Sunday, February 4, 2007

Super Sunday Has Arrived for the Chicago Bears

Like Mike Ditka said, the Chicago Bears are like the locust, descending on the scene and taking over about every 20 years. Despite the difficulty in locating experts who think the Bears will win, everything will change this evening. I fully expect Dolphin Stadium to be filled with Bears fans. We may even hear the "Let's Go Bears!" chant that was prominent in 1985.

The 2006 Bears don't have the circus appeal that the '85 team did, but the Bear faithful will not be silenced today. I'm sure there are faithful hoosiers to swing their Colts hankies, but these are step-faithful. Relative Johnny-come-latelies. Their team has barely been around for a generation. Their fans of previous generations are in Baltimore, hating them.

It doesn't make them lesser fans, but the difference will be heard today from the Bears fans, who've been living and dying with the Bears since a hell of a lot longer than 1984. Let's Go Bears.

It's already a special day. I appear to be breathing and functional despite the tradition of crawling through 11 bars on Super Bowl Saturday, this time with the Chicago temperature below zero throughout. Couldn't quite get the distance on the 12th and final, thanks mostly to some hiccoughs.

I've checked 6 times and my wallet's here, so I've got that going for me, which is nice. I'll need to check a few more times. Tonight I'll have a Bears championship to celebrate and the victory parade swinging past my place of work on Tuesday. As the great Corky St. Clair says: "It's all coming together, sir."

Just like in January of 1986, the Bears will parade in arctic conditions.

Besides the Bears crowd on hand, the Colts will be further disadvantaged away from the comforts of their dome and their turf. They're built for turf and it's where they did their damage this season. When they're put on real grass, they're not the same team.

I'm in the minority, but I see a low-scoring affair. I expect no TDs in the first half, as these first-time Super Bowl teams work out the nerves and dance around the ring sizing each other up. Both teams want to run and both defenses are built on the premise of making the opposing offense put together a 20-play drive, 4 yards at a time.

These offenses stand a better chance than most at mounting a sustained drive because both play almost penalty-free. 4 yards at a time stops working when it's 2nd and 20. It'll be interesting to see if nerves or flag-happy referee Tony Corrente take either team out of their comfort zone.

I've said it before, but the unappreciated aspect of the Bears that will key victory is outstanding tackling. If they blow tackles tonight, they won't win, and they won't even stay within a touchdown.

But once again, the Bears rarely give anything away with missed tackles. It's not flashy to stop the ballcarrier at first contact. The pundits are more thrilled with the big plays that are often sprung by shoddy tackling, the kind that were essentially every play by the Jaguars when they beat the Colts 44-17 in December and rushed for 375 yards.

The Colts have gotten a safety back from injury, changed linebackers, adjusted to more of a Cover One than Cover Two, and had their speed-rushing defensive ends rush inside instead of their usual tact of spinning outside, all to make their run defense non-laughable. And it has been successful. But all of the scheming in the world hasn't taught them how to tackle. Cedric Benson enjoys running these people over, and Thomas Jones has whipped out the stiff-arm recently.

I'd run a Devin Hester threat past while I'm at it, because the shoddy tackling carries right over to a terrible Colts special teams unit, but as I said in my matchups post earlier in the week, the Colts will likely do the smart thing and not give Hester a chance despite his fumbling issues. I'd suggest ancient Colts return man Terrence Wilkins grip the ball tightly, but I believe it's coming out regardless.

Let's Go Bears. See you at Daley Plaza on Tuesday. I've got to check if my wallet's here.

1 comment:

azibuck said...

Wow. You were all over the tackling angle, and I'm not being sarcastic. I could be, because how shawddy it was, but you said if it was then the Colt would win, and they did. I'm saying, you pretty much nailed the key to the game, you were just wrong, for both sides.