Kickers. That’s it.
I love the Drake Hotel. It’s old. It’s beautiful. The Coq D’or is my favorite hotel bar in the world. (Go there just to have the Bookbinder soup.) When I come through those doors on Walton Street, I feel like I’m stepping into the history of Chicago. It doesn’t have the amenities of a newer hotel. But it has character. A ton of it.
This morning I decided to order breakfast to the room. Two eggs, over easy. Home fries well done. Bacon. English muffin. Orange juice. Pot of coffee. Room service at a good hotel is one of life’s delights, especially for someone who has spent years crafting an existence centered around the avoidance of pants.
I rented a movie. I hadn’t seen Can You Ever Forgive Me. $20 too steep? Probably, for a movie that I’ll be able to rent for $6 in a week or two. But I’ve been dying to see it. (You too should see it. It’s brilliant. And Melissa McCarthy gives the performance of the year.)
I did all this because Noah isn’t getting to town until the afternoon and I can’t be trusted to wander the streets and not end up in a saloon. With the great football coming later, I didn’t want to be asleep at 6:30 pm. (It would not be the first time.)
Why am I telling you all this?
Because I decided Monday’s column (what you’re currently reading) won’t be the standard bullet-point recap of Sunday’s game with the Eagles. I’ll be in the building and I find it hard to get the full context of a game in that environment. Plus, I’ll inevitably miss stuff waiting to take a piss. And with a playoff game, there will be so much coverage for you to wade through. Why not create something different?
Instead I’m going to write a little now. Write a little more tomorrow morning. Then write something Sunday night/Monday morning. Walk you, the reader, through this experience. Emotionally, mostly. And right now my emotions are steady. I’m confident. Here’s why:
Let’s see how I feel in the morning. But right now, I expect great things from the Bears.
This is the moment. Are you ready?
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and the champagne is on ice at Josie Woods Pub. There are few occasions that warrant excessive celebration in the basement bar I’ve called home for eighteen years. Beating the Packers to win the NFC North would absolutely be one of them. And I expect the Bears to deliver.
They have earned this stage.
And the lights that shine on it.
The 2017 Chicago Bears were 3-5 at home, winning only one game in their building after October 22nd. The 2016 Bears were 3-5 at home, winning (again) only one game at Soldier Field in November and December combined. The 2015 Bears? Glad you asked. 1-7 at home. That win came on October 4th.
The home of the Chicago Bears has been a wonderful place to play football. If you’re not the Chicago Bears. Not any longer.
Sunday night the Bears won their sixth game on the lakefront in 2018. It is the first time they’ve registered six home wins since their Super Bowl-losing campaign of 2006. And they did it as underdogs. They did it against the team with the best record in the league. They did it against one of the sport’s best offenses, and the game’s most lauded offensive mind. An offensive mind so fertile it can memorize TEN names.
But it wasn’t just what happened that resonated. It was how it happened. There were four primary components to Sunday night’s victory.
The Soldier Field faithful knew this was a massive game and acted like it. Their raucousness was bursting through my television set in Queens, NY.
As predicted here, the boys from Los Angeles were desperate to trade-in Navy for Santa Monica Pier as quickly as possible.
They held the Rams to 214 total yards and an average of 3.5 yards per play. They sacked Jared Goff three times and intercepted him four times. They were, in a word, dominant.
The much-maligned rushing attack finally had their breakout performance, setting the tone and keeping the opposition on their cold, cold sideline.
There was also a fifth component.
In many ways, this vintage of the Chicago Bears has restored some of the most endearing qualities of the franchise’s history.
Celebrating every interception with an elaborate dance? This is an organization that once did a music video in the middle of the regular season to announce their coming Super Bowl title.
Handing off to fat guys at the goal line. Hell, the Bears did this in a Super Bowl.
But faking the hand off to a fat guy and throwing a touchdown pass to another fat guy? That’s next level. That’s the Nagy Element. That’s the kind of fun-loving, fuck-it-why-not shit that has permeated every single aspect of the franchise. You can see it on the sideline. You can hear it on the 400 level. You can see it in the “Club Dub” videos across Bears social media.
The head coach of the Bears is constantly telling his players to “have fun out there”. They are. And so are we.
Mitch Trubisky practiced in FULL today.
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) December 5, 2018