Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm in Wonderland.

"When you're 9-7, you're close," Smith said. "You don't need an overhaul. You just need to add a few pieces to the puzzle."-Lovie Smith

There is this scene in "Saving Private Ryan" that so disturbed me that I promised never to watch the movie again. Toward the climactic ending, Pvt. Mellish, played by Adam Goldberg, was in a tower. He was tackled by a large Nazi, who took a knife and plunged it into Mellish's abdomen. As he killed Mellish, he held him close and softly "shushed" him like one would do to a baby. It makes me ill just recounting this scene. A stabbing is such an up close and personal method of killing. Add to that the Nazi's complete ease in destroying a human life, well, it doesn't get more real than that. Too real.

When I read the above quote, Pvt. Mellish came to mind. This is the only way I can express the onslaught of emotion that hit me. I want to cradle my coach in my arms and end it. How else to deal with this infuriating man? Can he truly be serious? Even the casual fan who knows nothing about pro football knows that Smith is dead wrong in this analysis. I should have been better prepared; I did predict this. Just didn't think he would say it so soon.

The Bears are closer to 3-13 than 13-3. Close? Does he watch film or only the Jumbotron during games? I have watched the Jumbotron at the games and I can tell you, the Bears don't look better on replay. This is a nightmare. I love the Bears with a passion that crosses the line of sensible, adult behavior. I don't know what to do. I need more time. I feel despair. My team has been taken over by aliens.

Somebody has to do something. This town loves the Bears. All we want is to win. Why don't the owners, management and coaches want the same thing? This question is always on my mind. Sure, they talk winning. As they say, talk is cheap. Their actions don't back it up. I hate them all for making me feel this way. They have got to be stopped. Lovie's "puzzle" is like the outdoor maze in The Shining , and I'm Jack. I have got his look on my face right now. Right now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Playoffs Avoided.

They had to win. They couldn't do it. Beaten, in the end, by a more talented team. The moments that summed it up: Losing the best receiver in the NFL in a coverage mistake, and a stop the defense had to have.

The mistake. Daniel Manning has made that mental mistake before. More than once. It was the reason he was not the starting free safety. We had found a use for Manning in the past four weeks. He had been successful, a difference-maker. They must have forgot about his inability to react properly in pass coverage. They had Steltz take all of the practice reps at free safety. Apparently, they still remembered Manning's mistakes right up until 11:00 a.m. when they made Daniel the surprise starter.

In the end, they had it down to seven, and they needed the ball back. Couldn't get the Texans off of the field. Couldn't stop the run-9 carries for 70 yards on the drive. Story of this defense, this season.

There I was, riveted to the TV, hoping against my own angst, that they would win this game. It meant something, if just for this day and this game. Problem is that the Bears did not feel the same way. Maybe some did but not all. People will talk about the lull in the offense after the ten-point lead. That lull is called "ADJUSTMENT." The opposing coaches adjust, and the offense stalls. The key is to re-adjust. The Bears have shown the inability to change for two seasons.

I am interested to see Kyle Orton throw to some professional receivers. I think he is pretty good. The Cover-2 is over. See Tampa Bay's last four games.

This loss does hurt. Not as much pain as the Cowboy fans must be feeling. That makes me feel better. The Jets and the Cowboys spent money like Arab sheiks this past off-season. You can't build a winner with too many free agents. Or a meddling owner. Two things that will never happen in Chicago. I'm pulling for the Falcons. Has Farve retired yet?

It has been a rough year. Up and down. Hoping that this team could put a whole team effort together. I am watching Eagle safety Brian Dawkins talking about what he was playing for this Sunday knowing they have a shot at the playoffs. He said, "We played for each other; we wanted to win this game for the guys in the locker room. We may have had a chance to get in the playoffs, but it really did not matter. We wanted to beat the Cowboys and let whatever happens, happen." That's football. Love it.

Mike Singletary got the head coaching job in San Francisco. Won 4 or his 5 games as coach. A guarantee: Singletary will win in this league. He will win alot. He is a proud man not burdened by pride. Love him.

Until draft day, go Hawks, go Flyin' Illini.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Doesn't Kill You Only Makes You Delude Yourself Into Thinking You Can Win a Playoff Game.

I confess that I was hoping that Mason Crosby was going to make that kick and end this charade of a "playoff" season. I don't feel guilty about it. Lovie Smith must be Irish or have a horseshoe up his ass, because I have not seen such luck. Does he ever say anything into those headphones? It should say "Fisher Price" not "Motorola" on those things.

No playoffs, OK? If you can't compete for a Super Bowl VICTORY, why burden your fanbase with false hope. I mean, 10-6, for this team? It is not right. I know that I am very negative, but I know this program. They will not improve the talent-level in a meaningful way. These ten wins will somehow enable them to coast through the off-season. They are delusional; you know this is true. Two years from a Super Bowl appearence, and they roll out this receiving crew? And I'm the crazy one. Scheme changes and talent are needed here, stat. IV with ringers-let's get em to Rampart. Where is Randolph Mantooth and why didn't he have a movie career? Foreshadowing for David Caruso. What was I talking about?

Enough of the "light is going on for Devin Hester" as a receiver comments. He let a TD pass right through the old paws, again. Plus, Orton can't hit him on those Superfly routes. What is the point? When pressed hard by the experienced and talented Packer corners, Hester could not get off the line, get into his routes and get open. He is a number 3; a taller Antwaan Randle-El. No more.

The only man out there this year is Lance Briggs. He has been very good all season. And at cost.

You know you have a bad organization when not only can't you evaluate your own talent, you can't even evaluate the playing surface. This is the Fucking NFL. Play should not be affected by slipping on a crappy field. How can this go on? Put in the field-turf and let the best players in the world settle it the right way. I am so pissed about this field. It is the height of "bush" league.

All right, I will get positive. Daniel Manning has been a difference-maker in the last 3 games. He has found a niche. You have to cherrypick the good stuff, but it is there. Alex Brown, Matt Forte, solid performers. Finally, the geniuses up in the booth, they that Lovie is not talking to, finally decide that getting the ball to Greg Olsen is a priority. Kinda the reason you dopes drafted him. It won them a ball game.

Not sold on Orton as the answer. I have seen enough to keep him and keep playing him. Not enough consistency to lift the manhole cover off the offensive player checkbook.

Craig Steltz is a rookie, and I like him. But if that missed tackle doesn't cause him to jerk awake at night in a cold sweat like Nick Nolte in "North Dallas Forty" then I don't want him. That's "falling on your face in Chicago" Right, Phil? National TV no less.

Kornheiser was good last night. At the end of the half, as the Bears were pissing down their legs, he asked "why aren't they booing louder. Jaws, am I right?" He was right. However, Tony needs to understand some things. A. People were as frozen as Lovie's 1,000 yard stare at the Jumbotron. B. So were the beers. C. They were waiting for the half to end, as Jaworski told him. And as they left the field, they got it. He also said that the Bear fans have been getting psyched for the defense for the past 50 years. This is also true. We are so used to incompetent offense, we don't bother vocalizing; falls on deaf ears. Remember the first 6 games of 2005? The Grossman month? We were scoring so much, people were disrobing in the stands. It was anarchy. Bear fans couldn't survive a whole season of good offense. We have sausage stuck in our aortas, the "Chicago heart" beats tenuously.

Oh, Robbie Gould. MVP. The kicker. The horror.

Please Bears, just die already, in Houston. Don't empower the evil silent genius.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Looking Forward to Many Bears Accidently Shooting Themselves in the Thigh

It is tough to sit in front of this computer to write about the Bears. For the first time all season, I shut off the game with time on the clock. Two huge road games in the division, the latter, if won, would have given the Bears the full length lead for a division crown. The results...two gutless performances. With a chance to prove to this fan that the Bear players and coaches were up to being a formidable playoff opponent, they came up lame. They shoot horses, why not Bears.

There is no intensity or toughness in this group. The decision-making is suspect from the top on down. In the end, they are an 8-8 team, inconsistent, like I had mentioned earlier in the year. I get caught up, ride the ups too long and allow the dips to depress me too much. I didn't trust my own instincts. It's my fault. Mine and Lovie's.

If you love pro football, watch the Giants. They are doing everything right, including their handling of the Plaxico situation. Bottom line, they proved that they can have a successful passing game without him. Good times.

Looks like Charlie Weis is back for another year. I would suggest some humble pie but the punchline is too easy. As bad as ND's talent base was when Weis's third year began, he should get a chance to coach his recruits. The problem is that I don't think he can do it. Sucks to start over. And Lou Holtz can shut the fuck up. I think Lou is a genius and knows how to build a winner. But when he took the job, he got assurances that his recruits would get accepted. And they did. He won a national championship and came a phantom holding call away from a second title with a partial (Prop 48) qualifier at QB, Tony Rice. Rice ran Holtz's veer better than any QB he ever coached. In the end, Lou won too much, and the priests pulled the rug out from under him. Dr. Lou got the hell out. So, it ain't easier to win now for Charlie than it was for Holtz. He is lying out of his ass. He is a genius at that as well.

My Bears playoff ticket invoice went right into the shredder. The sad part, they could still win the division. I won't be there to see it. I have learned my lesson. I refuse to watch Kevin Payne again. If he knocks another teammate off a tackle with his ridiculous tackling technique (think of a scud missile wearing a navy blue #44 jersey-inaccurate and sometimes a dud), I may swallow my own tongue. Oh, and one more suggestion, it might not serve you well to call three inside running plays into the two best run-stuffing D-tackles in the league. Not good times. But I'm not still bitter.

Oh yeah, Peanut, when they ask you what happened on your junior varsity attempt at covering Bernard Berrian, your answer should be, "I screwed up." Your answer that "I was going through my progressions, well, I just don't know what happened" was really compelling. It looked like a Bassmaster fisherman hooked you with a double-squiggly spinner bait and pulled your head forward toward the WRONG RECEIVER. After Berrian went the distance, Lovie asked Tillman "Charles, why did Bernard Berrian go 99 YARDS for a touchdown?" Tillman replied, "Coach, that was all he needed."

Tillman didn't really say that. Actually, it was Ohio Stae assistant coach, Lou Holtz to Woody Hayes after USC Trojan O.J. Simpson went 95 yards for a touchdown. True Story. One of the few you will get out of Lou.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tommie Harris is Misunderstood Again

Mike Lombardi of the National Football Post commenting on Brad Biggs Sun-Times article:
No one takes exception to the work of the media more regularly than defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who complained at length about a Sun-Times column from earlier in the week that he acknowledged he didn’t read. Harris said the column made it appear he was pointing fingers at teammates after the loss to Tennessee. ‘ You think that a lot of the fans are saying a lot of negative stuff, but it’s really just the media that always keeps us going,” Harris said. ”That’s what you guys have to do, that’s your job. … I just pray for you guys and hope that you can sleep at night.” Cornerback Corey Graham said Wednesday that everyone with the Bears was on thin ice, and that seems to be the way some want it. ”Where is it not tense Week [11]?” Smith said. ”It’s a big game, and each week it’s that way. I hope it would be tense. There’s a lot at stake, and guys want to play well. It will be the same thing next week and the week after that.”

Mike says: Tommie Harris is just too inconsistent as a player. He looked back to form about a month ago, and now he is back to lying on blocks and does not have the ability to disrupt many plays. He is not quick off the ball, he is not explosive right now and this affects the Bears defense. The whole concept of the defense is built around having great play from the three techniques. Harris has been too inconsistent and this is why the Bears are so inconsistent.

This is dead-on. Harris's act is growing very tired. Tommie, the media is not blocking your ass. Harris is not coming off the ball and does not have the size to dominate the middle. A 3-technique is really not supposed to clog; he is supposed to attack and disrupt. Harris may command an initial double, but the extra OL quickly moves on to another defender. On passing downs, Dvorcek and Israel Idonojie are more effective. Harris needs to shut his mouth and earn that salary. If anyone should be losing sleep, it's Harris-for stealing money and wins from our team.

I am heading to Lambeau, aka "Football Mecca" for the big game. I would not be going if Orton was out. Love ya' Neckbeard. You can count on Kyle to do whatever it takes to play, which is another way to say "No chance that midget is getting into the biggest divisional game of the season. This game could be a shootout. The Pack defense has been depleted with injuries to top players. The Bears D will now face a receiving corps that rivals any in the League. Just think what Kerry Collins would have done with a true deep threat. Ouch. The Baboon-ich must come up with a way to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers or this will be ugly.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Thank God for good junior high football coaching. Bob Babich decides at halftime of the LION game to stop the insanity, the coming-out party for the great Dan Orlavsky. For one half, sweet Dan, looked like DAN MARINO, picking apart the Bears pass defense and their formidable lack of pass rush. The genius Babich decides that the BLITZ would be an effective tactic against a young, green QB. Thanks, Bob. Only one half of hypertension to weaken my heart for life. Thanks loads.

Kyle or no Kyle, Rex aside, this Titan game is a test for the defense and the O-line. Tennessee is big and mean. They will come right at you. In the immortal words of Al McGuire, the Titans will bring no "french pastry." It will be a slobberknocker of a game. The Bears better strap it up, because the tougher team will win. This reminds me of the 2004 game in Pittsburgh. The Steelers, in the cold and snow, powered by a soon-to-be-retired Jerome Bettis, kicked the snot out of the Bears and launched themselves into a championship run. It was an ass-whipping. That's what I love about football. It ain't complicated. You will find out on Sunday who is really capable of being a champion. There will be no where to hide. I can't wait.

Brian Urlacher has looked like an ordinary player when I have actually looked at him. He is not the same guy. He has lost the burst, the explosion that he was known for. You can see it on his blitzing. It is not his fault; he has hit the wall. Lance Briggs has been very good and has covered for Urlacher on the inside. Also, the cover-2 is dead. Urlacher takes himself out of the action with that deep pass drop. Opposing teams don't go deep middle; they find the underneath or the shorter routes.

What I fear you will see on Sunday is a defense that gets manhandled by a bigger front. The Bears are not stout inside and their backers are not powerful enough to stop the run. Tennessee will not have to throw to win. If the Bears can rise up, press the outside receivers man-to-man and load up on the run, they have a shot. I just think that their scheme is obsolete and their personnel is undersized for this opponent.

On the other side, they have to keep the Titans off balance. Grossman has to get into a rhythm. If it goes three and out-three and out, they will get steamrolled. The good thing about this game is that the Bears know what is coming. The question is...can they handle it and give it right back.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Week 9 is Fine

The blog writing took the bye week to recharge the battery. It helps that the Viking game was so much fun. I really had a good time, other than the fact that they keep squeezing the cars into the South lot. It's getting tighter amd tighter. They are really trying to squeeze me out. They are pissing me off. Didn't I just say that I had fun?

The reality is that when your quarterback plays well and you can score points, the game is much easier to enjoy. I love defense and hard-hitting more than most, but when you grind out the wins, it can be unsatisfying. The Bear offense has been good lately. Neckbeard the pirate, has been quite the swashbuckler.

Mike Singletary is one of my football heroes. He has no capacity for bullshit. His press conference after the 49er's last game was an example. He said what every football fan wants to say. It's what every football man believes. You aren't supposed to say it to a pro? F that. The real shame is that Mike has to say it at all. These divas get paid to play. The 49er's suck and most of them are losers. The media is beautiful. Especially the ex-coach commentators. If those loads knew what motivated these pricks, wouldn't they have coaching jobs? I believe the best way to motivate most players is to threaten them with their jobs. Jimmie Johnson, Parcells, Coughlin did it that way. They won some Super Bowls with that little tactic. But then the media and players would call them mean and cruel. Boo hoo, sissies.

Here comes the Lion. I fear any team that is 0 for the season. Start fast, boys and let them suck on the jetwash.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cherish All Time That You Have Been your Offensive Line

I never thought much of Matt Ryan coming into the NFL. I was wrong about that guy. Yesterday, he was given all day to throw, and he made the most of it. He shredded the Bears for 301 yards and pulled the game out in the end. Really, the Falcons and Ryan dominated the game all but for 4 minutes in the 4th quarter. The Bears did not deserve to win.

The Bears need a talent upgrade at defensive end. Brown and Wale are solid pros, but they are not difference makers. Another game with no pressure, no sacks and no turnovers. I have said it before and will say it again, we have to get more talented on both sides of the line. The defensive tackle position is deep and good, but you don't expect your tackles to get sacks. There needs to be pressure because we can't cover right now. I think healthy or not, Nathan Vasher is struggling to cover people. Tillman is constantly banged up. On that last deep out, Marcus Hamilton had his head in the backfield, did not get enough depth and allowed that completion to be a lot easier than it should have been. It wasn't Mike Brown's fault.

The squib quick was a weeny call. Shame on Lovie for not playing to win. Lovie. Let's eat the remainder of his contract and get Bill Cowher.

The Kyle Orton Experience is getting surreal. I am afraid to say it, but I think we got ourselves a quarterback. That last drive was all Orton. He looked great.

What the hell is going on with Tommie Harris spastic re-fumble? I mean, enough of this guy. Dusty Dvorcek is doing a great job. Oh, one more thing, Devin Hester needs to start running again on his kick returns. You learn that in youth football. If you stop, you're dead. And you will get hurt. Devin is progressing as a receiver but regressing on the returns. It is like he wants out.

Big battle for the NFC North lead on Sunday. I will be there and will officially lose my voice. I have to give up one for the team.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Really Don't Have Anything To Say

The Bears got 'er done on Sunday, but it was 3-0 for a little too long for my liking. They began the second half with a "foot on the throat" drive for a touchdown and that did it. Good to see them put a bad team on the hoof and stomp them.

Tommie Harris apologized to the team and his fans. Then, he went on to talk about how he lost his way spiritually. Whatever. My spirit would be tied to the $10 million. Get out there and play. Talent. What a burden. Let's see what happens when we put the pads on.

Atlanta will be a tough game. On the road with against a team that's no pushover. The Falcons have suprised many people with their start. I am never suprised. They are professionals; they have pride. What is suprising is the play of rookie QB Matt Ryan. I will admit that I was not high on this kid coming into the league. However, the Falcons have put him in a position to be successful, and the guy has a great arm. So, I stand corrected. Let's shut down the Michael Turner running show and put these guys down.

The Kyle Orton experience heads into Week Six. I have enjoyed it so far. Orton gets better every week. He is a leader. He is tough. He is becoming very dependable. I will stop talking now. The Jinx, you know.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chicago Baseball...Catch the Fever

As our two baseball teams crap in their respective hats, it's a perfect time to cuddle up with some football. There has been a game on every night this week. I haven't watched them, but I love the effort. It is my gridiron security blanket. When I need it, it's there. So dependable, my blanky.

Cub fans gotta be feelin' the pain. It's one thing to get beat, but to play as bad as they have (errors & walks) really hurts. Too bad. As for the Sox...they have no clutch in them.

Tommie Harris got suspended because he is never on time. He thinks he is bigger than the program. I am losing faith in this guy by the day. He can't stay on the field, and he has a big mouth. He bitched at management for cutting Mark Bradley loose. Tommie, lay off the talent evaluation. Bradley produced nothing but stomach cramps. He was another guy who couldn't stay healthy, get open or catch. Tough traits for a receiver. Harris needs to shut up and play. Lovie needs to shut him down if he is injured. I hate the fact that the Bears play this cloak-and-dagger game with injuries. If the dude is hurt, I want to know. I think if you give a guy $10 million, he can get to meetings and treatment on time. Be a professional.

Michael Lombardi of National Football Post called out Bernard Berrian for his inability to hold on to the ball. I called this one. Berrian was going to get overpaid. He is not a big time playmaker. He is a straight ahead, fly pattern, speed receiver. He is not dynamic and not worthy of the millions Minnesota gave him. You had to let him go. He is no better than what we have right now. Jerry Angelo, this is not a compliment.

Our player evaluation is so much stronger on the defensive end than the offensive end. I see Corey Graham, Nick Roach, Marcus Harrison all get plugged in and produce. On offense, we can't get any depth in the talent pool. They got it right with Forte. They finally put in Beekman. This is good. By the way, on Sunday night when we had third and seven and needed a first down late in the game, Forte got 10 yards right over Beekman. You got to play the Boston College O-lineman. They are tough sons of bitches. The Bears should know this.

Anyway, I want Brandon Rideau activated for this week. Let's see what he can do. In several preseasons, this guy went up and caught the ball. He scores touchdowns. I don't believe these coaches when they say that this kid is not ready. I trust they believe he could be or why would he be on the team. Throw him the ball. It can't hurt.

Be prepared for the endless game vs. the Lion. Kitna may throw the ball a Greise-like 70 times. It will be a slow clock.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Roller Coaster of Love (for now)

I enjoyed the game Sunday night. It was, for me at least, the most entertaining Bear game I have seen in a while. A great defensive effort with benefits-3 Bear offensive touchdowns. The offense has had one putrid half, the 1st half vs. Tampa Bay. Other than that, they are giving me more on offense than I expected. Many analysts say that the Eagles gave it away, that we got lucky. Whatever. We beat a good team. We played really hard for 4 quarters. We got a first down at the end of the game when we needed one badly. We drafted a very good running back. All that is cause to celebrate for 15 minutes.

Orton can really see the field. He does not always make the best throw, but at least he is finding the right receiver. After four weeks of watching him, I can say that it was the right call to start him over Grossman. A real easy call, actually.

Great crowd. Not an empty seat in the house, loud, everyone stayed till the end and pretty well-behaved. Not as much sloppy drunkenness as in the past. My crowd got a little unruly when they were informed that I forgot to bring the buns. What a bonehead. However, after the orgy of grilled encased ground meats, I was propelled back to the throne. Sausage-There is No Substitute.

Nothing would throw the momentum right into the abyss more than a less-than-stellar effort against the Lion in Detroit on Sunday. We need to come out smokin', just like this past Sunday night. I love the opening three-play touchdown drive. Wow! Who were those guys?

The Sox are roaring into the playoffs after an exciting, white-knuckler last night. I applaud the "Black Out" attire concept with one caveat. Is the all-black clothing an effective intimidation tactic during a night baseball game. Did the Twins say to themselves, "I can hear these fans, but where are they?" Purely from a fashion standpoint, black is very slimming. This is a plus for most southsiders, considering their love of encased ground meats. I bet the folks at the game were feeling thin and sexy. Good for them.

I endorse playoff baseball. I encourage you to go ahead and's O.K. It's exciting stuff. If the Sox lose early, I want the Cubs to win it all. It will be months of pure hell, but eventually that will blow over. Then they can shut the fu&* up about the curse, Bartman, and the wait till next year bullshit that they have been spewing during my 42 years of life. It needs to end and end soon. So, if it must be so, then GO CUBBIES! You know, Lou Pineilla should go to the black. It would help him out way more than the home white with pinstripes or those (Ugh!) very unflattering road grays.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wish Me Luck

Yes, I watched the Bucs game on Sunday, and, no I don't want to talk about it. As The Colonel Pacino said in Scent of a Woman, "If I was twenty years younger, I would TAKE A BLOWTORCH TO THIS PLACE!!!" That's how I feel about Halas Hall. I want to punch Lovie Smith in the crotch. HOOO AHH!

Sunday night...Bears v. Eagles...I'm goin'. It's about the food, man. Hopefully, I will be able to keep it down. If you watched the Eagles/Steelers game last week, you saw the Eagle defense beat the (I don't know any other way to say it) FUCK out of Ben Roethlisberger. They blitzed on every play. They blitzed very well on every play. The Steelers O-line got whupped. I am visualizing the Bears O-line dealing with this onslaught, and all I can offer is one kick-ass bratwurst. I may stay in the parking lot. They should dress Lovie and let him play QB. Knock the stupid right out of him.

When you blow double-digit leads late in a game, it is a reflection on your toughness. That's coaching. Toughen 'em up or get some tougher guys. Bad tackling, stupid penalties, a team looking fatigued in the 4th quarter? C'mon coach, let's let them know, if you can't cut it, you're out of a job. Threaten their livelihood. That's how you motivate these spoiled jagbags.

George W. Bush has bankrupted or failed every business that he ever had a part. He couldn't find oil in Texas. Is it just a coincidence that our economy is in the tank? This election can't happen fast enough. I cannot wait for the George W. Bush Library. Can you file comic books, Cliff Notes and Cracked magazine under the Dewey Decimal System?

Hey, that's not football. On the positive, Matt Forte is pretty good. Orton had a good second half. I am trying not to remember the first half; you recall, the half where the Bears average starting position was the Bucs 41 yard-line. The half where that field position, handed to the offense by the defensive turnover orgy, resulted in 3 points. YOU REMEMBER. This is enough of the positive paragraph. I'm losin' it.

Ever since Lovie pushed out Ron Rivera and put his buddy Bob Babich in at D-coordinator, our defense has looked sloppy. This was a really bad move. Rivera had this defense (with the same personnel) carrying a team to the Super Bowl. What problem was there? It was so big, it could not be overcome? Someone needs to explain this to me.

I need to stop talking now. It's sucking my will to tailgate. Let's do the Mojito.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sleep It Off

Today, you saw why the Bears gave Rex Grossman so many chances at QB1. He may throw the deep ball as well as anyone in the NFL. Of course, the Bears coaches are enamored with talent over football skill. That is why you see Orton doing well with the tools he has. He is a football player. But he is not a very good football player; he has shortcomings. His shortcomings don't turn into turnovers ala Rex. But he cannot stretch the field and capitalize on the few deep opportunities he gets in a game. Of the 300,000 passes he threw in college, not one of them was over 15 yards. You saw it today. The Bears offense was exposed to the masses for what it is. Not very good. You can have speed and potential, but results and points are what counts.

That being said, this was a game that we should have won. We need an offensive coach who can call a two-minute drill. The last two possessions on offense were horribly played. It is either they don't believe in their wide-outs and tight ends or just forget to throw to them like a normal football team. Either way, you will see this all year. You just get the first down, four more plays and get in field goal range. Put it on your QB. That is what he dreams about. A fullback dive on 4th and 1 with the game on the line. Who made that call, the Smart Quiz winner from AM 780?

Another example of Bears talent evaluation. Chris Harris was dumped by the Bears because they loved Kevin Payne. Payne is younger, faster and flashes great potential. Harris just led the league in fumbles caused with 8 last season. The number 8 would be the number of crucial tackles Payne has missed this year already. Your strong safety needs to be a solid tackler. Payne is always around the ball, he just can't stop the guy who holds it. For a defense that values the takeaway so much, this decision still rankles. Harris's strip of Greg Olsen changed the game.

They need to tell the kick return teams that the illegal blocks in the back are not working. It would be one thing if you tried to cheat and sprung your guy for a huge return. All three of these penalties came on no-gain returns. And killed us on field position. A couple penalties hurt, dropped or missed passes; this game came down to the fact that the offense couldn't get a drive for 3 quarters. Or a first down. St. Clair couldn't handle Julius Peppers, and I now await the second coming of Fred (I lost my wallet) Miller. It will be an improvement. The only thing St. Clair blocks well is oxygen. Devin Hester pulls a rib? Again, we very easily could have started 2-0 with both wins on the road. I still had us at 0-2 at this point.

I was furious after this game. I put Mary Cate in for a nap and fell asleep myself. A gift of a nap. When I woke up, I was so happy for the rest, I lost my anger. I think I'm growing as a human being.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What the Hell?

Remember one of those nights when you were feeling a little tired or sluggish, maybe on a Sunday, and you didn't really feel like going out. A friend talks you into it. "Only for an hour or so," you said. Your destination wasn't promising, your expectations were low and you absolutely positively weren't drinking. Then, you get there. There was a band playing that you never heard of and they kicked ass. A bunch of people you knew showed up and they were fired up. The drinks started flowing; you were singing and dancing; you got home at 3:00 a.m. and didn't even mind that you had to get up for work/class at 7:00 a.m. It was a memorable night, but a night you couldn't repeat with a plan or a goal. Unexpectedly, it was as much fun as you could ever have.

That was Sunday night in Indy. No one had lower expectations for this game than me. It was about class, like in horse racing. They had it; we didn't. 60 minutes later, the Bears had dominated the Colts. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence. They controlled the line of scrimmage all night. Who were those impostors on the offensive line? Forte is the real deal, but I could have run through those holes. What the hell is going on out there?

Never doubt this defense. I won't. They were flying around like Killer Bees. Some tackling needs to be better (Kevin Payne), but how about them Bears. Just great. They overcame the mistakes, especially Hester's folly (which finally got Lovie to crack the "Lovie Face"), like a real competitive football team.

All that being said, I worry that the consistency will not be there. I fear that this version of Bears will torment me all season. Can we recapture the magic? I like Kyle Orton. I like his confidence, his courage and his head. But his receiving corps is still a pupu platter. What will happen when the opposition loads up for the run? You see what happens when you can run it well, so well that you are running the ball on third down, converting first downs regularly. Even Ron Turner can't fuck up play calls. I will not indulge my urge to gush. It was a great moment for a Bear fan. The moments over. Here come the Panthers.

Did I mention that this dominant performance was ON THE ROAD! Sorry, I gushed.

John Madden says that every NFL fan is devastated by Tom Brady's season-ending injury. I say "Fuck him!" He cavorted around all summer with his "new-style American girlfriend," flipping the bird to the football gods. He blew a 18-0 season in the Super Bowl. Any jinx-fearing football player would have holed up in Apollo Creed's gym from Rocky 3 and emerged for camp looking like mini-Terminator muscled QB. I don't feel bad. Maybe he will come down to earth, taking over Ditka's role as spokesman for Cialis with all of his free time.

That movie "Sixteen Candles" really holds up. Describing the Bears on Sunday, in the words of Farmer Ted, "I'm at a loss."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Driving To Despair

The family roadtrip vacation is now one for the ages. On Saturday, we left Hershey, Pennsylvania at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. I put in the final marathon stretch of driving through the last of 13 states, covering 10 days of family togetherness, to arrive home at 7:30 p.m. Central Time. Just in time to see the Bears play the Seahawks in Preaseason practice game 2. After two quarters, I wanted to get back in the car. After two years of listening and reading about our quarterback situation, you all got to see in living color how bad this offensive line really is. Grossman had no chance. It was as if the line refused to block, imposing their own will (or lack of one) on this QB "controversy." "Hey," they were saying, "we are the truly shitty part of this team and its time we got our recognition." So, enough about the QB. It's Orton, and he's taller, so he can see over the oncoming slaughter for a slightly longer time. Enough time to decide on which sideline to throw they ball away and avoid the sack.

If you are ever in Orangeberg County, South Carolina, be sure to find Duke's Barbecue. It is a little shack of a place off the interstate in a small town just north of Columbia. When you walk in, you are summoned to a cafeteria steam table, no different than the one in your high school lunchroom. What that table contains is the best barbecue that you can find in the world. For $7.50, the lady behind the counter pulls out a large Styrofoam takeout plate with sections. Telling her that I was a rookie, she gave me the house specials. Pulled pork like I love it, slightly dry, not fatty and tender. There was very good, not overly sweet slaw. The hash is an orange concoction (allegedly pig innards ground into mush) spread over rice. Yummy. There were hush puppies too. But the kicker was the sauce. It was a sweet mustard sauce. It was heavenly. All these years of barbecue sauce, I had no idea. It's mustard. I am still thinking about that plate.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Bottom Line Gives No Goosbumps.

The Bears organization is not a dynamic entity. It takes no chances and plays the game within the restraints set up by the salary cap and the collective bargaining agreement. This is a result of Bears ownership valuing the bottom line of profit in how they run the team. Winning is secondary to the revenue generated from their product. The Halas family, the McCaskeys, have no fortune generated from another venture. They don't have the bottomless pockets of a Mark Cuban or Daniel Snyder. The Bears are their livelihood, not their hobby. Thus, a conservative approach to hiring coaches and a general manager has been their mandate. As a result, we Bear fans get a bland and safe football team. Always a chance to be good, but never great.

This is why we long for Ditka. Not because he was such a great coach, but because he was exciting, unpredictable and fun. We would settle for that. This team we have cannot and will not win a championship. The ownership's profit-driven mentality allows for the recent team structure that completely neglects the offensive side of the football. I think it is because offensive players as a rule make more money than defensive players. The more talent on offense, the more they have to spend on player salaries. With a strong defense, the score remains close and maybe we can pull one out of our ass. Isn't that the feeling you get watching a Bear game? When the moment comes, and it comes in almost every game, when Bears offense needs to score a touchdown, you realize that you have absolutely no hope that they can get it done. Instead, we lean on our crutches, the chance that the defense scores or Hester shakes loose. Devin Hester is the worst thing that could have happened to this team. It allows Lovie and Jerry Angelo to continue to ignore improving the talent on offense.

This is no knock on Hester at all. He is a great kick returner, the best I have ever seen or read about. But Hester is cheaper than actually paying a real NFL quarterback, a real NFL running back and a real NFL receiver. Aikmen, Smith and Irvin would never happen in Chicago, not in a million years. This lack of energy, of vision, of adventure has gotten us to this point. Potentially the worst offense we have seen in Chicago in decades, but still a chance to get 9 wins. That and an opportunity to get taken out to the woodshed in a playoff game. This is no way to live Bear fans.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'll Gladly Take the Duct Tape

I envy the baseball fan. Winter slips away, a new season approaches, and hope springs eternal. It is the right of every baseball fan to look forward to the arrival of pitchers and catchers. To dream of a World Series. To say, "This is our year."

I am not a baseball fan. I don't believe in fairy tales. I am a Bears fan. Summer kicks into the dog days, camp opens, and I feel like beating Lovie Smith. This is the birthright of every Bears fan. Especially, this preseason. What do I have to look forward to? An offense built out of cardboard and duct tape, while the Colts (season opening foe)drive a shiny, chrome Ferrari. I take that back, an offense built out of cardboard and scotch tape. Duct tape is strong, durable and dependable. Powerful. Comparing the Bears offense to duct tape is an insult to duct tape. Cardboard, too.

How bad is it? When your team is wringing it's hands due to the failure of their projected #1 receiver to report, when that receiver has never really played receiver since Pop Warner, well, that's bad. When your new 22 year old starting left tackle has to come off the practice field with a weak back (How long you had it? About a "week" back), that's bad. When that championship type defense's window is closing so fast that Clarista Flockhart finds it to be a tight squeeze, that's bad.

The Bears offense is going to be awful. The Horror.

See how I'm not like the baseball fan.

Monday, July 7, 2008

No Bark With His Bite

Many experts in the world of professional tennis hold that Roger Federer is the greatest player ever to swing a racket. He has won many Grand Slam titles on various surfaces (not clay, however)and notably, had won the last five Wimbeldon championships. Yesterday, Federer lost at Wimbeldon in the longest, most grueling final in Centre Court history. The victor was his arch rival, the young talent Rafael Nadal, who has been Federer's nemesis on clay for years. Nadal is the new king and deserves the title. As to be expected, Federer did not relinquish the title without a fight. Down two sets to nil, RF fought back, winning the next two sets 7-6 and ultimately went down 7-9 in the final, fifth set. It was such a final, so compelling and historic that John McEnroe, in a post-match interview, spontaneously hugged Federer, thanked him for all of the tennis world and appeared to shed a tear or two. Poor Roger looked like someone just gave him a wedgie.

Yet, Federer allowed the hug. Of this there is no dispute, he is the most humble, gracious and nicest world champion in sports. Federer is all class. His post-match comments contained no excuses. He acknowledged that Nadal was the better man that day. He admitted that he gave everything he had and had come up short. He admiited that it hurt to lose in this way. Nonetheless, in epic defeat, Federer held his second place trophy up to the crowd with a proud look on his face. When McEnroe asked Roger if, looking back, he could take some solace in the fact that he had played and lost in the greatest Wimbeldon final ever, Federer admitted that he could.

Can you imagine how an American would have responded to that question? Moreover, how would an American coach or player have responded to Federer's answer? My guess is that many would ridicule and diminish Federer for making such a revelation. That is the American way. Woof, wail and blame. We throw sportsmanship and grace out the window for the bullshit facade and posturing first displayed by professional wrestlers, as if Federer's response and actions in defeat were a sign of weakness. As you know, there is nothing worse in America than being nice. I will mention also that Nadal was wonderful in victory, a true champion and sportsman. It was a glorious ending to a championship. And a lesson on sport.

There is word that Brett Favre might return. Lots of words. Ugh. When you go, stay gone. Bad sign when you cry like a bitch during your retirement press conference. Translation-Means your not ready to go. Dumb ass.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's Called Football

I have a guilty sports pleasure. I love European Soccer. This revelation is the equivalent of admitting that I like Kelly Clarkson's second album...alot. (I'm 42 years old; I have obviously outgrown feeling embarrassment) Anyway, this year, two of the best European soccer tournaments were played within weeks of each other, the UEFA Champions League and Euro '08. They were fantastic.

I am late to soccer. I held the sport in the same regard as most Americans. It was a sissy sport played by European pretty boys who flopped around on the ground like suffocating fish. That and the lack of scoring were death to the "futbol." Then in 1998, while awaiting the arrival of the great Molly McQuaid, I watched the World Cup. That year the US team, always an inferior side, made an incredible run to the elimination round, upsetting Colombia along the way. More than patriotism took hold, I watched other teams and found the world's best players all competing in one tournament. I was hooked. The game was like chess on cleats, and when attacking the goal, it was pure art in action.

That being said, I cannot watch MLS or any other inferior brand of soccer. Those teams have neither speed nor touch. That is boring. I want attacking soccer, always moving forward toward the keeper. Even in World Cup, many teams play a defensive game, afraid to push the ball up, to make a mistake, to leave themselves vulnerable to a counter-attack. I loathe this strategy. I can say that because I have learned enough about the game to criticize a weak, safe and dull strategy. Get in the ring and fight. Call it the Teddy Roosevelt in me. Moreover, I am a big fan of the greatest offensive, attacking league in the world, the English Premier League aka "The Premiership."

I offer the EPL to the soccer novice because it is the most skilled and entertaining soccer in the world. The best and highest paid players come to England to display their skills. Unfortunately, four teams dominate the league. There is no salary cap, so the owners who spend the most money get the best players. The four are Manchester United (Yankees), Chelsea (Red Sox), Arsenal and Liverpool. I root for Liverpool. Three reasons. The red shirts, their fans and, of course, the Beatles. They also have my favorite player, the Larry Bird of soccer, Steven Gerrard.

EPL football is played at the highest speed and is played in the offensive end. The fans will boo their own team when they kick the ball back defensively to their own goalie. They don't play for overtime or penalty kicks. Penalty kicks are the worst way to end a game. Some teams play for penalties. Recently, in the Euro, Italy played eventual champion, Spain, in the quarterfinal. The Italians played like fruits, dropping all their players back in the defensive zone and never attacked the Spanish goal. They were playing 90 minutes of regulation and the mandatory 30 minutes of overtime, pleased with a 0-0 score and a chance to steal a win on penalty kicks. It was a disgrace. The Spanish won on the penalty kicks, thankfully. The Spanish played the most beautiful soccer consistently in this tournament. Later, the Italian coach was fired. He told the press that "it was a shame to lose my job to a loss on penalty kicks." I say, "You played for penalty kicks, you f-ing greaseball." He was the coach,; he planned the strategy. Good riddance.

The common American criticisms of soccer have now fallen on my deaf ears. I don't enjoy players who "flop." However, even a tough player has to go down once and a while. You cannot get the legs and spikes into players. There is no reason for a player to "tough" it out when this happens. He is entitled to have a foul called for his team. You have to let the ref know. Most soccer refs would make the NBA refs look like heroes. As for the boring play, well I just covered that. I am steering you in the proper direction. Low scoring...that is a prejudice of an impatient American. We are the most impatient people in the world. These people think that their lives are so important. Assholes. Slow down, tough guy. It is amazing that we still have bookstores in America. We really don't have "bookstores." We have the "book, music, movie and coffee stores." Typical America. Have to get it all in one stop. I mean, who has the time, right. Assholes.

The greatest moment in Euro 08 was the television coverage. The final was on ABC, channel 7. During the game, no commercials. That's right, no commercials. Any EPL game on Fox Sports, no commercials. One more time, no commercials. Also, you know how during NFL games, the networks force the announcers to hype their other programming, "Jack Bauer rescues Katie Holmes from the clutches of the Evil Gnome on "24", FOX TONITE!!" Well during the Euro final that did happen, once. The commentator began to read a spot on an upcoming ABC show and suddenly stopped. "We'll get back to that in a second...Schweinsteiger has the ball forward in the Spanish zone." One spot, and he blew it off because the game was more important. Priceless. I can imagine the pre-broadcast meeting. ABC Advertising Geek-"Adrian, we want you to read 15 spots during game play." Adrian-"Fuck off, Yank. I will read one...Maybe." He did finally read the spot. I could hear his teeth gritting the whole time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Signing and Sighing

The Tommie Harris extension was a no-brainer. When he is on the field and healthy, there is no better defensive tackle in the league. He is a dominant, young, game-changing player. As pleased as I am about his new deal, let's not forget that despite 3 straight Pro Bowls, Harris has not been consistently healthy. The fact that he admitted to playing hurt all of last year in order to earn the big cash is commendable, but his injury history should scare the Bear fan. Last year, Harris was not the player for whom offensive coordinators game plan. I remember a young Adrian Peterson and the Viking offensive line kicking the shit out of Bears on the ground. I remember a lot of rushing yards yielded last season. Make no mistake, getting this deal done was crucial to our future, but I am cautious in my optimism.

Don't give the Bears front office too much credit for the Harris signing. This kind of deal, the team locking up a young star and avoiding a franchise tag or free agency, is standard operating procedure in this NFL era. The alternative is disaster, losing a stud in his prime. It just doesn't happen. If it does, GM's lose jobs. Thanks for not fucking this up. That's all the Bears suits get. If you want some real ass-kissing, let's see how y'all do with Devin. Get 'er done, boys.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reverse Psycho

Dave Haugh, the Tribune's Bears beat writer, nails the sad history of Cedric Benson in this article. Enough said.

Now for something completely different. Urlacher pissed off BearLand, bitched about his contract in the press and purposely blew off Organized Team Activities. Bad move. However, he appeared for mandatory mini-camp and then told the GM that he wants to retire a "Bear." It appears that this renegotiation will get done. Moments later, Benson goes off the reservation and gets himself cut. Yesterday, Urlacher shows up for OTAs. To a man, every teammate says what a great feeling it is to have their leader and best player back on the field and in the locker room.

Did he plan this? I don't give him credit for being that smart, but I admit, when I read about his appearance at Halas Hall, I felt all warm and gooey for old #54. What a turnaround. Add Benson's boner, it gives the fans a good perspective on the difference between an All-Pro professional and a first-round bust. Got to have Brian Urlacher on the squad. If I had the purse strings, I would be loosening them for Urlacher. He could thank Cedric for the raise.

As the dog days of summer approach, the thoughts of this middle-aged man turn to...bratwurst. The quest for the best brat has concluded. Of course, the Johnsonville will always be a quality choice. You can't go wrong there. Plus, accessibility is key. When you can go to Jewel and cover your sausage run, it saves time. If you got the time, I got the new King. Just drive to Elburn, Illinois and buy the fresh brats at the Elburn meat market. Or get off at the last and furthest stop on a Chicago commuter train. It is near Sugar Grove. In other words, it's far. But so worth it. It is a true German brat. It has a great casing for grilling and is full of flavor with no obvious fat. I know that it has fat, but it doesn't explode from the run off of fat. I can't explain it; just come to the tailgates next season. They are very good.

Illinois High School football schedules are out today. That is always a landmark date for me. There will be some football watching this season. And it ain't gonna be on many Sundays. Friday nights and Saturdays, preferably. NFL tickets available.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Calling All Sober Running Backs

Cedric Benson was arrested for DWI last night in Austin, Tx. He was pulled over after 3:00 a.m. by police. This is bad news for the Bears. He has to go, this Benson. I may have given him the benefit of the doubt on the Boating WI that he received several weeks ago. Now, I know that Benson does not care about winning, his teammates or the fans who support his team. Why can't he stay in or go home early or hire a driver or designate a driver? I could go on and on. These were the same questions we were asking about Tank Johnson a year ago. The Bears cut him despite the fact that his DWI was ultimately dropped. It doesn't matter if Benson is innocent. It's clear that his priority is not football. It's Cedric Benson.

This current disaster happened after I just watched the replay of Benson's best start as a Bear. Bears v. Broncos 2007, the evening Devin Hester tore up the Broncos. Well, early on, Hester muffed a punt which led to a Denver touchdown. It was Benson who kept the Bears in the game. Benson was coming off his 11 carry for 89yard performance against the Seahawks. He had a 43 yard run in that game which the Bears lost. I recall the coaches were criticized for not running the ball more during that game.

Well, they came out running versus Denver. Benson looked great. He ran hard, found daylight and powered downhill. He finished his runs with his pads down. He ran with abandon. He was consistent and looked like a real NFL running back. At least until his last carry, his eighth. It was a good long run, over 10 yards. As he was tackled, he twisted his ankle. Season over. That is the other way we will remember Benson. Arrested or Injured. The only time this moron gets a designated driver is when he is carted off the gridiron. Or being driven from a crime scene in bracelets. I feel woozy.

What's next? We have to find some running backs to plug the hole. It can be done. You just have to be creative. Maybe rookie Matt Forte can cover us until 2009, but I would scour every roster and search for that hidden gem. The Packers got huge dividends for the minor expense it took to snag Ryan Harris from the Giants. Just be active and open-minded, and I guarantee we will come out of this OK. I am talking myself into this. Benson, the bad decisions on and off the field aside, still cannot stay healthy. Hasn't and never will. So, let's say goodbye and move on. I think I'm O.K. now.

On the contract topic, this Devin Hester thing is a real dilemma. He wants out of his rookie deal. I agree. However, he wants #1 receiver money. I cannot agree. As awesome as he is, Hester is not even a solid #2 receiver in the league. He is the greatest returner in league history. There is no set pay level for someone like Hester. He should be the highest paid return guy ever, but I that cannot be enough money. He may never be a good receiver. I suspect that he will, but you can't pay on spec. (See Cedric Benson or any first round bust) Based on past performance, the Bears should front load a 3 year deal with millions in bonus money and heavy incentives on receiving performance. Pay him now for lighting up the NFL for two straight years, but performance base the rest of the dough. After a few years, if Hester becomes an every down stud, he can back up the Brinks truck. Make no mistake, the league will stop kicking to this guy this year. Then, the Bears will have to find new ways to get him the ball. I look forward to that.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sticking to the Law Business

My wife caught me reading Strunk & White's Elements of Style. It is a small book on writing, a primer on clear and concise writing. She thinks I am crazy. I can't disagree. I read great writing, and I want to do it. I read my favorite writer's blogs, yes, blogs, and I want to be able to write like they do. I read a Hemingway short story, and I want to kill myself. I read it, want to do it, try it, fail at it and feel crappy about it. It is so hard to do and doesn't come to me easily. So I read Elements of Style and hope for inspiration. I am better off reading The Enquirer. The writing in that tabloid does not inspire suicide.

The R. Kelly trial is in full swing. During jury selection, I had to go into that courtroom. They have their own Sheriff's security team, screening all who enter, metal detectors and everything. You would expect to then board a plane. Initially, they made me pull out my ID and empty my pockets. After a few moments, the sergeant in charge said, "He is a lawyer; he has been in a courtroom before; he knows what to do." Later, I rode down the elevator with him. I said, "Some setup." He said, "Yeah, I should have brought my big, floppy shoes and red nose." He is right. It's a circus, a black-eye to the legal system.

You have the judge, Ringmaster Ned, leading the nonsense. You have the lawyers, hamming it up with their "pointed" questions and phony demeanor, yelling and bellowing at witnesses. The media plays it all up, giving everyone a forum for their acting. The case has no victim, or a victim who cares. She and her family continue to honor their promise, keeping their mouths shut for money. That would be in contrast to every other witness in the case who was paid off, and yet still testify against their benefactor.

On our descent, the sergeant and I lamented the true nature of 26th Street. While this legal farce continues, there are issues of real consequence being decided in the building. Family members of murder victims seeking closure and some idea of peace, defendants accused falsely of committing a crime, some of the best lawyers and prosecutors in America conducting the business of justice with honor and professionalism, unconcerned about their names being in print or their faces appearing on television.

As all of this occurs, Memorial Day is upon us. Many lawyers, especially defense lawyers, like to tell potential jurors that jury service is the second most important duty that can be undertaken by an American citizen. They also may say that our soldiers defend our freedom and our way of life. They will point to our legal system as the best, and the one truly American institution that separates us from the rest of the world. I am one of those lawyers. I say those things because I believe them with my whole heart and soul.

I believe that to shirk jury service, to trivialize it or blow it off, is a slap in the face to every soldier that picked up a rifle and served this country. I am sickened by the excuses given for being unable to serve on a jury or being unable to answer the questions honestly. They sicken me, these so-called Americans. Their lives are trivial in comparison to the lives of those who make such sacrifices on their behalf. Take a few hours or days and give the justice system your best. It is the least you can do.

Today, I consider the the commitment of our soldiers and all who assist in their efforts. I think of all those who have paid the price of freedom throughout our history. They are the reason I have this vocation. I honor them by my commitment to justice and our system of government and laws. I try to remember them every time I step into the well of a courtroom and open my mouth. I hope I do them proud.

Monday, May 12, 2008

TV Sucks.

The final episode of the "Wire" has come and gone long ago. There is nothing on television worth watching, at least not regularly. No sports can hold my interest. An occasional "Frontline" might cause me to watch the tube. Instead, I have watched a couple of movies lately. I watched the baby-faced killer, Matt Damon, aka "Jason Bourne" in The Bourne Ultimatum. I like spy stuff but have a hard time believing that Matt Damon can whip ass.

A sleeper in the spy genre is Spy Game with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. I am not a fan of either actors recent work. Redford is not a leading man anymore. He is old and saddlebag wrinkly. He is not believable as a hot-chick magnet. He has to pay for the hot chick. (See Indecent Proposal) What is indecent is this old bag getting any young chippy on screen. Pitt can't act. He is only effective when he is not allowed to say a whole lot, plays a young, dim but passionate character and has a strong actor to carry him. (See Seven) A recent example is Troy. He plays Achilles, has his shirt off alot and can pull off the action scenes. The problem is that he has to deliver some emotional lines and show some depth in the character. He cannot pull off a dark side. He is the weak link in an otherwise decent movie.

Spy Game works. Redford can act and plays his age. No love interest for the the Redster. He plays the grizzled veteran spy who makes one last operation to rescue his protegee, Pitt, who went off the reservation to rescue his radical girlfriend from a Chinese prison. Pitt gets to throw a chair and get all emotional over the business of spying and death while Redford carries the film with a strong and likable performance. Every time this one pops up on cable, I'm watching.

This gets me thinking of great supporting roles or cameos from much maligned actors. Scene stealers or unexpected performances. Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross and The Departed. Bruce Willis in Nobody's Fool. Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Charles Grodin in Midnight Run. Val Kilmer in Tombstone.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Money, it's a hit.

Evidently, many Bears fans believe that the decision not to draft a quarterback after the first round is a clear sign that the team is scrapping any plans to make the playoffs in 2008. You may be shocked to know that I believe that the 2008 Bears are not bound for the playoffs anyway, even without a rookie QB sitting on the bench. The QB's drafted after the first round are no better than Kyle Orton. Matt Ryan is no better than Kyle Orton. This is not a time for a rookie. We need to rebuild our line, upgrade our skill people and reinforce the defensive secondary. Then the Bears need to spend some dough on Devin Hester, Brian Urlacher and a veteran QB free agent in 2009.

Renegotiating with Hester is a no-brainer. He is our best weapon, by far. By really far. It is not even funny so far. Tear up the rookie contract and give this kid some real guaranteed money. They owe it to the fans. Urlacher is a little different. He is 30. He was dinged up last year. He has time left on this deal. All true. But he played through the injuries and finished strong. If we continue to run a cover 2 scheme, there is no better middle linebacker in the league than Urlacher. He still creates turnovers, he can still run and continues to be a player the opponent schemes against. He is our leader. Chicago fans are overly critical. 54 has given this town and this team his all. This is not throwing money to a guy as a reward. He will play up to the contract.

If we can get this offense moving in the right direction, a veteran QB is the move. The Bears haven't had a rookie QB develop since McMahon. The line needs to protect, the receivers have to show progress and this running back situation has to produce. The D has a few good years left. I also love Craig Steltz. He will be the next strong safety and will thrive in this scheme. If Mike Brown goes down, which is likely as April snow in this town, watch for Steltz. He also marks the end of the Adam Archuleta Experience. Thank you and goodnight. So, if the Bears can blow the dust off of some cash, let's see the pursuit of a real free agent QB in '09. Make a splash, cheapies. Then, I may be able to justify season tickets, you know, with a real chance at a playoff-winning contender.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Draft Day 2008.

I have turned on ESPN coverage of the 2008 NFL Draft. Hours of speculation to come. Can I tell you, I hate Steve Young. So smug...and such a blabbermouth. Keyshawn is wearing a black and white checked shirt with a pink tie. This is very distracting, and his commentary can't bring you back from this fashion debacle. Throw Berman on this shit pile and hitting the mute button is the only option. Soon the Bears will pick and for their sake, they better get it right. I will check back in.

Day one is complete, and the Bears did well. Chris Williams was my choice for OT. You can see from the film, he can protect the QB. Williams is smart (Vanderbilt grad), has great feet and will be the starter at left tackle for years to come. Unless he blows out his kneecap and all related tendons or gets shot in the head like the Bears last two first-round offensive lineman picks. Matt Forte from Tulane is a good pick in the second round. A solid running back would be there at that pick, and this guy will push Cedric Benson all preseason. I am very pleased. Not a difficult draft to plan, Bears hit their marks. Day two brings many picks and hopefully, some players will emerge. Help is needed in all areas.

I am almost getting excited for football season. Almost.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Favorite Chicagoans

I know the "lawyer" in this John Kass column.,0,1075549.column. I also know the subject of the article, Rudy Acosta. He was a Genson client for a time. I like Acosta more than the lawyer. What a clown. You wonder how I can do this job sometimes.

Another bitching Bear. Now Urlacher wants to rework his contract. He needs the money seeing that he has another fiancee. This guy just loves to give away his money to baby mamas. He should start wearing that cup and supporter 24/7. Kind of like an NFL chastity belt.

Our good governor has left his legacy upon the greater Chicagoland area. He has allowed the destruction-construction of every Illinois tollway and interstate to proceed at the same time. Obviously, he followed the same planning schedule as the Bush administration's Iraq policy. When hairboy is out of office, I will still be driving in construction traffic.

I have been in fiction mode lately. I have just completed my first Daniel Silva spy novel, Mark of the Assassin. Very good. I will do another. Also, I am on another Dennis Lehane novel with his characters, private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. Recently, one of this series, Gone, Baby, Gone was made into a movie with Casey Affleck. Lehane also wrote Mystic River. These are good books, not large-type, pulpy bestsellers. Very dark and complicated characters. Also, my car is featuring the recording of Soul Circus by George Pelecanos. Pelecanos was one of the main writers on the Wire, which I have exalted in this blog on several occasions. You can pick up the development of some of the Wire characters in his books. They are highly recommended.

I have had enough reality lately. It is time for some good stories.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Be True to One's "Self"

A fitting end to the 2007-08 Matt sports season. An overtime national championship game. Kansas deserved the victory, and it pains me not at all to congratulate former Illini hoop coach, Bill Self, on out coaching his slickster counterpart, John Calipari at every turn. First, Memphis was overconfident. So much so that they did not adjust AT ALL to Kansas' defensive strategy. The Jayhawks put up a wall in the middle of the floor, thus eliminating the "drive" from the dribble-drive-motion offense. This "offense du jour" has seen its last days ala the "run n' shoot." Kansas denied Rose the middle, ran its big guys up front and forced Memphis into many bad or guarded shots. The "Cal" did nothing to change it up, even neglecting the baseline attack suggested by Bob Knight at halftime. In the end, Memphis had only two guys looking to score, and Kansas made it tough for them all night.

Self's sharp game decisions culminated in several easy baskets off time-outs including one alley-oop dunk that everyone except Memphis knew was coming. Also, when Derrick Rose started to get off and handle the ball during the Jayhawk nine-point comeback, Ol' Billy switched to a 1-2-2 zone with his larger guard, Brandon Rush up top. You could see Roses's discomfort. In fact, all game, Rose forced the action into traffic and made poor decisions and turnovers. I credit the Kansas defense and thus credit Self.

Finally, the easy call was to foul the piss-poor free throw shooters on the floor wearing the whites. No-brainer for Bill. Then, his boys knocked down the shots in the clutch. Alas, the better team players win the game. Rock, Chalk. Bill, enjoy the $10 million in Stillwater. Once a Cowboy, always a Cowboy. That T. Boone Pickens money at Oklahoma State sure comes in handy y'all.

I enjoyed Bob Knight's comments on ESPN very much. That guy could teach any subject. I learned more about basketball strategy during this tournament than all previous tournaments combined. Digger Phelps, however, is insane. I watched the whole game and could not figure out what the fuck this guy was talking about. He needs to stop talking, forever. When they added Vitale for the postgame analysis, that bald prick kept interrupting the General. OK, let's crunch the numbers. Knight 800+ coaching wins, Vitale career % under .500. I got two words for you Dick...Shut the fuck up.

I went to White Sox opening day. It is always fun to go to Comiskey and observe the crowd. I play several guessing games. Game 1-"How many women at the game?" My guess was 5, and I won. Of those 5, 4 were more manly than me. The one other women was "good-looking" so much so that she was surrounded by 15 guys, 2 of whom actually knew her. Game 2-"Look at the people and decide if "he will be fighting later." One giant sausage party. I swear a Sox crowd would kick the shit out of a Bears crowd anytime. The reason being is that many Cub fans are also attend Bears games. This is not an insult to Cub fans, it is more of a Darwinian truth. Once there was a shooting after a Cubs game. A Sox fan would consider this silly. Guns are for sissies. Better to pummel a dude with a mini-bat and kill him with a back-of-the-head skull kick while the dude has his mouth on the curb like Ed Norton did it in American History X. Much more sporting. Yep, these are the people I grew up with.

By the way, that will be my last baseball game of the year. For the aforementioned reasons. Some movies can only be watched once. See American History X.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Baseball Fever...Get the Vaccine

Opening Day has arrived. The official beginning of hibernation for my sports jones. Of course, there will be NFL Draft weekend, but I can only tolerate some in-and-out viewing. I will watch the Bears picks (O-line, dummies). This is Final Four weekend, three games left in the season. After that, nothing, only darkness.

I take a very Grinchy attitude toward the unbridled optimism of Chicago baseball fans. First delusion, this is our Cubs/Sox year. Uh huh. And we are not in a recession, gas is cheap and Bush has cunning. Second delusion, baseball=spring=nice weather. Right, enjoy those outdoor seats during April and May in Chicago. Hey Cindy-Lou Who, where is that Roast Beast?

We in the criminal law world lost one of the good ones this week. The Honorable Jim O'Malley, Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court, passed away from a massive heart attack most likely induced from the two years of chemo therapy he endured for throat cancer. Sox fanatic, Notre Dame loyalist and respected judge are all relevant monikers. Always direct, always fair, liked good lawyers and treated you with respect. He was no pushover, but he treated every defendant with a velvet hammer. If he saw a chance to save a young person from a conviction, he would give that kid extra attention. That way, he could get it through their thick skulls that this could be there last trip to criminal court. I met him during these past several years in private practice and was lucky to know him. He is being waked over two days. Obviously, he will be missed by many.

As I get older, I experience more death. It is only natural. However, I find myself more affected by the loss of life as time passes. I truly value life and respect its fragility. I want to spend as much time on this earth loving and being loved. It has become the driving force of my days. I would even go to the world's largest shopping mall during spring break in Minnesota with four daughters (two of which cannot potty solo) and feel good about the experience. Love is frightening.

Hearing about Judge O'Malley's death frightened me. He was not given as much time as he deserved. He was a good man. He deserved more sunrises. I get angry about this. Mostly, I get motivated to live a better life. I can't say I succeed every day, but I sure as hell try.

Not a happy blog entry, I know. My wife got a good look at my gray hair in the sunlight today. I felt stiff and sore after my workout. I have this dull headache lately. I feel stressed out. Maybe I will check out the Illini football scrimmage at Lemont High School next Saturday. Prolong that hibernation for another week. I won't go gently into that good night. Rage against the dying of the light.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm So Tired.

Madeline Kahn sings the above captioned words in the comedy classic, Blazing Saddles. If you have ever seen her performance of this song, you will understand the way that I feel, mentally and physically. "I'm Pooped." It has been a long, dreary winter. I took a week off from the gym and feel some recharge. My head still throbs with the events of the day and of the tomorrow. Just the emergence of the sun can lift my spirits, if only for a short while. C'mon spring, you stubborn bastard.

Speaking of the gym, I witnessed two people engaging in some annoying workout behavior. Now, when I work out, I want to get my work done with as little distraction as possible. Believe me, trying to get effort out of this bag of bones takes full concentration. That is why when I see people at the gym talking, socializing or communicating at length via cell phone, I get agitated. These two f-ers where sitting on machines and talking. Not working out but talking. They would move to the next set of machines and continue. The dude was drinking coffee. OOfa. In between the scintillating conversation, they would eke out a set. Not a drop of sweat between them.

I turned my growing anger into exercise fuel. When I was on the bike, I imagined that during a sprint, I was going to run them over. On the treadmill, I was straining to catch up so I could beat the shit out of them. Every hill climbed on the elliptical ended with a cliff, high enough to push them to their deaths. It was one great workout; I lost 5 pounds and took a minute off my best 2 mile run time. Didn't do much for my mental health.

Bears update. The draft is coming up in April. Just more opportunity to talk about a game. Much more fun to actually play. The Bears also expect full payment on those season tickets. This will be one tough year to write that check. This will be a big high school football year, I can see it. I'm just not right.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hail to the Chief.

Defying the basketball gods, Illinois upset Purdue in the Big Ten tournament. The Illini played its most confident game of the year, and I have work to do in Indianapolis. I kinda was hoping that the Illini would continue this season of futility and not make Saturday's semis. I could sit back and relax. Now I will be fully torqued up for the game. The Indiana faithful were buying up tickets for this day, because Indiana was supposed to play Purdue. Instead, Illinois wins and Minnesota upsets the Hoosiers on a falling down lefty push shot with time expiring. F the state of Indiana. Tickets should be plentiful. Maybe I will be courtside. I will be the guy wearing Orange, baby.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's Over Johnny...IT"S OVER!

The Wire has ended. My favorite TV show of all time ended its run this past Sunday. I have to say, I'm sad. I don't watch any other fictional television show. I will not be watching another anytime soon. I will miss the stories, the lines and the great acting. I recommend to anyone who has a hankering for a "killer time" to watch the first 3 episodes of Season 1 on DVD. If you aren't hooked, then don't waste your time. Once you are in however, you will be in for the TV ride of your life. When Kathleen and I got hooked during season 3, we got the first 2 seasons on DVD and would watch 3 episodes in a row. I will really miss the show.

To mourn properly, one needs an indulgence. My latest, the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at Potbelly. Berry Goot. Maybe a corn muffin from Dunkin' Donuts. Or a bag of Dark chocolate peanut M&M's. A tip for you young people, if you eat a whole big box of DOTS in one sitting, the inside of your mouth gets swollen from the sugar overdose. You may need a stop at the ER. It is like an oral allergic reaction to a bee sting.

Our Dairy Queen has been open for 3 weeks. I should be feeling better soon.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Smell of this Team Needs to be Offensive.

The Bears wisely stayed out of the careless spending frenzy of the top tier free agent market. Kudos to Jerry Angelo on resigning Lance Briggs at cost. A classic example of a player completely mishandling a contract year and free agency. This miscalculation was all Briggs; his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, albiet somewhat of a tool, is way too smart to advise his players to make such stupid moves. Then, the Bears astutley stayed out of a bidding war for Bernard Berrian, who was way overpayed by Minnesota. Don't worry about the receiver position yet. It ain't over until the last ball is dropped. (See "Moose" Muhammed)

My perfect draft. 1st round, Rashard Mendenhall or one of the stout backs, an Offensive tackle in the 2nd and a receiver in the 3rd. This draft is deep at all three positions, and the Bears need help at all three positions. Let's not F this up with a QB or something equally as dopey. We need Offense and more Offense. Especially up front, bolstering the 5 blocks of Jello.

Now for something completely different. The Tony Rezko trial is on my "must read daily" list. The defense is asserting that Rezko, a tremendously wealthy man, has no incentive to get kickbacks or push contracts through for his own enrichment. The defense is playing The "rich guy doesn't need this stuff" card. They think that the jurors will buy this; after all, it seems logical. However, it ain't about the money for these kinds of people, the mega-rich in politics. It is about the power. They want influence and the "respect" of those in political positions. Being rich holds no real cache; There are tons of rich people around. Rezko wants to control the state. It gives his life meaning. He wants a legacy. I have seen this up close, one of the perks of my job. In the famous words of Tony Montana. "First, joo get the money, then, joo get the power, then, joo get the woman." Same here in Illinois...except the part about "the woman." For the whole package, see Scott Fawell.

Most of all, it is a trial about Blagoevich. Although he is not charged, it is a tale of how this guy got elected and what he truly is all about. I am fascinated with this administration, maybe the most corrupt, morally vacant and ineffective in Illinois history. The idea that Republicans may have contributed more money to Blago's campaign than his own party is astonishing. The bottom line is "Pay for Play" politics at its worst. Rod makes George Ryan look like Thomas Jefferson. At least George could get a budget passed and pay our bills on time. Bush and Blagoevich. If this isn't enough to get voters off their ass and do something, nothing will suffice. I may go over and catch a few days of this sucker.

By the way, if Rod doesn't want to live in the mansion in Springfield, I know a family of six who are feeling a little squeezed.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sampson Has Head Shaved.

Kelvin Sampson is no longer head basketball coach at Indiana University. The school gives him $750,000 to go quietly. Blood-Hush Money. That's some lesson for the undergrads. Lie, cheat and steal, then, get 3/4 of a million to go away. Who says crime doesn't pay? Or at least, NCAA violation-type crime.

Some world in which I get to raise my four kids. You get paid hundreds of thousands to leave a job where you get to watch kids play a game and receive a huge salary in the first place. Instead of leaving with remorse and shame, you take your king's ransom and sit on your ass until ESPN comes calling and offers you a lot of money to talk about watching kids play a game. Stay in school and don't use drugs.

How do you instill in your own children that being honest and doing the right thing are the honorable qualities to possess? All you see is people cutting corners and working the angles to get that money. I just keep on keepin' on. It's a daily mantra around this house,"get the grades and be a good person." Follow the ultimate commandment, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." That statement guides my every decision. At least, I think about that during the decision-making process. You know what the right thing is to do, so do it. I say this to my kids over and over. I hope it sinks in. I hope they are good people. I hope they can take care of themselves someday. As Red says in Shawshank, "I hope."

From my dismal view on the world to my dismal view of NFL football in Chicago. I am keeping the tickets for another season. I do enjoy a couple games with the girls and my good, tall and slender friend, Kevin. The Bears have decided not to give Bernard Berrian $7.8 million under the franchise tag. That's fine. You don't overpay for non-#1 receivers. BB is no number 1 receiver. The money should be spent on Lance Briggs. Let's go get him boys. His play speaks for itself. He is an elite OLB who thrives in this scheme. He is worth the big contract.

The Bears should rebuild the O-line by going younger. Do not overspend for an older free agent OL. Especially a guard, aka Alan Faneca. I don't understand the desire to sign a grizzled veteran that is refused the big salary by his present team. Maybe that team knows something about the guy. The free agents du jour will be old and overpriced. We have got that already. Our GM has dumped some dead weight salary already. Let's avoid stocking up on some more. The Bears have to call it what it is, major offensive rebuilding. There are tackles and receivers in this draft. Go get some "need" players. And keep dumping that dead weight.

That brings me to the scouting combine. The annual NFL SAT test. It is the most ridiculous waste of time in sports. A player can prepare for this test in a Stanley Kaplan-athletic preparation course. You know which drills will be required ahead of time. In essence, you have the questions that are on the test. The players are trained to perform those tests for months. Then, teams evaluate the performance on the tests. The flaw: none of these tests have anything to do with playing FOOTBALL.

Every year some teams will draft a player in a very high slot based on his results of the running and jumping performed at the combine even though the player did nothing, and I mean nothing, on the college football field. Inevitably, those players get money that they richly don't deserve and become busts. Other players who can flat out play the game will be devalued, drafted later than they should be, and will be subsequently underpaid because they don't run around the cones fast enough. Those players come into the league with a huge chip on their shoulder, having something to prove. Because they are very good FOOTBALL players already, they crack the starting lineup as rookies, perform well throughout their career and spend the second week of every February in Hawaii. Poi for everyone. Mahalo!

I think its warm there. MMMM, warm.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Big Green Go.

A couple of years ago, the NFL owners and Player's Union avoided labor turmoil by agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement. The players did well in this negotiation, carving out an increase in their share of total revenue. Some owners, however, felt that they gave the players too much dough and loudly voiced their displeasure. Of course, we feel sorry for them because they can't horde their extra millions at the expense of the players who chop years off of their lives to entertain us.

One provision in this agreement haunted the recent Super Bowl festivities. The owners can opt out of this contract for the 2009 season. That would force everyone back to the bargaining table. This is the talk around the NFL. This is bad. The owners want their money back while the players are exposing their rear ends for a kiss. Essentially, 2009 will be the last year with a salary cap and 2010 will be an uncapped year. In short, it means possible work stoppage...NO football.

The owners will take the heat and rightly so. This is a profitable, multi-billion dollar industry. No one is going out of business or losing money here. They are just greedy. The result of this stance will be that the players will decertify their union and strike. It also means that if they complete an uncapped year, the salary cap will be gone, forever. The players would never agree to bring it back. This ain't hockey, bitch. This would be death to the owners and would officially revoke the NFL's title as the best-maintained business model in all of sports.

What it means for me is very simple. Any work stoppage or NO football and I am out. For good, for life. No tickets, no games, no more Bears. I did it for baseball, and I will do it in football. Fuck these assholes. I will not tolerate another football strike, like 1982 and 1987. I cannot believe that anyone could be this stupid. I choose not to enable these idiots. I am sure they won't miss me. Everyone will come back. They're wrong to do that, but they will.

As for me, they play football over here at North Central College, Naperville North High School and at various colleges and universities around the country. I will watch plenty of football, just not the pro kind.

And you what? I won't miss it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Win and Win Pretty.

Indiana University basketball coach, Kelvin Sampson broke the rules...again. He is a rouge cheater who has no respect for the integrity of his program. He would rather flaunt the rules, ignore the NCAA sanctions imposed upon him and do whatever it takes to recruit players in order to win basketball games. He is single-handedly tarnishing Indiana's storied and glorious basketball history. Simply put, he is a scumbag.

Now you can say that he is no different than most Division 1 athletic coaches, at least, football and basketball coaches. That argument doesn't resonate with me. Just because those sports may be scummy and some of the coaches are scummy does not exonorate those who scuzz out to keep up with the Joneses. If you are a crook, you're a crook. There is no "Scum" Scale to rate these jerkoffs. They all suck.

Bruce Weber, the coach of my favorite team, the Fighting Illini, is an excellent basketball coach, and he is a good man. He is the anti-Sampson. The problem is that he is not recruiting enough talented players. Sometimes, I wonder if winning at the D1 level is worth getting in bed with these Scum-coaches. That is the bottom line, right? Winning? No one belives the mandate at D1 is education, do they?

My problem is that I love the University of Illinois. Rather, I love being a fan of Fighting Illini basketball and football. Especially, the basketball. I did not attend school there. In fact, I ruled it out because it was too big, and I was intimidated by its size. However, since I was a little kid, I rooted for the Illini hoop team. I believe that the U of I basketball program has a great and interesting history. They also win. At least they have a history of winning. Recently, they won quite often, culminating in an appearence in the NCAA championship game. This season, my Illini are losing. Losing ugly, losing at home, losing games that they could and should win. And I hate it.

The big story this past recruiting season was the defection of super-scorer Eric Gordon from his verbal commitment to Illinois to the ScuzzySampson and Indiana. A lot of name calling and accusations were flung at Indiana about Gordon's change of heart. This is a common occurence in big time hoops. I was sad because Gordon can score and score easily which is the one major flaw in this year's Illini. With Gordon, Illinois wins 20 games and are a lock for the tourney. But Gordon wanted Indiana; so be it. I let it go. But I want Weber to recruit and land these types of players. I am starting to resent his inability to land top high schoolers. I can't believe that some kids would play for such idiots like Kelvin Sampson. Most of all, I want to win.

When I get this frustrated, I ask the question. Would I tolerate a Sampson for the wins? The answer is, No. Fuck No. The ends does not justify the means. Not now, not ever. There is no free lunch. As Coach Ditka says, in basketball and in life, at some point, you have to pay. The fact that Indiana fans had to have this turd forced into their lives by some goofy Athletic Director is unfortunate. Now, they should run him out on top of his free Escalade. I am proud of Bruce Weber, the program and his work ethic. I will take him any day over Kelvin Sampson, recruiting be damned.

But Bruce, no more losing, O.K.? I am only human.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Beaten Men

When I watched some of the highlights from last night's Super Bowl, I realized just how badly the Patriot Offensive line was beaten. Folks, they got their asses kicked. That was the difference in the game. The Giant front-four was ferocious and relentless, while the Patriots o-lineman were like lambs at the slaughter. The Giants broke down their technique and took their confidence. At the snap, the Pats would retreat too deep, their heads would drop, the roller skates came on, and they were not aggressive. It was a a clinic on every mistake an o-lineman can make. The Giants front-four, Strahan, Tuck and company were shot out of the cannon. It was their effort and intensity that caused the Pats O-line to make like the Bears O-line. Crappy. After the first line of attack caused the chaos, the lone blitzer would be on Brady immediately. Alternatively, a D-lineman would break through the blocker and hit Brady before or after the ball was released. The final insult was the jaw shot delivered to Brady by Alford during the Pats last possession. I will watch this game again and soak up the blood-letting. "Katie, Bar the Door!" Playing in Boston turns you into a sissy...right Colleen?

Here we go. It has been recently written in Pro Football Weekly, that upon further review of film, Bernard Berrian's shoddy route running was the cause of much of Rex Grossman's inefficient play. This comment had to have been leaked from the Bears' camp. This is the beginning of the re-signing of Rex. The Bears will offer him a reduced contract and let him compete for the job. Grossman will take the offer. One, it will be as good or better than anything he will get offered elsewhere. Two, he believes that he can beat out the present QB's. Third, he knows the system and does not want to start over. And finally, he knows the Bears won't bring in someone who is clearly superior. They may draft a QB, but not high enough so Lovie feels he has to hand the rookie the keys to the Yugo, otherwise known as the Bears offense.

This is very disturbing. The Bears need to overhaul this offense completely. I start with the O-line. (See above) I realize that QB is not the biggest problem, but the position does need some performance-based leadership. Rex can't perform, at least not consistently. No better way to start fresh than to cut ties with Roller-coaster Rex. Yet, the Bears will do the frugal thing. Name all the real contenders in the league, and you can name a money QB. I have fought this theory in the past. Today, I'm in for life. Gotta get that talent behind the center.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Favorite Sports Movie...No, I'm Not a Queer.

I have seen every sports-related movie ever made. At least, all the sports movies worth taking a look at. I exclude the last three movies starring "The Rock." If I have to explain why, well, you can stop reading now.

Most sports movies seriously blow. There is really nothing better than true sporting events viewed as they happen. The best reality TV ever. However, there are a few sports movies that are truly worthy of multiple sittings. The first Rocky, Hoosiers, North Dallas Forty, Miracle are some that come to the forefront. The Longest Yard and Bad News Bears qualify. The originals, not the recent remakes. They wouldn't make a film like the original Bad News Bears today. Maybe the most politically incorrect movie ever made. Hilarious.

My favorite sports movie is Chariots of Fire. Many movie buffs still rail that Chariots beat out Raiders of the Lost Ark for the Best Picture Oscar in 1981. Boo hoo. Chariots tells the story of two members of the 1924 British Olympic team. Two runners, Harold Abrahams and Eric Lidell. It is a tale of personalities, an obsessed Abrahams and the driven Lidell. It has everything that is great about sports, effort, competition, sacrifice, failure, glory and redemption. For my purposes, there is a character, Aubrey Montague, that reminds me of myself, of what I am and wanted to be and most importantly, what I never could be.

It is an inspirational movie and really, it's not boring at all. I know you think it is, but it's not. It always inspires me to achieve. "Where does one find the strength to see the race through to it's end? From within."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I Am Yelling AT YOU!!! Watch the Playoffs.

I hate the week long pre-hash of the upcoming slate of games. You have these big ESPN talking heads screaming their predictions and prognostications at you as if they are saying, "If you don't believe what I say, you are a fucking idiot." These are mostly sportswriters who are slumming on TV for the extra cash. Everyone wants to be on TV and get "paid." How tiresome. They don't know shit, and the only view of their mugs we should be subjected to is the photo attached to their byline in their columns that you wouldn't even read on the toilet. So there.

The other waste of my prized listening time is the weekly "guarantee of victory" prediction with the follow-up 1100 questions to the player who said "I guarantee a win on Sunday." Who really thinks that this actually matters? It did the first time someone said it. Joe Namath in 1968. And he really didn't say it. What he said was, in summary, we will take the field on Super Bowl Sunday believing that we will win. Find me a player who doesn't believe that when they take the field. If you don't believe that, well, you leave the field on a flat-bed cart. This is the biggest red herring in the sports media. I find myself watching less and less ESPN. Yes, this is a bad thing.

Only a few games left for this football season. Hopefully, they will live up to all of the loud hype.

To Season Ticket or Not to Season Ticket...a Bear Question

Should I get 2008 season tickets? I am struggling with the decision. I really don't want to spend the money on them. I would rather put it toward a vacation with the family. I really cannot get inspired to drop the $1100 on this franchise. The Bears ownership is so concerned about the bottom line; why shouldn't I be? In truth, I kind of broke even by selling this season's tickets at inflated prices. But the thought of supporting Lovie Smith in any way gives me a dull ache behind my eyes.

It is not about the Bears spending money. It is about lousy personnel decisions. Spend the right amount of money on good players. You don't have to chase after the "free-agent dujour." How about not overspending for your lousy coach? How about creating competition at every position? How about...? Oh, screw it.

All I ever wanted in the realm of pro sports was to have Bears season tickets. Now that I have had them for a few years, I find myself not wanting to go to Soldier Field. It is not all that much fun, really. There is an obnoxious faction of attendees, with the boozing and all. Not really a place for the kids, and I have a lot of those. So, if I cannot be with my family, I don't enjoy being gone so long on a weekend day. In fact, watching the game live is difficult. Those TV timeouts are much easier to deal with at home. There is already enough down time in the game of football. Standing through the constant stoppages, with no actual snap for stretches at a time is aggravating. Better to be at home, with bathroom proximity, no lines (most of the time) and reasonably priced food and drink. Plus, I enjoy having the family watch with me, for the 3 or 4 plays that they watch with me.

I am talking myself into this. Let's keep going. Another reason to drop is the lack of consistent winning with this team. We have a good year, then two or three bad years. That does not inspire me. I have no faith in the top guys here. I would rather go to a North Central game. Three straight years in the playoffs. Now that gets me motivated. Ticket prices for old NC are $5. It is about the football. I can watch my friends coach a good high school team on Friday night. I can take a short trip to see one of my Knox roommates coach in the NFL. I can actually root for someone I know. I'm getting my roll on.

The only reason to keep them tickets is for the playoffs. Here, however, you are buying at least 3 seasons worth of tickets for one home playoff game...maybe. Suze Orman would stamp a big "DENIED" on my forehead with that logic. As for my decision, I won't see that bill for a little while. This year, they better wait until the last possible minute. My heart's not in it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Alas, another season has ended. (I just wanted to use the word "Alas")

I am not melancholy about the end to the Bears' season. It was painful to watch. There will be a time to contemplate the future, not today. I just know that the Bears organization is not a dynamic or exciting group. I know that we can't expect great things from this franchise year in and year out. If we have a good season, it is a fluke. That is how it has been since the end of the Ditka era. The Bears are afraid to have that kind of personality running the team again.

It was a great era, the Ditka era. He expected to win and that rubbed off on the whole city. But I knew it was time for him to go, when he was fired. I never thought that I would miss him so much. Hiring Ditka was George Halas' last great move on this earth. Before that, Halas had a great move in 1943. We need to move in some modern ownership. And while I'm at it, I also need to win the Powerball twice in one month. Cynical, but true.

Today, we celebrate college football. Specifically, the Illini play in the Rose Bowl against the highly-favored USC Trojans. You heard it here, Illinois will win. I just have a feeling. That's about all I have. So, quite possibly, I could be eating this post in 12 hours. It is much more fun to feel good and be optimistic, however. It is a new year, full of promise. Let's look forward to something. Plus, USC's quarterback is named "Booty." This has to bode well for the Orange and Blue.

I am ready to grind out another year. There is no surprise as to what is ahead for 2008. I realize that this doesn't sound very exciting, but raising and supporting a family is hard work. I take joy in the effort. I am not the type of person that waits around with a hand out, looking for a windfall. I need to earn my success in all aspects of my life, as a husband, a father and a provider. I want to do my best every day. It is a constant responsibility. The reward is the devotion and love I receive from my family. That feels great. It makes me want to live forever.