The Chicago Bears were in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. Their defense was on top of the world, and they had one of the best 1-2 rushing attacks in football.
That very next season, with many of the same players (minus Thomas Jones), the Bears fell to 30th in rushing, 27th in yards per game, and 18th in points per game.
The biggest fall from grace, however, was the defense. Riddled with injuries and contract disputes, the Bears fell to 24th against the rush, 27th against the pass, and 28th in total defense.
The saying defense wins championships rings painfully true in Chicago, a city in which defense reigns supreme cannot have a team that finishes 28th in defense.
Somewhere the '85 Bears are crying.
The days in which Jim McMahon (who my teacher called "hot" in his prime) and Walter Payton led the offense and men like Mike Singletery, Richard Dent, and Gary Fencick patrolled the defense and are long gone.
We now sit pretty with Rex Grossman/Kyle Orton and Cedric Benson running the offense. I know, eat your heart out Indy.
The Bears went hard for Adam Archuleta before the 2006 offseason only to lose the battle to Washington. They then got stuck with Archuleta when the Redskins no longer wanted him.
What they received was something that the Bears shouldn't have been paid to take. Archuleta repeatedly missed tackles and was burned by multiple receivers, leading to his recent release.
Cedric Benson, the No. 4 pick in the 2005 Draft, has fallen completely from grace with the Chicago Bears’ fans.
His fumbles and lack of drive have led fans to look at him in a completed different way than the Bears did back in '05 when they drafted the running back who was going to be one of the best in the '05 class.
He has now been arrested for driving a boat while drunk and even had to be pepper sprayed and was rowdy towards the police.
Needless to say the Bears drafted hopeful replacement Matt Forte in the second round of this year's draft.
Then there is Sexy Rexy Grossman. Grossman started out the 2006 season making everybody love him. He was the "NFC Offensive Player of the Month" in September and was an early MVP candidate.
He ended the season with five games below a 50 QB Rating and even had a 0.0 rating in the final game against the Packers before being pulled at halftime.
In 2007, he was benched part of the season before the Bears realized that Griese was no better. This season he battles with Kyle Orton in a fierce battle that will make most Bears’ fans cry.
In 2008, they don't have a No. 1 season. After going full circle with Marty Booker returning to the Bears, he looks like he could go into the season as the No. 1 receiver and that just isn't a great look either.
More of the same is what I expect for the Bears, hopefully at least the defense can come back to normal, and the Bears can win the horrible NFC North.
I'm Joe W.