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The Deal For Khalil: History Shows Pace’s Bold Move Could Change Bears for a Generation

| September 21st, 2018


Reggie White joined the Green Bay Packers as a free agent in 1993, signing a much-ballyhooed 5-year, $17 million contract. (These days that might buy you a blocking tight end. Might.) Prior to his signing, the franchise to the north had only been to the playoffs twice since 1967 and recorded only two winning seasons out of their previous ten. After he signed, the Pack went to the postseason six consecutive years. They won a Super Bowl in 1996. Their next losing season wouldn’t be until 2005. They’ve only had three sub-8 win campaigns since he put his name on that paper.

White did even more than that for the Packers. From a Robert Klemko piece for Sports Illustrated:

“Among players, Green Bay was depicted as some Russian place where you go and no one ever hears from you,” says former NFL tight end Keith Jackson, a first-round draft pick of the Eagles in 1988 who would go on to play for the Dolphins and the Packers.

Then something unprecedented happened. Upon becoming an unrestricted free agent in 1993, a player who had been named to six consecutive All-Pro teams in Philadelphia made a shock decision that would change the course of a franchise and the tenor of a town.

“Before that decision guys would say, ‘If Green Bay drafts me, I don’t want to go.’ It was Siberia,” says Jackson. “But Reggie White saw something different about it.”

Reggie White put Green Bay back on the NFL map.


Drew Brees joined the New Orleans Saints as a free agent in 2006. Over the previous thirteen seasons, the franchise had two winning ones, winning one playoff game in that period. Since Brees signed that contract, the Saints have never won less than seven games in a season. They’ve been to the postseason in six of twelve attempts. They won the Super Bowl in 2009.

And no NFL player is more emblematic of the city he plays for than Brees, who became a civic hero by leading NOLA’s emotional revival in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Here’s a wonderful passage from Jillian Eugenios at CNN:

He moved to the city a decade ago, when it was still reeling from Hurricane Katrina. It was six months after the storm, and he describes it as a ghost town. There were boats in the middle of the road, and cars upside down in people’s living rooms.

It wasn’t just the city that had to make a comeback.

“A lot of guys came here in 2006, including myself, as somewhat of castaways,” he said. “Many of us did not have many other options.”

Brees had been let go by the San Diego Chargers due to a shoulder injury. The Miami Dolphins had been interested in bringing him on, but were counseled against it because of his shoulder.

The New Orleans Saints was the team to put an offer on the table.

“We chose New Orleans because we felt like we could do something special down here,” he said. He moved to New Orleans with his wife Brittany, and he soon developed a close tie to the city.

“We leaned on each other in so many cases,” he said of his fellow New Orleanians. “As people are trying to rebuild their homes, rebuild their lives, they’re still coming to games to cheer on the Saints because it just gives them so much energy and enthusiasm … just this feeling that we’re all in this together.”

Brees is more than the Saints. He is every bit as New Orleans as the fried shrimp po’ boy from Verti Marte on Royal, washed down with an ice cold bottle of Abita Amber.


The Bears don’t need to sell the City of Chicago to free agents or 21 year-old Auburn cornerbacks. Ten minutes of the late night set at The Green Mill or a few pops with an aging scribe at the Old Town Alehouse will get that accomplished. The greatest cities on earth don’t need a tagline.

And hopefully the town won’t have to recover from any natural disasters in the near future. The city has plenty of unnatural disasters – the Tribune is no longer in Tribune Tower for Christ sake – but it seems to be surviving just fine.

What the Bears have needed more than anything is a franchise-altering presence on the field and it seems, through just two games of this season, he hath been delivered. Khalil Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears by Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, September 1st 2018 and it’s starting to feel like a move that has commenced a new era of Chicago Bears football.

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Week 8: Bears at Saints Game Preview

| October 26th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. And they’re going for three straight and .500 at the bye! What’s not to like?


Hey Bears, Play Offense on Sunday

John Fox and Dowell Loggains need to walk into the Superdome Sunday assuming the Saints are going to score in the 20s. Why? Because the Saints always score in the 20s. We’re talking about a team, playing at home, that is:

  • 4th in points and yards per game.
  • 10th in rushing yards per game.
  • 3rd in passing yards per game.
  • Least sacked team in the entire NFL, allowing only 5, and they’ve played the Minnesota (ranked 4th), Carolina (ranked 3rd) and Miami (ranked 10th) defenses this season.

If Fox/Loggains operate the same offensive mathematical equation…

(Run for 2 + Run for 1) x [3rd-and-7 Throw Under Obvious Pressure] = Success?

…they’ll find themselves chasing the game. And the Bears are NOT built to chase any game.


Tweet of the Week


Three Reasons the Bears Win

  • Saints have one of the most balanced offenses in the league but the Bears can render an opponent one-dimensional with their suffocating run defense. There isn’t a pair of interior defensive linemen in the league playing to the standard of Hicks and Goldman and Sunday the Bears held Carolina backs to 21 carries, 58 yards – a staggering 2.76 yards per. If Bears can force Brees to drop back every down, they’ll get to him.
  • On the flip side, the Bears should be able to line up and run the ball on a New Orleans defense allowing 4.9 yards per carry. Green Bay QB Brett Hundley couldn’t play Sunday – it was obvious to anyone watching – and Dennis Allen’s Saints defense still allowed Aaron Jones to go 17-131-1. This kept the game competitive into the fourth quarter. So just because they know you wanna run it doesn’t mean they can stop you.

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Finding a Quarterback: The Upside of Tony Romo

| January 19th, 2017

Five passes.

That’s all we have to judge Tony Romo on from the 2016 season. Five passes. But they just might be enough.

Ryan Pace and John Fox are feeling the pressure to win now and they may have a chance to sign a quarterback who was considered among the best in the league for a decade. Even with Romo’s injury history, it’s something Pace and Fox are going to consider.

The thing about those five passes is they were all really good. They were sharp and on the money. One was a 15-yard spiral on third-and-11. Another was a deep pass that would’ve been a touchdown if not for an interference penalty. Romo finished his only drive of the season with a beautifully accurate touchdown pass, displaying a touch that very few quarterbacks have. Romo looked very much like the guy who probably should have won the 2014 MVP award.

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