Sadly For Bear Fans, "This Is Our Season"
There's no other way to put it, the Chicago Bears are a joke. A joke so pathetic that we as fans can't even help but laugh; even though we know what we're cackling at isn't funny.
While there is plenty of blame to go around for the struggles of the franchise, much of the problem has come from the embarrassing work of Lovie Smith and the cavalcade of incompetence flowing from the assistants he has surrounded himself with.
However, this Sunday, when the Bears endured a 36-10 pounding at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings, it was Smith's soft-spoken mouth that may have actually produced more comedic fodder than his horrifically designed gameplan.
I don't recall the entire conversation, but according to Fox sideline reporter Pam Oliver, Smith told her "this is our season," as if we should expect some sort of exemplary second half effort from his team, who after committing two turnovers deep in Minnesota territory and once again showing nothing that even resembled resilience on defense, were facing a 24-7 halftime deficit.
As if this team, which has been beyond listless since coming off a bye with an impressive 3-1 record, was just going to flip a switch and overcome a 17-point deficit against a team they were clearly over matched against.
I understand the point of coach speak is to put a positive spin on everything, but when a team is as lost as this one, there's no reason to add the stink of delusion to the already overpowering stench of weekly humiliation. Especially when you are currently the least qualified coach to lead them in such a comeback.
"This is our season."
Had he meant it in some sort of self-deprecating fashion, as opposed to some variation of a cliched rally cry, it would have been the most poignant statement Smith has made in years. But as it stands, it just made the ear-splitting laughter that football nation is directing at our beloved Bears just a little more deafening.
This is our season: Returning the opening kickoff of the second half to the Viking eight-yard-line, only to be pushed back 12 yards and settling for a field goal.
This is our season: Having the second recovery of an Adrian Peterson fumble overturned because the fingertip of Hunter Hillenmeyer grazed the ball while he was out of bounds, thus allowing for the drive to continue and end in a Minnesota field goal.
This is our season: Four second half possessions, resulting in 12 plays, two net yards, and zero first downs.
This is our season: Allowing five Viking players to catch five or more passes, all the while generating no significant pressure to speak of, and coming within 11 yards of allowing the most aerial yardage ever produced by the most prolific passer in the history of the NFL.
This is our season: Jamar Williams making a big open field hit on Chester Taylor early in the fourth quarter to stop him two yards short of a first down and forcing Minnesota to settle for a field goal, then celebrating as if he were Mike Jones tackling Kevin Dyson at the one-inch-line in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Throw yourself a party Jamar, it was great to see you force the Vikings into a field goal that made what could have been an insurmountable 34-10 deficit a more manageable 30-10.
One could easily argue Williams' celebration would have been fitting had he been able to make a similar play on Taylor's go-ahead 10-yard TD reception in the second quarter. Then again, "timely" and "meaningful" plays aren't really what the 2009 Chicago Bears are all about.
If they were, Smith's little pre-halftime shpeal to Oliver may have created something bigger than just another eye-rolling moment in what has become the most gruesomely disappointing season I have ever endured in my 18 years as a Bears fan.
The worst part of the course is knowing this type of display is likely to become the norm in Chicago. With no first day 2010 draft picks for a team that really needs to improve just about every position on the field, the playoffs truly seem to be light years away.
When talking about Sunday's game on NFL Network, Chicago Media personality and former Bear receiver Tom Waddle quipped "This ball hasn't even been kicked off yet, and I'm impassioned to say 'mommy make it stop!'" These are sentiments one can easily foresee many of in Bear nation making over the next few years.
Even if the necessary coaching and front office changes are made, for the next few years the damage that has been done to this franchise, just three years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, is a long way from being repaired.
Strap in everyone, because a great deal of the near future is gonna look a lot like the last six games, where winning is an afterthought and mere competence is a welcome surprise.
This is our season indeed.
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