The Chicago Bears and an Addiction 20 Years In The Making

Max KienzlerAnalyst IDecember 17, 2009

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 01: Fans of the Chicago Bears hold signs in memory of the late Bears star Walter Payton during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field on November 1, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Browns 30-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

My name is Max and I have an addiction.

My problem started back in the early '90s.

It seemed so innocent. So easy. So carefree. 

I could just sit down on Sunday afternoons and enjoy the game. Back then it didn't matter as much if the Bears won. They were never supposed to win. They were never supposed to be good.

I could sit there drinking a soda and eating my wings with my old man and have fun watching the Bears suffer through QB after QB as my dad would curse under his breath for the first half and doze off during the second half.

Then as the early '90s transgressed into the mid- to late-'90s, I started to really care about the outcome. I could enjoy it still, but I would be bummed out for a day or two after the game if (or in most cases, when) they let another one slip away. But it hadn't hit me yet just how much damage this was doing to my inner workings.

It was just one pathetic display after another, until the 2001 season came and my Bear-love hit full stride. 

With each improbable win, my connection deepened. It went from just an every weekend flirtation to scouring the newspapers daily for any tidbit of information I could find.

It meant rushing home from church so I could practice my new fast-growing religion and watch the pregame show before the Bears kickoff. It meant refusing to plan anything on Sunday afternoons so I wouldn't miss the game.

By 2005, I started to realize that I might have had a problem.

I had moved to Hawaii right before the start of that season and I made it a point that no matter what I had done on that Saturday night before (I was a freshman in college 2000 miles from can imagine what I was up to) I was awake at 6:30 a.m. so I could listen to Jeff Joniak on the Bears pregame on's Field Pass.

It was like high school was preparing me for a whole new level of dedication once college struck. It went from crazy to zealot status.

No longer was my brain bothered by insignificant facts about plant life and accounting ledgers. Instead it was full of rushing stats and punt yard averages. It was bothered by contract renegotiations and Green Bay Packer draft moves as opposed to Shakespeare and AP writing style.

I started contributing to blogs. I tried reading every Bears thing I could find on the Internet. I started pouring over our lineups and scouting possible draft selections.

I even based all my fantasy football picks of of the Bears, despite there being very few reasons for it.

And by that point, it would take me several days to recover from a loss.

Then post-college hit. I kept reading everything I could. I sacrificed most of my time (and a lot more money than I should have) and I started writing for the Bleacher Report.

I wrote at home. I wrote at my girlfriend's. I snuck into my former schools computer lab to update blog posts and leave comments on other articles. I would scribble down article notes or part of a clever line I could add in while at dinner.

I racked up phone bills calling my brother in Africa. I stayed up late at night trying to decide what type of Bear paraphernalia would go up on my wall next and if Joe Odom could be a solid contributor on special teams.

I found myself starting arguments with opposing NFC North fans that I would come across. Then it progressed to starting arguments with any NFL fan that did not support the Bears.

I got a job. I started writing articles at my job. I quit and got a new job, where I continued writing.

I purchased NFL Replay and started watching Bears games at work.

On Sunday's, I would clock out, go to the bar, watch the Bears game and then go back (being a supervisor has its perks).

Everything else took a backseat and losses...I never really got over them. They just stayed with me.

But then this season came and I realized how crazy I was...well, I realized how crazy other people thought I was. 

What is more, I couldn't fully justify it. The Bears ARE bad. The coaching staff is a mess, the offensive line is awful, the defense is a shadow of it's once dominating self and the ownership doesn't seem to care.

Yet, I keep at it.

My name is Max and I have a problem... 

I am addicted to the Chicago Bears and I do not care.