarities. Both have big arms. Bradshaw was known for throwing interceptions; many interceptions. Both lack a conscience. They continue to fire despite continual failure. They are fearless. Both received unrelenting criticism, yet continued to have success. Most important, they had good teams around them.

Bradshaw had great teams. Hall of Famers on offense-RB Franco Harris, WR Lynn Swann, WR John Stallworth. Don't forget they put one of the greatest defenses on the field, the Steel Curtain. The Bears have very little talent on offense. The Bears have a good defense and good special teams. 70's Steelers crush the 2000's Bears.

Be patient. After one full season as QB1, the Grossman-led Bears won the NFC. He will only get better. A great QB is a luxury. Only a few are found in a decade. Grossman is never going to be great, but he can lead this team. He is doing that right now. The players in the huddle want to win for him. They believe in him. That's what counts. He is a leader, just like Bradshaw.

Grossman needs help. Elway, Favre, Marino and Aikman needed help. Super Bowls are won by great teams who play great. We need more weapons on offense. Rex can't catch his own passes. They need the running game. All championship offenses have one. Greg Olsen needs to be the player worthy of first round consideration. A fast tight end who presents nightmarish matchups in pass coverage. A weapon. A younger and better offensive line. I look at this offense and get depressed. And it ain't because of Grossman. Believe that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"Dad, I can't believe you wore THAT outside the house!"

The ZUBAZ are dead. Long live the Zubaz. I have officially thrown away my Bears-themed Zubaz pants. You know the pants. Baggy, pajama material covered in blue and orange tiger stripes. Hideous, granted, yet essential to any football fanatics wardrobe, circa 1987.

Truthfully, this expunged pair was my second. My first pair were bought in the 1980's. I believe they were featured on an episode of VH1's "I Love the 80's." I wore them quite often. I did not throw out that pair; they just evaporated like most men's underwear. I enjoyed those Zubaz. They off- set my friend's Packer Zubaz, the green and yellow tiger stripes. Of course, I had no girlfriend or any dates with girls.

The second pair was purchased recently. New with tags on E-bay. When I reintroduced the style to Kathleen, she rolled her eyes. Not much of a reaction I'll admit, but she has known me for 16+ years. Appropriately, I was admonished not to be seen in those pants by anyone that she knew. The kids freaked out. They were not yet worn to the nub by my fashions. Now they understand the potential of true embarrassment. I only share the valuable lessons.

Nobody forced me to purge the pants. The Bears lost both games that I wore those goofy things. (At home, in front of the TV) I did not test the luck of the pants at a live game. I value sleeping under my own roof. The pants had to go because they were "losing" pants. If the outcome of those games had been different, they would have made it to Soldier Field. You would have seen other mentally ill men similarly attired. I would have fit right in.

Friday, May 25, 2007

My Off-Season

I probably made a mistake by starting an all-Bears blog in May. The post-draft/pre-camp months are very uneventful. This might be bad for blogging, but it is good for recharging the gridiron battery. I need the break. A full season of football wears me out.

In younger days, sports dominated my life. "All sports, every season" was my motto. I would watch anything, rodeo, lacrosse, whatever, as long as they kept score. Now it is just football and college basketball. I gave up on baseball; pro basketball is pure crap. You already saw my hockey post. I really don't like professional athletes. Most of all, I despise golf. It is a huge waste of time. I think that the powers-that-be should rename the game of golf. They should call it "AMF" (Avoiding My Family).

I refuse to watch Arena football. It makes no sense to me. The reality is that it is not football. It's indoor soccer with pads. The NFL Europe is just minor league football, slower and less skilled professionals. I won't watch that either. Why blow my diet with a McDonald's cheeseburger? If I'm going down, it is with a Morton's burger. If they offered real football (NFL, high school, whatever) in the spring and summer, I would be doomed.

It is a 6 month season. Some will say, and you know who you are, a 6 month obsession. What can I say? I love it. It makes me feel like a kid. But now when the season is over, I need a break from football and caring about sports. After all, I am not a kid anymore. Those damn bills that keep coming in the mail remind me of that.

Monday, May 21, 2007

If a Mediocre Defensive End Falls In the Woods...

Alex Brown, a serviceable defensive end, has asked the Bears to trade him. This scintillating bit of news has caused no phones to ring at Halas Hall. No suprise there; he just isn't that good. He is O.K. but is about to lose his starting position to second-year player Mark Anderson. Why? Because Anderson is better. There now, that was simple.

However, I don't get it. Alex Brown has three years left on a contract that pays a very good wage, overpaid some might say. He is not going to sit on the bench; the Bears rotate their defensive lineman in every series. Moreover, no NFL team will pay him more than the Bears. I don't think any will pay him close to what the Bears pay him. What does he want? Who is advising him? In Lombardi-speak, "What the HELL is going on out there?" I guess we'll find out sometime.

The question I have is why does an average football player want to leave a winning team with Super Bowl potential unless he is going to dupe some stupid team to overpay him (see: Washington Redskins)? Because he isn't a "starter?" C'mon, this is not high school. NFL teams play a lot of players in today's game. If it means that much to you Alex, beat the guy out for the job. Compete, you boob. I guess he wants to be traded to a team with lousy defensive ends so he doesn't have to work that hard. Then he will be happy because he "starts" for 7-9 non-playoff team. Amazing.

If you get to watch one episode of "America's Game" on NFL Network, you will understand my amazement. The look on the face of player when he displays his Super Bowl ring is priceless. You see a man who truly realizes why he played the game. The ONLY reason to play professional football is to be called a champion. I know that these players have a short shelf life and don't have a lot to fall back on. Money becomes a priority. But if championships aren't your goal, why would any team want you or pay you? I would want players who care about winning first and try to get as many of those guys on my roster as possible.

Alex Brown does not inspire me. He is an average player who wants to leave a winner for no good reason. Obviously, winning is not a priority for him. The Bears have invested money in a loser. He is now an obstacle in reaching another Super Bowl. To bad he has a family, otherwise, he would not be missed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

R.I.P. Chicago Blackhawks. Nobody Cares.

Allow me a non-Bears post today. I read an article about the Blackhawk's owner Bill Wirtz threatening to sell the team. Some threat. Please Bill, make it a promise. That guy has ruined an Original 6 franchise. The Hawks have been one of if not THE WORST organization in professional sports. The reason for this lowly status is the owner. Plain and Simple.

The NHL as a whole has done nothing to elevate hockey from it's current "niche-sport" platform. I think the X-Games and bull riding have better TV contracts. The NHL is on Versus (formerly OLN). I can find a darts match easier than a hockey game. They lost a year to a lockout. Take that ineptitude, quadruple it and you have the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks are a dead subject in this town. It is a damn shame, because I used to love going to a Hawks game more than attending any other sport. Yes, that includes football.

My dad had season tickets when I was young. He shared them with some other guys. He had two seats for around 10 games. He took me to Chicago Stadium for the first time when I was around 8 years old. It was a magical place. First balcony on the blue line. Few players wore helmets, and the building rocked. My dad would fill me in on the history; he had been going to Hawks games since he was a teenager. Duke loved hockey and the Hawks. I loved it, too. I loved sharing that team with my father. When I was around 13, our house was burglarized; the tickets were pilfered. My dad never went back. The game was changing, and he just kind of lost interest. To this day, it was the only team for which my dad and I shared an equal passion.

Despite my dad's withdrawal, I was hooked. I listened to every game on the radio. My friends and I would get standing-room only tickets for the big games, Islanders, Oilers and Northstars. The Stadium was made for hockey. This was pre-Jordan. The Hawks would fill the joint. I went to every St. Rita hockey game for four years. We were really good. I played street hockey every day. I was a superfanatic. The game was fast, violent and thrilling to watch. The release of emotion when a goal was scored was euphoric. I challenge anyone to find a more exciting live sport than hockey. It does not exist.

In college, I got all my buddies watching the NHL playoffs. These were small town Illinois dudes. They loved it. The Hawks were good, making the playoffs every year. I remember going to bars with Kathleen when we were dating, to watch the playoffs. Then, all of a sudden, it was over. They cut salary and stopped making the playoffs. For Good. It made no sense.

The owner refused to strengthen the organization. He now says that he lost $50 million over the past two years. That is a complete lie. If a businessman as shrewd as Bill Wirtz was losing that kind of money, he would make a positive change. He would market his product. He would put home games on T.V. (I cannot believe I am writing that in 2007) He would pay a good general manager to fix this program. They sell no tickets and haven't really tried. He hasn't done it because he doesn't have to, and he doesn't care. He owns half of the United Center and the concessions. Money is being made.

As for me, I have moved on. It is the Bears and that's the list. However, I have to admit to feeling very nostalgic about our long forgotten NHL team. I miss the thrills, chills and cheers in a great old building. I miss watching a very good team in a clean, new building with a few bucks in my pocket. Mostly I miss driving down Western Avenue in a brown 1967 Chevy Impala with a great hockey fan. I miss tagging along with him between periods so he could have a smoke in the stairwell while I sipped a Coke. I miss being taught that there are plenty of opportunities to get out of my seat while the action is stopped. I remember the extra buck for easy-out parking. Mostly, I miss the time when I really fell in love with sports, inside the Stadium watching the Chicago Blackhawks with my dad.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Healthy Diet+Tailgate=No Fun.

I am sure that the few of you who may happen to read this blog know that I have changed the way I eat. To my future football guests, do not flail your arms and lament. I will still perform on Sundays to your high-fat and cholesterol delight. I too will join you in the bacchanal. Save up those cheat calories for gameday.

I am going to tweak the menu this year. I see large BBQ shrimp in my future. Also, maybe some small steak sandwiches with crumbled blue cheese. These are not my ideas. I am stealing from some good stops this past season. Original ideas to follow. Folks, I do requests. Don't be afraid to let me know. Also, just some advice, don't be shy when you are eating my food. If you can eat the whole right side of the Cheesecake Factory menu (i.e. Bill Stanton), tailgate is not the time to be polite. I know you are a good person, just eat, goddammit.

I want to hit at least one pre-season game. The great weather and empty parking lot makes for some relaxed grilling. Plus, there is nothing on the line football-wise. Except for a season-ending injury to a starter, god forbid.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bears Visit Tank. Not Conjugal, Hopefully.

Front page of the Trib sports page-"Bears visit Tank in the County Jail." They got the jail visitor logs for Tank Johnson. Tell me the Bears are not the biggest thing in this town. Another compelling headline.

The list of visitors was impressive. Even Mike McCaskey came to see the Tank. 147 visits in 60 days and a hefty 19 visits on one Sunday. Grossman, Urlacher, Lovie, Jerry Angelo all paid their respects. The Trib did highlight a conspicuous absentee, Lance Briggs. I think a jail visit is alot to expect from a dead guy. Besides Briggs' estate and Drew Rosenhaus were too busy trying to find a shoulder to weep on. That unfair 7.2 million dollar offer for one year sticks in their craw.

I like this group of Bear players. Visiting the Cook County Jail is no picnic. Take it from me. I find any reason I can not to go in there. Hmm, let's see, I need to see two clients but, hey, I'm late for an appointment to get my leg broken. That takes priority. Yet, Tank's teammates and the organization came out en masse to see him. That is very cool. I have always believed that this team gets along, and their locker room is strong. This article only confirms that belief. That is why this team can weather adversity. That is how a team can survive the growing pains of a young QB. That is Super Bowl caliber stuff.

Tank Johnson may be suspended by the league for 8 games or more. He may never be a player. It is not about Tank. It is about his teammates. If Tank ever makes a Pro Bowl or gets a ring, he will owe it to this crew and a Bears organization that believes in him. Tank or no Tank, this team will continue to win games. They know what it takes. Tank should appreciate what he has here and make it the best of his future. He owes it to his teammates. You cannot put a price tag on that.