By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) I’ve no idea how good this new crop of young Bears is or how their presence will alter the team’s proximity to winning a Super Bowl. Aside from the top pick, the truth is that I don’t know much of anything about any of them.
And you don’t either, so stop it. This exercise in curation by general manager Ryan Pace, his personal collection of exotic items to be put on display for us appropriately close to the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, is only certain to be a gift to people who do what we do — spend a ridiculous amount of time talking about the Bears.
Let’s be real in admitting that these people are characters for us as much as they are players, and to going back and imagining the descriptions in a pitch meeting with writers and executive producers of the reality show is one way to appreciate just how great this is.
“The top pick …this is one of the stars, obviously, and we bring him into the plot with a shocking trade, one that may have never needed to be made that puts extra pressure on him to succeed. Nice enough kid, looks the part, but is imbued with a sense of mystery since he only started 13 games in college and doesn’t say a whole lot when he talks. Oh, and he’s not starting this year. Exhibition games will actually mean something when he plays, now, and every incompletion and interception the starter throws will mean we cut to a shot of the kid biding his time. Great stuff.”
“Second-rounder played for a tiny college nobody recognizes, so no one has seen him play. But he’s the size of a Yeti and was relatively recently urged to play football instead of basketball. Massive guy at a position of need and will stand out in every drill and game rep. The camera will find him.”
“Of course we had to have somebody representing a top-tier college program, a name possibly familiar to fans who watch on Saturdays, but this one has suffered two major leg injuries that dropped him well down the draft boards. But he’s smart and polished and pedigreed, so he could emerge as a lead role in season 2.”
“This you won’t believe — ‘The Human Joystick’ is only 5-foot-6 but has supernatural quickness and agility. He also arrives from a small school having starred against lesser competition where he racked up multiple highlight plays, but he’s best known for a viral video in which he catches two footballs simultaneously while doing a backflip, shirtless. Also … and this is something writers are still working out … his last name appears more likely to belong to a tax attorney or gastroenterologist, so there could be some kind of emotional reveal or major plot-twist down the road. Like that Simpsons where Jackie Mason played Krusty’s father.”
“And the last guy comes from Division II, where he played tackle but is now expected to play guard. As a redshirt in 2012, he gained 70 pounds in a year, so if he could give us a compelling subplot by resuming that pace, he could be 519 pounds by his third season. We may have to re-think the name, since it’s hard to remember which part is first and last.”
And now they get to interact with all of the Bears dramatis personae you have already grown to love or hate from your time spent paying attention to your favorite protagonists and villains, if not binge-watching previous episodes.
The jury may still be out on how good Ryan Pace is in selecting quality football players to make his team better, but he’s proving to at least be quite the casting director.