Eye Of The Beholder

jay cutler 9 29 Eye Of The Beholder

What’s so interesting about this Bears team is that it still allows one to see what one wants, irrespective of the spotless record.

Take today’s Tribune, for instance, which offers a stark divergence of opinion in the first two pages.

The Score’s Steve Rosenbloom writes (excerpted here):  “What a great year for a bad-looking Bears team to look less pathetic than the rest of the conference.  Drink the 3-0 Kool-Aid if you want, but come on, you’ve seen good teams.  The Bears don’t look like one.  They’ve been less bad and less dumb than opponents.  The Bears look as bad as a lot of people feared, as bad as a lot of people who wanted Lovie Smith fired had hoped, and here they are with the NFC’s best record.”

And then there’s David Haugh (excerpted):  “Something has clicked.  This team resembles the 2001 version nobody expected to go 13-3.  But the style of winning is closer to 2006 — and we all remember where that season ended.  The Bears’ next six opponents are off to a 5-13 start.  The way the Bears have played defense with Urlacher back in the middle, nothing seems impossible.  Did someone say 9-0?”

Like you, probably, I’m somewhere in the middle of these two positions, and the issue is how we define “good,” anymore.  The NFL has successfully designed a system where very little separates teams (both on rosters and in the games themselves), and it’s almost pointless to attempt to define quality outside of what the record indicates.

The small number of games increases random variance, as does the relatively high risk of serious injury to key players.  Perception of the quality of any team will whipsaw with the fickle bounces and improbable outcomes all season.

(As an aside, I enjoy the passing glance at published “power rankings” as much as the next guy, but look how closely such things move as a function of standings — ultimately we have only the records to go on.  You will rarely see a writer stick to the belief that a team with a bad record my be good, or vice-versa, even though such could be correct)

Some love the NFL for just this reason.  This phenomenon does not exist in baseball, basketball or hockey, since more games mean less randomness — good is good, bad is bad, mediocre is mediocre.

But in pro football, mediocre is good, mediocre is bad.  See what you want.

* * *

I disagree with Rick Telander’s position today that football must be made safer for the sake of America’s children.  I respect that he is on my side in speaking honestly about the dangers of the sport — particularly to the developing brains of high-schoolers and younger — but this is akin to saying that we must childproof tornado-chasing, Russian Roulette or the Running of the Bulls.

Football increases the risk of a ruined brain and a miserable later life.  All parents should be made aware of this, and coaches and administrators must stop denying this obvious truth.  If it’s ok for your kid to incur that risk, let him play.  If it’s not, don’t.

We make judgements as parents all the time.  Some people don’t let their kids eat fast food, others try to limit high-fructose corn syrup ingestion or pesticides, and some fringe loons don’t vaccinate due to crackpot fears of conspiratorial poisoning (they should be jailed and beaten).

I’m happy some parents let their kids play, so I can eventually watch them destroy each other on Sunday afternoons.

It’s not football’s fault.  It’s a great, terrible game.

  • Denver Smeghead

    Would you people fix your god @$%$ mother@$%$ podcasts already?

    • Jordon


    • Chet's Inflated Ego


  • david


    • Denver Smeghead


      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Chris in Scottsdale likes this.

  • david

    nfl network : bears v. packers summary

    this video helps point out the offensive line problems


  • 2nd Half Adjustments

    You guys should talk more Stealers football, but you aren’t Chicago enough.

  • bigtime sucker

    i am not letting my autistic son play football of course, but my incredibly insane and stocky, low gravity built son jason, when he is of age and wants to play, i would support his descision, but i have time and i do want to see what advances in equipment are made especially in the jr. divisions to protect that head more and more

  • mike in davenport

    Is it just me or is the wackiness of the NFL starting to resemble the wackiness of college football, only with better players?

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Completely unrelated item…

    “Moneyball” the movie has started filming. Brad Pitt as Billy Beane and Jonah Hill as Paul DePodesta… Who exactly did DePodesta tick off in this case? That’d be like casting Spiegs to play The Rock or something.

    From what I’ve read, most of the players in the film will actually be actors… but one struck me as funny. Oakland A’s-era Miguel Tejada will be played by none other than Royce Clayton. I couldn’t even begin to come up with a more un-Tejada-from-the-A’s-days-like player than Royce.


    Okay. Just wanted to share my chuckle. Carry on.

  • Ryan Finley

    The fact is that there are very few truly dominant teams each year. Not many squads go out and beat the tar out of their opponents every weekend. A vast majority of games are decided by fairly small margins, and you could look at a million individual plays or “lucky bounces” that tilted a game in favor of one team over another.

    The Bears have proven that they aren’t a completely HORRIBLE team as we feared. Yes, the O-line has real issues. Yes, the defense still seems to subscribe to the “bend but don’t break” theory. Yes we still have a head coach that doesn’t always make the best tactical decisions. And yes, Cutler still makes dangerous, dangerous throws.

    We also have a front 7 that can be very disruptive, a receiving corps that is making strides, and perhaps a tight end who is finally pulling his head out of his ass.

    Let’s just enjoy it.

  • bigtime sucker

    LOOKING at the ratings for monday’s game, it strikes me to how sad it is how poorly managed the Bears are. They have a product that people WANT to watch, that people WANT to get behind. People WANT to buy jerseys, tickets, other merchandise, and if they had a stadium like the Jets/Giants, like BALTIMORE(best overall stadium in football in my opinion) Washington and Dallas, they would be in the top 3 for richest franchises in sports. They would be considered for Superbowls, and wouldn’t the NFL be drooling if the Bears had the apparatus to fit the requirements to host a superbowl? Only New York has the infrastructure to match Chicago’s abililties to put on a great show in February. We have more hotels,restaurantes, convention centers, luxory facilities to handle the throngs of Corporate executives, media outlets, tourists, to make the NFL happy? I mean, JACKSONVILLE hosted one and they had to Jerryrig barges and cruiseships to handle the event, we wouldn’t have to do that. People love the bears, not just here, but all over the country, the NFL is giddy that the bears are 3-0 even if their subsided national journalists like bashing us, and if they had just put a little forthought into that stadium planning, we would be an absolute juggernaught of a sports franchise. that said, despite all the misfirings of management, we are 9th, we could be 2nd or 3rd or even 1st. sad

    • bigtime sucker

      One bad thing about the Bears winning and being a popular TV attraction. Late season Flex outs!!! Right now, the Bears Patriots and Bears Jets games are set for a noon kickoff. If the Bears have a winning record going into those games, i GUARENTEE YOU that one if not both will either be flexed out to 3pm or NBC. I don’t like this, especially the 3pm flexout. ALL the worst preformances last year either came at 3pm or in primetime, with the lone exception of the Steelers, Seahawks(which was 3pm only because of West Coast) and Vikings at home, which was Monday night affair. The Thursday game against SF, the Baltimore game, Philadelphia game,the Cincinatti game, both Packers games, the Vikings road game, and the Atlanta game, which accounts for 8 of the 9 losses started at 3pm or primetime. I think the Arizona game was the only nooner they lost. The other noon games were blowouts in our fashion. As much as I appretiate games being on National TV and Primetime, this team plays better at noon, and i would like to keep it that way. Remember, I know the Detroit game was a nooner and we squeeked it out, the Dallas game was a nooner and that’s the best they played in 3 years.

  • Score Boy

    Horrible writing skills displayed in this blog. Ever notice how Berstein gets afraid to back up his mouth when discussions heat up with “the Goff”? Love it! I’m waiting for the inevitable arrest to break the windows in his glass house…just like Jay Marriotti.

    • bigtime sucker

      I appologize for my increasingly bad grammer, run-on sentences, over use of linking verbs, unneccesary prepositional phrase usage, caps lock excessive usage, and bad spelling. I promise to convey my thoughts conceisly and grammatically acurately going forward.

    • George Oscar Bluth

      Even hinting that Bernstein would ever raise a hand to a woman or anything similar to the allegations of domestic violence against Mariotti is just ridiculous and should not thrown around lightly. I’m not saying Dan isn’t capable of screwing up, we pretty much all are, but there’s nothing I’ve ever heard in the 8 years of regular listening to suggest he’d even be capable of such an act. So go stick it, Score Boy.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Inevitable arrest? Mariotti and Bernstein are about as different as can be. Mariotti is a creepy little bastard- scan deadspin.com for the depths of his creepiness. The day I hear about Bernsie crashing house parties and sleeping on the couch, I’ll be more inclined to agree on similarities. I bartended an ESPN event where Mariotti was in attendance, and all he did was leer at women like a molester. There were over 800 people at this event, and Mariotti had nobody to talk to- he was never standing near anyone, just standing alone near the corner. Apparently half the people there didn’t like him, the other half were hot women that had no clue who he was. Like or hate Bernsie’s stances and opinions, he’s no Mariotti- not even close.

  • Vance

    Kids playing football is safer than the alarming growth of obese kids sitting on the couch playing video games.

  • Denver Smeghead

    Btw, I don’t really want to hear about Lovie is now supposedly holding players accountable for not playing well; ie, Harris being benched.

    That should’ve happened last year or earlier than that. Lovie and Angelo have still made a ton of terrible decisions that should’ve cost them their jobs by now.

  • d

    biggest surprise of the year is that Daniel Manning is actually playing well.

    Mark Anderson and his little spin move are so 2006 and it isn’t fooling anyone.

    They should bring out Wootton and give him some reps.

  • d

    barnes and bornstein

    bornes and bernstine

    boors and bernsy

  • Anne

    You can spin it any way you want to, BUT as long as penalties (forced or unforced) are considered part of the game (AND THEY ARE) Chicago outplayed gb on Monday night. Kudos to the officiating staff for attempting to keep the packers honest. Hope they do more of the same next week.


    Here’s a topic I hope comes up in the “Second Half” come 3:30p. Imagine you are a Major League Baseball team clinching a spot in the upcoming playoffs and an announced crowd of just 17,891 tickets sold, as White Sox radio voice Ed Farmer always says, bother to show up to watch the home team shutout the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 to clinch the team’s second trip in 3 years to the playoffs. The face of that franchise, third baseman Evan Longoria, along with lefty David Price, took exception to the team’s lack of fan support to a point where the team’s ownership is GIVING AWAY 20,000 free seats to tonight’s home game vs. Baltimore. The Tampa Bay Rays are that team I’m referring, and for a team that may very well win the American League East over the World Champion New York Yankees, the lack of fan support for a WINNING team is absolutely embarrassing!

    As a result of the lack of fan support down there, the Rays are going to lose the likes of 1B Carlos Pena, closer Rafael Soriano & LF Carl Crawford to name a few. If I’m White Sox General Manager Ken Williams, I’m on the phone with the agents of at least 2 of those guys. In my opinion, Sox fans are seeing the last of 1B Paul Konerko, C A.J. Pierzynski and quite possibly RF Carlos Quentin in silver & black after the team finishes a disappointing, non-playoff season at 35th & Bill Veeck Drive this week.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      Sorry…AbShark posted just before I raised my Sox questions.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    A couple of non-Bears topics:
    1. Booyah is reporting that the Melo deal with The Nets is dead.
    Do you have much hope that GarPax can get him to The Bulls?
    2. Do you want AJ and/or Paulie back for the 2011 Sox?
    I want them both back.
    I doubt that Flowers is ready and The Sox won’t spend the coin it will take to sign VMart, so AJ is still the best option (one-year deal???).
    I’d give Paulie a 2-year deal.

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