Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to travel to my homeland; Wisconsin, or God's country as it's called. During the journey, with four and a half hours of windshield time ahead of me, the banter of sports talk filled my time.
Much of what I heard from hosts and call ins was a respect and appreciation for the Green Bay Packers. It was also a Minnesota Viking affiliated station. Most of the opinions concerning the Packers were somewhat favorable. Although they still disliked the team, they recognized they were good and built the right way. They also admitted it could be years of the same success for the team.
As my journey progressed, I was able to get reception for a few national shows and also a Chicago Bears station. The tone was drastically different. When the subject of the Packers came up, they quickly squelched it, and brought it back to the Bears.
They wanted no time to discuss their rival to the north. Quickly thereafter, the excuse making concerning Jay Cutler ensued. This was the same Cutler that was enemy number one not long ago. He is now the savior, and the belief amongst this crew is the Bears would have ended the Packers perfect season and again beat them in the playoffs if Cutler was at the helm. While the Bears accomplishing either task is entirely plausible, it is ridiculous to believe this was all but assured if Cutler was healthy.
This discussion lead me further into the somewhat muddled mind of a Bears fan. Chicago didn't get the moniker of "Windy City" because of breezy conditions, or as some have been lead to believe, politics in the 1900's. It has more to do with the mindset and opinions of your average Bears fan.
They still relish the day of yesteryear when the Ditka (pronounced Dick-a) lead Bears celebrated their only Superbowl win over 25 years ago. One would think this team won five Super Bowls in the decade. They will still boldly proclaim the '85 Bears the best team ever.
But the fact remains they only captured ONE Lombardi trophy. Claiming "best team ever" really does a disservice to the likes of the 60's Packers, 70's Steelers, 80's 49ers, 90's Cowboys, and even the 2000's Patriots, who all won three or more championships. For Bears' fans, these stats still don't seem to tarnish their delusion.
The Packers success as of late has been a whirlwind. They came on late last year, beat the Bears twice on their way to their fourth Superbowl victory and now have an undefeated season. They are on an amazing roll, and not surprisingly, have been the talk of the NFL.
The Bears, on the other hand, are still reeling from the two late season losses to the Packers and the drubbing earlier in the year suffered against the Packers in Chicago. Their leader and celebrated hero, Jay Cutler, is now injured.
The problem is Cutler was probably the most hated man in Chicago after last years championship game. Ironically, his absence is already the built in excuse if the Bears don't beat the Packers on Christmas Day, or if they get that far, the playoffs.
With the reality of the situation setting in, Bears' fans may just have to calm down, and come to an understanding that their small town rival is just damn good. They have won 17 games in a row, and are the obvious favorite again to win it all.
It is a great time to be a Packers' fan, and a difficult adjustment for Bears fans. It's against their nature. The attention the Packers continue to garner gnaws at their bones. First it was Favre; now it's Rodgers. It's a true feeling of disgust and repugnance.
The mere mention of the Packers can soil their day. I guess the only real therapy is to get out those old VHS tapes of the "Superbowl Shuffle", and hope, beyond hope, that the Packers falter on their quest of an undefeated season and a repeat of again being crowned NFL champions.