Bernstein: Some Questions For The Self-Haters

By Dan Bernstein-

How deeply twisted do you have to be to continue to root against the Bears, in your hopes that the Lovie Smith regime is ushered out?

I don’t know how many of you are actually left, who proclaimed your conflicted belief that the best long-term interests of your team would be served by short-term failure, but life can’t be fun for you right now. The Bears are 8-3, in first place, and looking at a 92% chance of going back to the playoffs.

Their popularity is soaring, with perception of their quality rising commensurately with the eyebrows of national writers and broadcasters. The win over the Eagles Sunday drew the best TV rating of any game on any outlet this season, and was the most-watched game on Fox since 1996.

CBS had already responded by promoting Bears/Patriots to a 3:15 PM kick. The Bears are good, and the nation loves it.

You however, cannot. Because this was supposed to be the year that Smith and his assistants were exposed, paving the way for a properly-mustachioed Bill Cowher to swoop in and restore your comfort.

Listen – I get it. I always respect a team being held to high standards, and there was a fair amount of real, articulated logic from some who made the case that the Bears’ recent performance under Smith had slipped past the point of return. It was an uncomfortable position to take, but well-intentioned.

Some facts of this season, however, have intensified the cognitive dissonance. First, the aforementioned won/loss record and status atop the division are inarguable. Second, the league is crazier than ever, with each week’s results often seemingly unrelated to those previous. We have spent months trying to figure out what “good” is, and have to admit that setting even a championship standard is increasingly difficult in a league where so little separates competitors.

So I’m not sure that the logic of the long-term holds as we have perceived it. No matter our quibbles with Smith – and I have mine, believe me – we must see that the Bears are overachieving in a week-to-week environment. Is the greener-grass alternative of Next Coach Whomever so tantalizing, still, that it prevents you from appreciating or enjoying a good, fun team?

That’s too bad. (Though I get the sense that even the most entrenched of defeatist dead-enders are guiltily celebrating every win, with furtive fist-pumps and strategically-muffled high-fives, stealing out of the room for a lonely, brief sack dance)

The Bears are better than I thought they would be. Smith may not be the greatest coach to ever walk an NFL sideline, but he’s pretty good.

That’s ok enough for me to enjoy a resurgent season in a randomized league without any qualifications or second thoughts.

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Good blog Bernsie.
    I am enjoying this year, though on pins and needles.
    I am not of the fire-Lovie camp…I place blame on Jerry for failing to get an adequate O-line.

    CONGRATS to Matty!!! May you and your bride-to-be enjoy many joyous years.

  • bigtime sucker

    i still say race plays a roll in all this, race and the non ditkaness of our coach. the players love lovie, even urlacher, who has been public about his feelings towards the scheme has basically said that if any other coach tried to impliment this scheme, he would rebel but since he loves lovie, he just goes out and plays. THAT SAYS SOMETHING!!! I agree he is far from perfect. He has made dumb decisions, he has been beyond stubborn, the whole ron rivera/bob babich himself at d cord. thing was a problem, but he fixed it. Last years team was such a shock and inconsistent with a lovie smith team that i think we got ahead of ourselves with hate. I was shocked watching the bengals and ravens and the away vikings game because they were so non lovie, but there is only a small handful of games after his first year(they were 5-11 and blown out but had QB issues, o line issues, and their D was really built upon rookies) that went like that. think about it, even in their 2007 7 and 9 year, they were basically in every game. they overachieved the next year and finished 9-7. I respect Lovie, i disagree with him often but his teams never give up, and most games come down to the end with him.

    • scott

      Objective fan you just do not know much about football. Those are the facts.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    “paving the way for a properly-mustachioed Bill Cowher to swoop in and restore your comfort”

    BY CRACKY!!!

    you present the best case i’ve seen so far bernsy to believe in the bears, and i’m glad they’re succeeding, i’m not rooting against them, but i’m not going to believe in them unless they beat new england in 2 weeks. i just don’t want bears fans to be in for a letdown, which i still think can happen with their tough schedule. i’ll root for them, but i still don’t believe this is a super bowl contender, and being good, (which the bears are), isn’t the same as being a super bowl contender, and i don’t think the bears are from what i’ve seen, they’ve been playing well the past few weeks, but they need to beat new england before i back this team 100%.

  • bigtime sucker

    i also think the fact that players want to STAY here is a good thing towards lovie.

  • bronzo

    I agree excellent blog Dan. The Bears have played way above my expectations, and I’m happy about it. I am not a big Lovie fan but as stated you can’t argue with his results, and that’s all that matters. I’m with Chet on this, Lovie obviously has earned the right to finish his contract…get rid of Angelo

  • bigtime sucker

    I KEEP posting this scene from the naked gun and they keep on deleting it, why? it had to do with drebbin being admonished for shooting 5 actors in a doing julius ceasar in the park. if you watch the movie in tribute, look for the scene you will be having milk shooting out your nose

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      BTS- I’ve had several posts disappear since they switched to the new blog, and I believe every time it was a situation where I included a link (and always on-topic, sports-related links, I should add). My guess is there’s some sort of auto filter to avoid spammers coming on and posting links to their Chinese knock-off merchandise websites.

      • SPAULDING!

        I am a Chinese knockoff! (uh?)

        “When I see a man being brutally stabbed in the park; I shoot the 8@$#!s, that’s my policy!

        Lovie Smith’s record in big games isn’t the best. But he will rip off chunks of wins better than many. I was fully confident that he’d beat the Colts after the Superbowl (that Colts offense is now a knockoff)

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    I totally agree. I was in the camp this year that thought the Bears were just playing out the string because of the labor issues impending, and that they didn’t want to hire a big-name coach and have to pay him for nothing… but Lovie has gotten it done. He’s won. Perception? Who cares. I care about results.
    If he gets the Bears to the playoffs, in my book, that’s an automatic reprieve… Since Ditka got the axe 18 seasons ago, the Bears have only made the playoffs FOUR times. That’s unacceptable. Half of those berths are under Lovie. If he runs at a 50% playoff clip, with the front office being as inept as it has been, he’s obviously better than I ever gave him credit for, and he should be kept. After this season, he’d only be out of work as long as HE willed it.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    what message is the NFL sending?? you only fine johnson and finnegan 25,000 dollars?!! yet you’re fining players thousands more for helmet-to-helmet hits, some of which are incidental hits. they should’ve both been suspended for 1 game. by only fining them, you’re basically condoning fighting. i would love to see NFL players be able to ‘drop the helmets’ so to speak and let ’em have at it like in hockey, but it’s too dangerous to have players fighting in the NFL. i’m sure looking forward to see what goodell does the next time players fight during the game. bad discipline in my opinion.

  • Objective Fan

    I don’t care what anyone says, this team sucks. They’ve been very lucky all year long. They don’t deserve to be a playoff team. I want to see good and talented teams in the playoffs and the Bears are not one of them.

    • biased as hell homer

      but… you don’t know anything about football- that’s obvious. so who cares what you think?

      • haha

        agreed, i hate stupid people

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      Six out of 15 teams make the playoffs. Considering one of the berths will be going to a team is the NFC West that may barely be bowl-eligible, I think that by WINNING you deserve to make the playoffs. Otherwise, if it were exclusively a talent-on-paper deal, Dallas and Minnesota players wouldn’t be making January golf plans.

    • scott

      Your on here every week dogging the Bears yet you have no evidence backing you outrageous claims. The Bears don’t need stubborn haters like you on their side anyways. We dispatched of them last week. The reality is the team is 8-3 don’t tell me that there not good their 1 game away from having the best rec. in the league.

  • mike in davenport

    I love that photo above – “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”

    I’ve been a Lovie supporter for the most part – he makes mistakes, but has shown the ability to improve. I’m also not sold on a lot of the available coaches, Cowher included.

    I think Love is a good defensive mind. When his players are healthy, his defensive scheme works. Defense wins championships.

  • Chris in Scottsdale


    By the time the playoffs arrive, we’ll know exactly how good the Bears are. Four of their last six games will have been against the Eagles, Packers, Jets, and Patriots. If we don’t know now, we will definitely know exactly where they’re at come January… and we may not like the answer.

    If they finish with a 3-2 record the rest of the way, that means they’ve taken one from either the Jets, Patriots, or Packers. That shows me enough.

    3-2 for the remainder of the season, no blowouts, and an upright Cutler? I’ll give them a shot at the JerryBowl.

  • Ed in Chicago

    Yup, next time you wish for a regime change, think of how the Denver Broncos have gone the last two years….

    Regime changes are good to wish for in the off-season, but once the season starts, you root for good things.

  • Objective Fan

    Mark my words. The Kyle Orton trade will go down as one of the worst in NFL history. Orton has had a great year and he is only going to get better. Shame on the Bears for finally have an elite QB and then trading him away for a career loser. GO BRONCOS!!!

    • Brendan D

      Uh… actually, the Broncos have gotten worse, and Orton’s yards have been pretty much empty, considering the team he leads has a 3-8 record and currently sits in the cellar of the AFC West. Dunno how that makes Orton an “elite” quarterback.

      Don’t get me wrong; I like Orton, and he’s having a nice year. But stats don’t matter as much as winning. He’s not. And he’s not an elite quarterback; he’s working with a system that maximizes what he does well.

      I’ll leave you with this thought: stats in baseball matter because they tell the story of the season. Stats in football, however, don’t, because far from being about individual glory, it’s about the cohesiveness and strength of the team overall. It’s why Trent Dilfer and Jim McMahon, two average-to-good quarterbacks, have Super Bowl rings, but Dan Marino and Jim Kelly don’t.

      • Gregory Brown

        I have to differ on your point about team cohesiveness. I’ll say this about Jim Kelly and the ’90-94 Bills. In the history of the NFL teams have had almost as much trouble coming back from a Super Bowl win as from a loss, and often a loss will devastate a team for years. The Bills team that lost four straight Super Bowls will be remembered as probably the most resilient, if star-crossed team in league history. To bounce back from Super Bowl defeat not once, but three times in a row and get back the fourth time is an amazing accomplishment, and they had to beat some very good teams to do it.

    • haha

      stop having stupid opinions on things

    • Clark W. Griswold

      Objective Fan obviously knows nothing about sports and should die a slow death.

    • Gregory Brown

      Do you actually watch football? I’m thinking that if you do, it’s on your imaginary TV.

  • Jaimie in Hoffman Estates

    Great blog Bernsy, this team needs haters, I think it motivates them and the fans as well. Did anyone else watch the pre-game last nite? Every analyist picked the Beloved as the best team in the NFC!! I really hope are defence can play at thos level the rest of the year, same with the o-line. Can’t wait for TB to be back tomorrow.

  • Jaimie in Hoffman Estates

    Jon,Montgomery you are a little angry today? But I do agree, and think its about time that a coach called out Lebron.

    • Jon, Montgomery

      yeah, people have been telling me since sunday that i’m being angry, and i guess i am, but that’s what happens when your football team loses. i’ll be fine though :)

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Excellent post Jon.
    I heard a few minutes of “SportsCenterAM” on the radio early this morning and I was shocked by their coverage….the Wiz suck with Wall and are beyond baaad when he is there (he’s injured now). Booyah is sucking up to their self-invented story line of the Heat marching to a championship.

  • mad as hell fan....

    good blog bernsie, really couldn’t agree more today.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    we almost broke 100 comments yesterday, that brought a little joy to me.

    and tomorrow is the official start of christmas. the thanksgiving carbs have worn off and i’m ready to go! lol

  • Jon, Montgomery

    rockies have signed troy tulowitzki to a {7-yr 134 million} contract extension.

    • bigtime sucker

      i don’t know if that’s a smart move or not. any of our denver fans could tell me, how huge are the rockies? from highlights it seems as though they average about 75% of capacity, are they a tv draw in the area. i think the player is a really good player, but i don’t know if the rockies are in a position to offer anyone 19.14 million a year. but i guessi f you had to stretch your budget on a positional player, he is worth it

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Watching (briefly, I couldn’t stand listening to Chuckie) those two sorry-ass teams on MNF was enough to frame for me that we have been very lucky this season with the beloved…we get December football that matters and I hope we will get January football for keepers too.

    I like bts’s analysis of Lovie’s +/- as a Coach.

  • bigtime sucker

    i didn’t even bother giving last night a peek. and as far as the heat and espn, espn has made quite the investment on the heat, so overhyping wins and losses is a must do to justify their investment, and you know what? idiots like us respond whether it’s positivly or negativly. if we just ignored them, if their ratings dropped everytime a heat story came on the air, i am sure the stories would be decreasing at an alarming rate, but we watch,so they keep reporting

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      I have to admit that I love to see them lose…want Benedict LeBron (thanks SHARK) to lose…want Two-and-a-Half Superstars to fail.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    maybe we can send nick boynton to knock out lebron? god boynton is an idiot. i wish it was him the had gotten hurt instead of hossa.

    by the way, if the illini don’t beat NC tar heels tonight, that’s a dissapointment, originally before the season i thought that could be a big statement win, but with NC struggling, the illini NEED to beat them.

    first look at boozer tomorrow night. hope dwight howard & brandon bass don’t abuse him too much :)

  • Jon, Montgomery

    dan mahneel is already making plans for restuarants to dine at while they live broadcast in dallas during super bowl week for the bears. MAC! WYC?

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      That reminds me of one of my all-time-favotite B&B moments.

      When the boys were in Miami for the Bears-Colts SB, Larry Horse hit on Matt Hasselbeck’s mother.

      My second favorite moment was when they interviewed Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana and proposed trading Jim Belushi for a then-alive Michael Jackson. The Gov didn’t know how to react.

      • bigtime sucker

        HOW about z. zaidman hitting heavily on amanda beard?

      • bigtime sucker

        or drew rosenhouse totting around his new client, the BK king? it was silly but i was LMAO.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        Oh yeah, BY CRACKY, the Amanda Beard ZZ stuff was a total hoot.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        I laughed, but Drew Rosenhaus truly makes me throw-up in my mouth, he is one of the few people that simply disgust me (Donald Trump, Jerry Jones…).

      • Jon, Montgomery

        i’ve only listened to the score for a few years…

        but in 2008, after the bears beat the saints in overtime against the saints on a thursday night game, abbatacola came on solo to do bears postgame, he was hammered drunk, and he sat there for 4 hours and basically ripped callers and talked to himself, he could barely put a thought together, and at one point, he went 56 minutes without a commercial break, it was great radio and i’ll never forget it, that’s what first made me like abbatacola, funny stuff.

        that’s my favorite.

  • bigtime sucker

    if i am d rose i am attacking the basket every possesion and going right at howard, just to see how he responds. does bass start? and is lewis a 3 or a 4? i can’t remember

    • Jon, Montgomery

      lewis starts at the 4, but van gundy plays him at 3 when bass is in, and bass gets a ton of minutes off the bench, and bass has been tearing it up, currently he’s our best big man after howard, gortat is good, but bass has been playing great so far, so i expect lewis, (who has been shooting cold to start this season), to play less minutes with boozer playing, lewis sucks on defense, bass does not.

      and vince carter is supposed to return tonight for orlando, if i were stan, i would bring him off the bench, vince has a tweaked knee and i don’t want him to get hurt more by playing heavy minutes against detroit tonight.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    I bet Howard will be surprised when rose attacks him at the basket tomorrow night, he’s not seen rose do that yet, and personally I favor rose on that matchup. Dwight won’t be able to defend rose once Derrick gets in the paint.

    personally, I think that boozer struggles in his first game with the team, and the magic win in a close game.

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