The NFC North. It's almost like an old western shootout movie. Three teams that are above average, featuring talent, skill, and the potential to go far, equipped with one team that is struggling to make a name for themselves, but still can't be written off.
The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers have become the talking point of the NFC North in the past two to three years. With the addition of Brett Favre to the Minnesota Vikings, and Aaron Rodgers' newfound ability at the quarterback position, there has been little time to discuss the struggling 7-9 Chicago Bears of late, as the simple headline of "Will Brett Favre retire?" overshadows the very thought.
However, here we are on the verge of April and the Chicago Bears look to be once again a threat or a "sleeper" if you will, in the NFC North division. The addition of Julius Peppers has helped Chicago immensely, and although quarterback Jay Cutler has been under the gun as of late, his late-minute promising heroics of the 2009 season may have given him some much-needed slack on the rope that was beginning to be tightened around his neck.
Aside from the players though, issues at the coaching position were also being formed. Gone are the days of the possible Super Bowl winning Chicago Bears, and we find ourselves looking at a once-upon-a-time hero in Lovie Smith, who has unfortunately endeared questioning and speculation in regards to his coaching position.
Maybe it's due to Lovie's recent motivation to recruit talent, or a fact that remains simple and strong—the Chicago Bears are a promising young team with a possible postseason on the horizon. But one thing is for certain, the Chicago Bears should be a team to watch out for in 2010.
As the headline states, if the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are good, then what does that make the Chicago Bears? Well it's simple, it makes the Chicago Bears an underdog, and quite frankly, that is a position that suits them just fine.
The issue that arises for me is that the Chicago Bears no longer have the same presence in the NFC North. Rewind five years ago, and you would have found the Green Bay vs. Chicago rivalry alive and strong and almost ready to fulfill all of your football needs.
Now, the Minnesota Vikings are on the scene, and it is fair to say that they are hogging a ton of the spotlight. Defensively, offensively, and even coaching-wise, Minnesota has all bases covered.
As for the Packers, well they are still a heavily featured team and until Brett Favre finally calls it quits, they will always be compared to the next best team.
Therefore, Chicago is like the kid in school that doesn't fit in. Once a "cool" type team that everybody loved to see play has fallen in with the likes of "could-bes" rather than "should-bes". For now, it's Minnesota vs. Green Bay, so step aside Chicago.
By writing this article, I don't intend to bash Chicago in any way, so before you devise some nasty comment to leave me, think twice about what I am going to say. If you are a Chicago fan out there, did you not feel left out in the NFC North last season? Maybe you did or maybe you didn't, but something just wasn't right about the Bears 7-9 record. They still have a chance to regain control on the division, and they still have a chance to steal the spotlight, but if Favre returns, it promises to be tough.
To answer my own question though, if Green Bay and Chicago are good, that makes the Bears almost there. Some great offensive chemistry and a defensive stand is all that is needed to re boost the Bears confidence.