There’s no way of knowing if Mitch Trubisky is going to be the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears for the next decade plus. But he could be.
There’s no way of knowing if Matt Nagy is fifteen years away from opening a fish restaurant in the Drake Hotel’s old Cape Cod Room space. But he could be.
There’s no way of knowing if the men chosen to improve the league’s worst collection of pass catchers in 2017 – Robinson, Gabriel, Burton – will be the right ones. But they could be.
There’s no way of knowing if the Bears will be playing meaningful football games in December 2018. But they could be.
And why would any fan choose to believe anything else?
Optimism in sports is a perfectly-poured pint of Guinness, served with the harp facing OUT. It’s frothy. It’s delicious. Every time you lift the glass to your lips you think, “this is going to be the one that gets everything right.” And most mortals drinking “the dark stuff” – much like those overly optimistic – omit a noxious plume that those within a five-foot radius find…disconcerting.
Realism is a glass of water. You need it but there’s nothing fun about it. People keep trying to make water fun with coconuts and cucumber slices but you still end up with fucking water. It’s good for you and nothing good for you tastes good. Every eat an unsalted almond? Rice cake? Spinach is delicious…after oil, garlic and lemon get into the mix.
But folks who drink
too much a lot of Guinness know a secret. At the end of the night, when you’re about to go to sleep, you drink a quart of water. Slam it. Your head thanks you the next morning. The water balances the booze, hydration-wise. It’s okay to be optimistic but you have to mix in the realism on Saturday night for brain sustainability on Sunday morning.
That’s the appropriate way to approach the 2018 Chicago Bears. There are reasons why it’s logical for this club to be competing for a postseason position in December.
- They have one of the league’s best defenses.
- Their non-division roads games are at the Giants, Niners, Cardinals, Bills and Dolphins. Can’t be many teams with an easier slate.
- The offense will be much, much better. (I typed the phrase “by default” but it won’t be by default. It will be by the acquisition of talent and improvement of the quarterback.)
But it’s also fair to temper some of this enthusiasm.
- The Vikings are still expected to have a better defense and are all-in on their title hunt.
- The Packers are expected to have the league’s best QB for sixteen games.
- Sure, the Lions are the Lions but the Bears have also been the Lions the last four years.
A “wait and see” approach is more than acceptable but try writing a column about it.
“The Bears haven’t had a winning season since Lovie Smith was their head coach…”
“Trubisky is still unproven…”
“Blahbedy blah fucking blah…”
Instead, why not enjoy a frothy pint of optimism? Believe this Bears team is going to be better in 2018. Believe they are going to play meaningful football games late into the season. It’s okay! But don’t forget to mix in that quart of realism. Stay away from using the words “Super” and “Bowl” together. (Honestly, you should stay away from using the word “super” altogether.)
Optimism, of course, comes with the possibility of disappointment. But who wants to go through life expecting nothing just to avoid disappointment? That’s a coward’s life. Expecting things from these players and coaches in 2018. The folks cutting the checks at Halas Hall surely will.