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The Bears aren’t who we were told they were…

DA BEARS… still suck.

I don’t usually make bets in the comments section of these articles, but when BuildingWithClay and I were having an intellectual discussion about the sub-par performance of the Chicago Bears’ 2013 defense and the changes they made in the offseason, he made the ridiculous claim that the Bears defense would still under-perform in 2014. So, I wagered that the Bears’ defense would be better than 22nd in both total yards allowed and points allowed.

Well, it turns out that it wasn’t as ridiculous as I first thought, and the “Monsters of the Midway” were 30th in yards allowed (377.1 per game) and 31st in points allowed (27.6 points per game). Before I continue on taking my punishment like a real man, I’d like to thank the Atlanta Falcons/New Orleans Saints (yards) and Oakland Raiders (points) for sparing me the further embarrassment of the Bears being worst in one of those categories.

Is there another NFL team that is more overrated than the Chicago Bears? Sources (Robert Sources, a Packers fan I know) say no, but let’s take a look at the evidence.

Championships

Did anyone know that the 1985 Chicago Bears won Super Bowl XX? If not, you probably don’t know any Bears fans. They cling onto that Super Bowl win like it was the last polish sausage at a Bears/Packers tailgate. If you meet a Chicago Bears fan that does Crossfit, which do they talk about first: their workouts or the 1985 team?

I’m not trying to take anything away from that accomplishment, though. The team was dominant that year, ranking first in yards and points allowed and also 2nd in points and 7th in yards on the offensive side of the ball. They also crushed their opponents, the New England Patriots, by a score of 46 to 10.

That’s all well and good, but that’s just one Super Bowl win in 49 possible chances. Oh, but wait, the Bears won 8 NFL Championships before the Super Bowl even existed. That’s like a band saying “we’re huge in Japan.” Just like nobody cares about Japan, nobody cares about how many times you won a championship as the Chicago Staleys. That was a different time, which doesn’t really translate to today. If you want a concrete example of that, in the 1933 NFL championship the Bears attempted just 3 passes.

The NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league. The Chicago Bears did make it back to the Super Bowl one time since the 1985 season. They faced the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI, but all that managed to do was prove that “Sexy Rexy” Grossman is not a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback and gave Peyton Manning a Super Bowl win.

Imagine if the Bears had won that one, though. Peyton Manning would be a modern day Dan Marino and have to jealously watch the Eli’s rings shine as he was reaching for potatoes at their family dinners.

Ditka. Ditka? Ditka!

Speaking of 1985, which as a Bears fan I have to do every couple of sentences, they were coached by the human mustache, Mike Ditka. If you watched any Saturday Night Live in the 1990’s, you probably saw Bill Swerski’s Super Fans. If not, find it online for a pretty accurate look at the average Bears fan. In between beers, sausage and heart attacks, they but built Mike Ditka up to a superhuman level. For example, one super fan predicted that the Bears would win a game by a score of 31 to -7. When asked how a team could score -7 points, the fan replied “Ditka’ll find a way.”

Now, Ditka wasn’t a bad coach, but he doesn’t belong on the pedestal that some Bears fanatics place him. The real strength of that ’85 team was the defense and that was all Buddy Ryan and his 46 formation. Mike Ditka didn’t even want Ryan as the defensive coordinator, but Ryan had worked under the previous head coach and had such player support that ownership made it so that Ditka couldn’t fire him.

My final piece of evidence of why Mike Ditka is overrated as a coach is just one name: Ricky Williams.

The man could rock a sweater, though. Definitely belongs in the top 10 for that category.

Getting defensive

The Chicago Bears are historically known for their defensive prowess. Is that accurate, or are people still just thinking about 1985? I could have probably asked Deep Cool, but I think it died. So, instead I checked some other online resources and crunched some numbers.

If you take the defensive yardage and scoring rankings from 1986-2014, the Chicago Bears average roughly 14th in both categories. Not a horrible number, but up until 1995 there were only 28 teams. It wasn’t until 2002 that the league hit its current number of 32. The numbers are a little muddier if you take out a few years after the 1985 team, since it was essentially the same personnel running the same scheme.

Long story short, the Chicago Bears have been about average on the defensive side of the ball in the past 20 years. They’ve had some standout players and a few flashes of brilliance, but they also stunk up the joint a few times. If you want to crown their ass, go ahead and crown them, but they aren’t who people claim they are.

Closing

The Chicago Bears are definitely not the worst team in football, but if you look at these 100% inarguable facts I have presented here, you may find that they’ve become the most overrated franchise in the NFL.

Since I don’t want to be responsible for Bears fans jumping of Willis Tower, here are some positives things about the Bears’ future.

  1. Only one more year of overpaying Jay Cutler before he can be released.
  2. Not all running backs and wide receivers decline when they get to 30.
  3. If we get a savvy GM, he might be able to unload Cutler on someone like the Tennessee Titans.
  4. At least our new coach won’t look like someone you wouldn’t want to catch outside a daycare.
  5. It’s a very low possibility that the 2015 Chicago Bears will be worse on defense than the 2014 team.
  6. Shea McClellin will probably be gone.
  7. MD Jennings is still available.
  8. The 2015 draft may not have you scrambling on the internet to figure out who the team drafted.

See! Things are looking up already.