By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) OK, so mathematically the Chicago Bears’ season isn’t over. But putting this team together with math will, at best, get you a 10-minute answer from coach Marc Trestman on variables and Brandon Marshall’s polynomial nature and how this is a division game and long division is a process. And then somehow you’re going to jail for tax fraud.
So there’s little hope of Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings being the first step on the road to a miraculous playoff run. So then, why even watch other than the basic human desire to stare at a car accident?
There are reasons to tune in. (Not to actually attend the game, though, no matter how cheap seats are going for, unless you are that rarest kind of masochist who hooks his or her sensitive parts up to car batteries or attends a 3-6 team’s game in sub-freezing temperatures.) Here’s the list.
Football is football
Even bad NFL football is better than no NFL football. That game against the Green Bay Packers? Yes, it was the cornfield scene from Casino, but after getting over the shock and horror of it, would you have removed the cornfield scene from Casino? Hell no. At its very worst, a garbage Bears game brings about all sorts of negative feelings that we need to let us know that Monday through Friday hasn’t completely zapped our life forces.
And a win is a win …
The Vikings aren’t a good football team, and beating them likely leaves very little for us to better measure the Bears. But the ugliest of wins when you only get one game a week is at least relieving, if not satisfying.
… but maybe a loss is better?
Perhaps you’re in the camp of wanting this team to completely crash and burn and bury the black box at the bottom of Lake Michigan and never speak of the emotional scarring again. And maybe, now that the season is for naught, you want the Bears to completely lose out — whether it be to get general manager Phil Emery to press the button for the trap door in the floor underneath the coaching staff (or Ted Phillips for Emery or the McCaskeys for Phillips) and/or to get the best possible draft pick. Hate-watch it then. Relish in the farce.
Potential for rioting
It’s been a while since the Soldier Field non compos mentis have been up close with the Bears, and they’ve about reached soccer-hooligan levels of self-medication and eye twitching. The Bears might unintentionally make it on a news broadcast on the BBC and increase their brand with the Limeys before the stupid London Spin the Bottle lands on them and punishes them by forcing them to play the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.
Win a damn home game
If you still have a shred of compassion for this team, you have to agree they need a win at home. The Philadelphia 76ers — who are intentionally trying to lose games — have won four home games since the Bears last won in Soldier Field. Accumulate little bits of dignity when you can, and owning your own house is at least that.
Brandon Marshall might get someone to fight him
At this point with Marshall, anything’s possible. And if the Bears find themselves down three scores, well, it would be more entertaining to see him pummel a drunken fan.
How does this coaching staff respond to two embarrassing defeats?
So many questions swirl around Trestman, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, et al. Have their players quit on them? Can they save their jobs? If Trestman’s hair is real, how hasn’t it fallen out yet? Emery is noting how the coaches get these players in game shape while they are simultaneously questioning the meaning of life.
I have Matt Forte on my fantasy team
And you care.
The game is between two NFC teams but on CBS
Ooooh, different and exotic. How will you be able to watch noon Bears football without a giant animated robot graphic or Tony Siragusa wearing a deep dish pizza? And you get to listen to Kevin Harlan try to make this all sound dramatic. Plus, add in the possibility Rich Gannon explaining how Trestman made him good but should bench Cutler in favor of a guy who consciously posed for this. Speaking of…
Cutler getting back to neutral
Cutler is either hated in Chicago or ignored until he gives a reason to be hated. Even when he’s good, he gets little credit or begrudgingly so, which is fine. His stats this year are much better than his punchable face would suggest, but everything is his fault because he pays homeless children to fight each other for laughs, or so the narrative seems to go. A good game free of crucial mistakes gets him back in that ignorable territory, makes really sad people angry that they have to find something else to be angry about and calls off the dogs for a week.
Let’s learn about the Vikings together!
Who the hell is even on that team besides the suspended Adrian Peterson? Teddy Bridgewater — you remember him being good in college. Corduroy Patterson rings a bell. Some jerk in your fantasy league defeated you by starting something named Matt Asiago. Greg Jennings used to be good. We should probably know more about a division opponent, right?
There you have it — completely watchable but probably awful, stupid football that will make you temporarily forget your own mortality. Please, don’t thank me. It’s my pleasure to help.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @TimBaffoe.