By Dave Wischnowsky–
Say they don’t win another game.
Say the Bears lose to the Jets, lose to the Packers and lose in the first round of the NFC Playoffs.
(I’m not saying they will, mind you. Not at all.)
Would you still declare Chicago’s 2010 NFL season a success?
Or do you demand more?
On a snowy Monday night in Minneapolis when the only thing more ridiculous than the playing conditions was Devin Hester, the Bears were as good as they’ve been all year.
They shrugged off the cold. They shrugged off the concrete turf at TCF Bank Stadium. They shrugged off Drama King Brett Favre and his Minnesota Vikings.
And, by clinching the NFC North championship and securing a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, they officially shrugged off their doubters, too – a group that most certainly has included me.
Before the season, I predicted the Bears would go 7-9. And I thought that was being generous. I’m happy to say I was quite wrong.
Even if the Bears don’t win another game this season, finish 10-6 and head home after a first-round loss in the NFC playoffs, I don’t think there’s any way to call 2010 anything less than a success.
Not considering where the Bears came from.
In the preseason, this team looked like a mess. In October, when it was losing three of four games, it looked like a disaster. And in November, it still looked like an enigma.
Now, I still think the Bears are mysterious. And, I still think they’re lucky – it seems as if they’ve faced more third-string quarterbacks than first-string ones this season. But I also think they’re pretty good, too.
As long as it’s not facing Tom Brady and New England, the Bears’ defense is elite. The special teams are truly special. And the offense, despite last week’s snow job at Soldier Field, appears to have stabilized and can now actually be considered a plus rather than just a minus.
Thanks to the Bears, Brett Favre also now owns the longest and shortest starting streaks in NFL history.
(Hey, give Brett credit. You can’t say the guy just texted it in Monday night …)
After the win against the Vikings, ESPN’s talking heads were split on the fate of the Chicago Bears.
“I think they can win the whole thing,” Matt Millen said from the Monday Night Football postgame set. “I think they can go to Atlanta and beat Atlanta. I think they can go to Philadelphia and beat Philadelphia.”
“I don’t think they’re that consistent yet,” countered Steve Young.
Maybe Young is right. Or maybe Millen is. Great thing is, we’ll get to find out.
Just like a baseball fan wanting to see meaningful games in September, all you can really ask from your NFL team is that it provide you with meaningful games in December.
The Bears have done that. And now, after Monday night, we’re guaranteed of meaningful ones in January, too.
In my book, that’s a success for 2010.
No matter what happens from here on out.
How about you?
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.