For five minutes, our eyes left the corner. That same corner where television after television has exclusively shown Bears games at Josie Woods Pub for the last seventeen years. Our eyes didn’t go far, just about six feet west to a second, smaller television above the bottles of Boodles gin. Churchill’s gin. My gin until I woke up on an subway train at Coney Island at five in the morning.
Aaron Rodgers was down. Last time it was Shea McClellin, in navy. This time it was Anthony Barr, in purple. Different first-round edge rushers. Same bone.
— Josie Woods NYC (@JosieWoodsNYC) October 14, 2017
Rodgers knew the second he hit the ground. A bunch of lubricated Bears fans in an underground Village bar knew it too. Rodgers isn’t playing football again this season. And while that is terrible news for a league losing too many star players each week, there won’t be many sympathetic hearts at Halas Hall or Eden Prairie or wherever the hell the Lions’ offices are.
The Rodgers injury swings the NFC North door open but will it open wide enough for the Bears – currently two games back of the lead – to find their way through? It’s still premature for this 2017 group to consider the playoffs a possibility but the Rodgers injury likely means the division will be won with ten victories instead of twelve.
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”
-Former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly
The ritual of Sunday mornings is unique to each American football fan and this one is no different. Mine and the lady’s fancy coffee maker has the pot warm when I wake, usually no later than 6 AM. I accumulate my morning news – NY Times Arts section, Drudge & Huffington because I’m too lazy to not have my politics aggregated for me on both sides, Guardian soccer. After a shower and a visit to the marble throne I’m on the 7 train from Queens to Josie Woods bar in Manhattan where I proceed with the ritual of push-pinning jerseys to the rafters and selecting which games will go where on the myriad of televisions. (Pats and Eagles fans are sent way, way, far away from us.)
Josie Woods isn’t a great bar. Hell, I’m not even sure Josie Woods is a mediocre bar. But Steph is there. Maciej is there. Reverend Dave is there when he’s not contracting insect-borne illnesses on the dark continent. Sometimes Noah shows up! Brian and Wayne and Alicia and Vinny used to be there. Josie Woods is the canvas on which the portrait of my Bears fandom has been laid these last fourteen years. The Art Institute in which that portrait has been displayed? You’re looking at it.