Above: my hometown. It’s a shitty town a few miles outside New York City. It was called Soccertown USA after we put three guys on the 1994 World Cup team.
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and these two teams are headed in opposite directions. The Bears are a team on the rise, a few wins from a division title and their first postseason trip in eight years. The Giants are enduring the final days of a champion quarterback and are probably a few years away from being contenders again. (They’ve also got Norv Turner 2: The Revenge at head coach.)
A Fan of the Bears, in the Shadow of Giants
I grew up in the shadow of the Meadowlands,
My father’s hand-painted Lawrence Taylor poster board displayed in the dining room window for all of Kearny, New Jersey to see.
The white 5 and 6 sat awkwardly on the faded blue paint, like two tourists afraid to speak their native tongue in a foreign cafe.
I could have chosen the Giants. It would have been easy.
I could see their building out my bedroom window.
The window above my elephant toy box, laden with blue and red and green spots for some reason.
The window I’d shout out to my friends from on Saturday mornings.
I could have chosen the Giants and celebrated Super Bowl titles four times.
Could have had Tyree and Norwood wide right and Manningham up the sideline.
But those would just be rings.
Brief but wonderful celebrations of athletic success.
I could have chosen the Giants,
And I would have a team.
I chose the Bears.
And got a life.
Got this website, my thirteen-year and counting passion project.
Got Reverend Dave’s bullshit and “Bears Jeff” in the Josie Woods computer.
Got Rick Pearson at the Goat and Adam Jahns out in Edison Park.
Got the Old Town Alehouse and Rossi’s and Pippin’s and the Twin Anchors.
Got Seurat at the Institute and the crust at Pequod’s.
Got the motherfuckin’ Q Brothers, what you got?
I was born and raised in the shadow of Giants Stadium, a big concrete structure in a filthy swamp where Big Blue played their football.
But I found home in the city of the Chicago.
Where the Bears are.
While there almost certainly won’t be another game quite like it, Sunday’s performance by the Bears offense was far from a fluke.
After falling behind Arizona by 14 points, Mitch Trubisky started to look more comfortable. Suddenly the pressure was off and it looked like the Bears had an actual offense. Here’s how the Bears did in that second half:
From halftime in Arizona, the Bears scored on 11 of their next 16 drives. One of the non-scoring drives was a single play before halftime. Another was simply an attempt to run out the clock.
The Arizona game should’ve been a sign that something better was coming. They scored 13 points in the second half of that game, a good half for any team. And against Tampa Bay, it all clicked.
That isn’t a coincidence. Nagy and Trubisky got together and figured out how to turn three into seven, according to what the Bears coach told Peter King in his Football Morning in American column:
“Our lessons this week was let’s just sit together and let’s figure out why we’re struggling on our offense and see if we can find some answers,” Nagy said. “We on offense had by far our best week of practice all week long. More specifically, in the red zone, because that’s where we’ve been struggling.”
Here’s how the Bears opened against Tampa Bay:
What follows will be a stream of consciousness blog, written in real time as I watch the the Bears and Bengals practice against each, in pads, with referees and paying fans. There will be no editing after the fact and, honestly, very little done while I’m writing.
6:48 PM (All times presented in Eastern Standard)
One thing matters tonight: health. Here’s hoping every Bears starter that jogs onto the field, jogs off the field. The Bears starters could look terrific or look like total shit. Who cares? The season is still a full month away. Mitch Trubisky just met this entire receiving corps, with the exception of Kevin White. One would hope their chemistry would be drastically improved in September.
I drink. A lot. But I also take off chunks of time, famously the first two months of every year. I haven’t had a drink in a week and it’s very funny to watch how my sweet tooth develops as a result. (There is so much damn sugar in booze.) Today I saw M&M peanuts at the grocery store and it was like the most beautiful girl in the world offered me a handy in the candy aisle. (Good name for a song – “Handy in the Candy”) I couldn’t resist. As I write this, I’m eating them like popcorn.
I never knew Cincinnati was referred to “The Queen City”. Maybe in the second half I’ll google why. I’ve never been to Cincinnati. I can’t for the life of me think of a reason I would go to Cincinnati, unless Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park wanted to produce something of mine.
And the Bengals’ play-by-play guy just referred to the Bears as “the 0-1 Chicago Bears”. Do broadcasters really do that? They use win/loss record in the preseason to label the opponent?
KICKOFF! Taquan Mizzell is back to return. So I see the Bears are very concerned with tonight’s game.
Trubisky throws a bullet into the hands of Kevin White and he drops it. On the play, Trubisky got “roughed”. That’s what you want, your starting QB and the future of the franchise taking cheap shots from the league’s dirtiest team. In a practice game.
Trubisky just took off on third down and I literally screamed “NO!”
People seem to think I want them to hate the preseason too. I literally don’t care what anybody does for enjoyment, as long as its within the boundaries of the law. I watch Golf Channel 10 hours a day. I don’t expect other people to do that. I have multiple Fiddler on the Roof cast recordings in my car. I don’t care if you share my opinions. But that ain’t gonna stop me from sharing them.
John Timu. Apparently got slower.
I have golf on my actual TV and they run commercials constantly for a local casino called Empire City. Here’s what I don’t get: why? The ad is just people walking out of the casino building with a pile of cash. They don’t advertise what’s special about their place. They just advertise that you can walk in without a lot of money and walk out with way more. Why does this require advertising? Everybody knows what a casino is. Just flash the address.
Taquan draw on first down. Exciting shit.