Super Bowl Ex-Factor, Addressing Needs in the Trenches, ’85 “D” Still the Best, and Other Bears Bullets
The road to the Super Bowl is long and pointless. I mean, when you think about it. But now, the two conference champs must survive a harrowing bye week that no one enjoys.
- Super Bowl LVII is set. It’ll be the Philadelphia Eagles emerging out of the NFC after a thorough trouncing of the San Francisco 49ers. Who knew that even the great Kyle Shanahan needed a quarterback to navigate through the title game? Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs are representing the AFC after a thrilling win against the Cincinnati Bengals. I think the Patrick Mahomes-Joe Burrow rivalry will be this generation’s version of Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Those are awfully large shoes to fill, to be sure. But these two QBs are up for anything. And I’m all in on this budding rivalry.
- Yes, Sunday’s Chiefs win means that former Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy is going to the Super Bowl. So are former Bears players Michael Burton (2017-18), Deon Bush (2016-21), and Ihmir Smith-Marsette (2022). I suppose we can lump in Andy Heck (1994-98), who is KC’s OL Coach. Speaking of assistants, former Bears Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub (2004-12) makes another trip to the Super Bowl.
- On the other side of the coin, Robert Quinn (2020-22) is the only ex-Bear player on the Eagles’ Super Bowl roster. Meanwhile, DEs/OLBs Coach Jeremiah Washburn (a Bears OL Coach in 2017) is the only notable staffer on Philly’s coaching staff. If you’re the type to apply Royko’s Ex-Cub Factor to the Bears, then I imagine you’d wager on the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. Just 13 days to go!
- NFL officiating had a rough go of it during the AFC title game:
- It is so painfully clear that the NFL needs to go back to the drawing board. There needs to be improved quality. But also, there needs to be a better process in place. As soon as the NFL comes to grips with the fact that there are no easy fixes to its officiating issues, it can get around to getting better.
- LOL: Orlando Brown Jr. out here demanding respect for Patrick Mahomes who *checks notes* is widely regarded as a top-2 quarterback in the NFL:
- It is worth noting that Orlando Brown Jr., KC’s left tackle, is a free-agent-to-be this upcoming offseason. And for what it’s worth, Brown was PFF’s 17th-highest-graded tackle with the 22nd-best pass-blocking grade. There were 84 offensive tackles who qualified for the Pro Football Focus leaderboard. In other words, Brown is in good company near the top of the list. He turns 27 in May and should be someone the Bears should explore as a free agent option this offseason (if he doesn’t get the Franchise or Transition Tag from the Chiefs).
- There is no way I was the only one last night wondering about how the Bears can get someone like Chris Jones on their roster:
- Jones came up with 2 sacks, 3 tackles-for-loss, 5 quarterback hits, and 3 solo tackles on Sunday against the Bengals on Conference Championship Sunday. The four-time Pro Bowler comes to play in the biggest games. And the Bears can use someone like that anchoring the middle of their defense.
- I imagine that folks with a particular scouting eye will point to Georgia’s Jalen Carter as being that guy. Carter was an absolute menace at Georgia. The good type of menace. A kind of menace I’d like wreaking havoc on NFC North quarterbacks if given the opportunity.
- Our day will come:
- There have been 13,518 days that have passed since the Bears won Super Bowl XX. And yet, that epic defense remains an all-timer. A Rick Gosselin poll of 225 former players, coaches, officials, writers, and broadcasters voted that 1985 Bears “D” as the most dominant in the game’s history. Other contenders include the 1969 Chiefs, 1972 Dolphins, 1974 Steelers, 1977 Cowboys, 2000 Ravens, 2002 Bucs, and 2013 Steelers. That is some stiff competition. But was there any doubt the Bears would come out on top there? (NBC Sports Chicago)
- Let’s never lose sight of the human element:
- I realize it is easy to forget those millionaire athletes are humans, too. It was a boneheaded mistake to hit Patrick Mahomes out of bounds. And a costly one, too. That moment will eat at him for a while. But that was also one of those plays where it happens so close to the boundary and it’s a split-second call to make. We’ve seen that not called before, but they weren’t going to overlook that one in that game.
- Here’s hoping Justin Fields starts getting the benefit of the doubt on those calls moving forward.
- A work trip to Vegas always sounds good:
- The Bears won’t have a Pro Bowl representative on the field, but their mascot (Staley) will be out there. Hopefully, Patrick will steer him clear of any trouble out in Sin City.
- An old friend finds a new home in Miami:
- Grumble. Why won’t the talk of a neutral-site conference title game just go away already? The only people who want it are the ones cashing checks in the NFL. Conference championship games at neutral sites means advertising revenue and bidding from teams wanting to host. Sure, that’s great for the bottom line. But is it possible for the NFL to make a decision that isn’t solely motivated by making money? Or is that too much to ask? (PFT)
- Ah, I see we’re not the only ones with eyes on the 2023 draft:
- Basketball trade rumor season is upon us!
- Trey Mancini has been someone I’ve been rostering in fantasy leagues for years. Dual eligibility (1B-OF) helps, but the power has long been intriguing. Brett discusses Mancini’s fit at Wrigley and I’m wondering if he is someone I should have on my radar in 2023.
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