The most amazing Sunday of football I’ve ever seen took place yesterday – and it seemed every bounce of the ball went the way of the Chicago Bears. The New York Giants held a twenty-one point lead over Dog Killer and the Philadelphia Eagles and somehow, in one of those games that will be discussed at Manny’s in Moonachie for years to come, collapsed at the New Meadowlands (name it already, please) and allowed the Bears to control their own destiny to a first-round bye.
The Colts returned an onside kick for a touchdown. Jason Taylor recorded a game-clinching safety for the Jets. The Lions ended the Bucs playoff hopes at the final whistle. Sexy Rexy threw four touchdown passes. Tim Tebow proved he should be a tight end. Kerry Collins filed Gary Kubiak’s claim for unemployment insurance. The Dolphins moved closer to the most unbelievable season in NFL history: now 1-6 at home and 6-1 on the road. The NFC West completed their third 0-4 Sunday of the season.
And then to cap it all off, the New England Patriots held on for dear life and defeated a pretty damn impressive Matt Flynn-led Green Bay Packers, insuring the AFC playoffs will be coming through Foxboro and providing the Bears an opportunity to win the NFC North tonight.
Tonight outdoors. Tonight in Minnesota. Forget the field. Forget Joe Webb. Forget Mike Tice’s history with the Vikings organization. Tonight the Chicago Bears have an opportunity to beat an inferior opponent and win their division. Win their division and guarantee themselves a home playoff game. Tonight Lovie Smith has an opportunity to laugh at his critics, deliver one his patented “we know we’re a good football team” and throw on the NFC North Champion baseball cap. Tonight the Bears must win if we’re to take the next month seriously. Tonight the Bears must seize their moment in front of a national audience.