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Three Questions with a Bears Fan, Episode III: Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune

| March 16th, 2020

Reverend Dave and I first met Rick Pearson at the Billy Goat Tavern a bunch of years ago. Now, he’s family. He’s also one of the best political journalists in this country. He covers Chicago the way it demands to be covered. He’s dogged. He’s dubious. He’s one hell of a writer. But fuck all that. He introduced me to my favorite meal in the entire city: Nanna’s Gravy at Cafe Bionda in the South Loop. And that’s what matters.

Here’s Rick.


DBB: I’m surprised I’ve never asked you this during a Billy Goat session, but where did you watch the Bears win the Super Bowl? What was that experience like in Chicago?

Pearson: Ah, but I wasn’t in Chicago then. I was the political editor of the Rockford Register Star, a city about 90 miles northwest of Chicago and a place with a large number of Green Bay Packer fans, given its proximity to the Wisconsin border.

That, of course, gave me a chance to gloat about everything Bears, everything Chicago and I celebrated by hosting a chili party. For someone who grew up during the Gale Sayers, Jack Concannon and Bobby Douglass era (when under Douglass the Bears’ greatest offense threat was pass interference by the other team), I wasn’t sure that I would see such a glorious team, a team for the ages that could back up its swagger on the field. And it was finally a chance to enjoy the success that the friendly(???) neighbors up north often enjoyed.


DBB: You are one of the best political journalists in the country. (Yea, I said it.) But we’re entering a dangerous period for American journalism. Hedge fund takeovers of newspapers. The Athletic buying up sports writers. What do you tell the 22 year-old journalism major at Northwestern or Loyola when they ask you for career advice? Where should they go?

Pearson: I appreciate your confidence but there are several others in political journalism that I look up to and from whom I’ve learned and offered respect. But yes, we are in a tumultuous time for newspapers and journalism as a whole and I do not know where it will lead.

It was difficult attending a Bernie Sanders rally in Grant Park the other day when one of the earlier speakers, a local university professor, brought up the Chicago Tribune as endangered by hedge-fund ownership. I didn’t expect my paper to become part of a rally for a democratic socialist, especially with the long history of the Tribune and its editorial board support for Republicans.

So what do I tell the journalism major? It’s been something I’ve been doing for the last decade. First, the rules of journalism are the same no matter where you are—print, broadcast, photo, video, blog, Twitter, podcast, you name it. You write the truth, you write the facts, you write what you know, you don’t embellish and if you can, you provide the “why.”

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Week 14: Cowboys at Bears Game Preview & Poem

| December 4th, 2019


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and it would be a big moment for this coach and his program to get this season over .500. I think he does it.


The Game Haiku

I saw Rick Pearson

at the Billy Goat Tavern.

That’s all I recall.


Three Thoughts on the Cowboys

  • After struggling to contain Kenny Golladay a week ago, the Bears could have faced a similar issue with Amari Cooper. But the Cowboys’ best receiver didn’t finish their game on Thanksgiving and, while an MRI revealed no structural damage, he won’t be at full strength should he play. Guard Connor Williams, a really good young player, is done for the year.
    • From head coach Jason Garrett, in a Dallas Morning News story: “Connor has been a good player for us,” Garrett said. “[He] started a lot of games for us last year as a rookie and then came back after his injury, did a good job for us in the playoffs and again has been the established starter at that left guard spot all year long. He’s really grown and developed as a player and done a really good job for us, got bigger and stronger than he was his rookie year, [and] we expected that when we drafted him.”
  • The Cowboys were a solid, if unspectacular defense in 2018, as their coordinator Kris Richard became a name mentioned for several head coaching vacancies. Now his security in Dallas is uncertain, as Dallas has allowed 26 points or more in three of their last four games.
  • Let’s look at how these two teams compare with the big ticket numbers:
    • Both are 6-6.
    • The teams the Cowboys beaten are a combined 18-54. (Really, really bad.)
    • The teams the Bears have beaten are a combined 20-50-2 (Not so good either.)
    • The Cowboys point differential is +74, which tells you they are beating down the bad opponents and losing relatively close affairs (averaging 5.5 point deficit per loss) to better teams.
    • The Bears point differential is +4, which tells you they basically play a coin flip every week.
    • If the season ended today, the Cowboys would host a game on wildcard weekend.

Tweet of the Week (Another Cowboys Thought)

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