Nothing ushers in the official return of football like the first weekend where — if you play your cards right — you can watch games of consequence on five consecutive nights. Primetime NFL games on Thursday and Monday serve as bookends for high school football (Friday), the college game (Saturday), and remaining NFL contests (Sunday). What more could you want?
• The NFLers return to action TONIGHT, with the Buccaneers and Cowboys squaring off. While doing my early morning rummaging, I came to the realization this happened the last time Tampa Bay played on a Thursday:
Good morning! The last time the Buccaneers played on a Thursday night, this happened. pic.twitter.com/yp5OQQ3cOT
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 9, 2021
• Ahhh! The undisputed top highlight of the 2020 NFL season for Chicago’s football team. Yeah, the Bucs went on to win the Super Bowl. But if you were the holder of a Bucs 50/1 Super Bowl ticket (😈😈😈) you’re cool with what took place at season’s end.
• Anyway … part of me hates how that is the definitive moment of the Bears year. But on the other hand, my fellow Bears fans and I don’t have to live our football lives knowing our favorite team never beat Tom Brady. That’s not inconsequential from a fandom perspective. Then again, that game was ugly. Chicago went long stretches struggling to move the ball. And there were moments I thought Tampa would run away and hide with the thing. But on the other hand, those are the types of games the Bears need to play in order to win. Muck it up and drag your opponents to play at your pace. It ain’t pretty. Nor is it my preferred way to watch football. But if it works, it works.
• At lest the Bears will try and do something a little different this upcoming year. Mark Potash (Sun-Times) writes about the arrivals of Breshad Perriman, Marquise Goodwin, and Damiere Byrd bringing some much-needed speed to the offense. Tack on Darnell Mooney, and we’re looking at a quartet of road-runners who clocked in with sub-4.4 times in their 40-yard dashes. These aren’t the types of players who thrive in plodding conditions, so I hope the Soldier Field turf remains in pristine condition throughout the year. But more important than that, I hope Head Coach/play-caller Matt Nagy can scheme these players open so the offense can take advantage of this newfound weapon.
• Ope! I want to circle back and shout out to Tristan Wirfs. That sack was the only one he gave up last year. Dude is a STUD. And there is no shame in giving it up to that bad man known as Khalil Mack. However, I still get a kick watching Wirfs get hip-tossed on national TV. You’ll never see anything like that again. Especially if Wirfs never allows another sack.
• A heads up while TB is on our mind: There’s a Bucs +73 points promo tonight from DraftKings (yes, you read that correctly), so if you haven’t checked it out, do so. Full details here.
• How much would the Bears have won that game had Sean Desai been the defensive coordinator? OK, that isn’t something I was really thinking about. However, I found Dan Wiederer’s getting-to-know-you piece at the Tribune on the first-year DC to be worth reading.
• I’m not big on bold predictions, in part, because the nature of gotcha! folks online can take the fun out of that game. But that isn’t stopping others from going that route. And good on them. Folks at The Athletic (Adam Jahns), NBC Sports Chicago (Adam Hoge) and Bears Wire (Brendan Sugrue) weigh in with some big swings. As a reader and fan, I dig it.
• A nugget worth noting for football fans who dabble in being a fashionista:
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) September 8, 2021
• In other words, the Bears will be wearing the “home” blues on the road. In case that is something you care about.
• I’m looking forward to this:
• The Bears do a really good job with these. It’s a shame they don’t do more.
• Big games, bathroom and body stuff, charging gear, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• The Cubs actually hit *TWO* walk-off, three-run homers in the 10th inning last night.
• Work hard, dunk harder:
Training Camp is Still Three Weeks Away, but the Bulls Big Names Are Already Putting in the Work Togetherhttps://t.co/TL6499nolx
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 8, 2021
• Important Blackhawks dates to keep in mind:
Blackhawks Announce Ticket Sales Date, Retirement Ceremonies for 2021-22 Seasonhttps://t.co/XEZWS8Z7Gc
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) September 8, 2021