By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) The Chicago Bears’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night was another sprint to the toilet that came up short and ended in chunks on the floor. You likely were put in that awkward position of having to root against your favorite team in favor of a better position in the 2015 NFL Draft that general manager Phil Emery will maybe screw up anyway. It was that complete finger-in-the-throat purge to try to rid yourself of the barf of this season.READ MORE: Cubs Bullpen Coach Chris Young Tests Positive For COVID-19, Leading To Worry About Possible Outbreak
It’s terrible to have your eye twitch while mumbling through a thoroughly forced smile that you want Jay Cutler to throw an interception. Or that Brandon Marshall being taken away in an ambulance was worrisome on a human level and celebratory on a practical one. It’s tough to have your hands spasm as you type on social media that the Matt Forte blue moon fumble was … a … good … thing.
The Bears need to lose games now, and you the fan has to begrudgingly root for failure. That’s unfortunate and pathetic, both in that a fan shouldn’t have to be put in such a conundrum and that a hallmark franchise in the NFL shouldn’t have drank so far into the container of bleach.
Not as pathetic, though, as comments made by former linebacker Brian “Fredo” Urlacher prior to Thursday’s debacle.
“I’m glad I’m not there,” Urlacher speed talked. “Honestly, I didn’t realize how good we had it when Lovie (Smith) was there. Our defense was great every single year, and it was great because of him. We had good players. We were good every year, and we were good because of him and his coaching staff. I truly believe that. Lovie made our team and our defense go.”
When asked about ever rebuilding the bridge to the Bears that he has repeatedly burned, Urlacher said, “Is it important to me? No, it’s not.” Yet even that isn’t the most pathetic aspect of the Bears’ franchise as it faintly stands now.
This is no longer about the pettiness of Urlacher, who just won’t let it go that the Bears made one of the few intelligent moves in recent years by not offering him a contract he wasn’t worth and that Urlacher chose to reject their reasonable one. It’s not about the jilted revenge porn he throws into the media every few months with his hatred of Phil Emery, Cutler and coach Marc Trestman. (Though he says his saltiness with the organization doesn’t have to do with money, Urlacher doesn’t hesitate to criticize Cutler for how much money he makes.)
Brian Urlacher is a big baby, and that’s well-established.READ MORE: Shootings Continue As Plans To Install Cameras Along Illinois Expressways Stall
The larger point is that despite all of Urlacher’s personal shortcomings, he has become a symptom of a malignant disease that’s now the Bears. It’s easy to look at the current football aspect of this team and point out every glossy canker on offense and festering sore on defense and oozing pustule on special teams. Bears football is very sick right now.
But beyond the X’s and O’s, the bigger state of the Bears is symbolized by the fact that the face of their franchise for a generation hasn’t just severed ties with the whole operation but that he’s enjoying the trainwreck with giddy spite. Much of that is on Urlacher, sure. But his is not an isolated case.
Olin Kreutz, perhaps the only Bear of the Urlacher era as respected in the organization, left on bad terms. Lance Briggs’s tenure lies in Hospice with bitterness clouding it, both of going out ailing and surrounded by seemingly incompetent staff.
The corpse that is the Bears is rotting beyond the field. This is a franchise known for throwing money at former players-turned-ambassadors to shake hands and kiss babies. Now you have prominent alumni publicly stating their desire to never come near what is essentially free money.
Devoid of his friends, Urlacher is clasping his fingers together a la Montgomery Burns and whispering to himself, “excellent,” as this pond of ducks dies of radiation poisoning. Alex Brown has told Briggs that these Bears ain’t loyal. Give it a month after his contract expires, and Briggs will be Instagramming his figurative bedpan for the world to see. Charles Tillman, the most genuine guy a fan could ask for, will be expectedly candid about his final Bears days after he’s gone, and some of it won’t be pretty.
Bad football is going to be in Chicago for the rest of this season, most likely into next and, sadly, probably spread beyond that as well. The nausea won’t be mitigated by the leprosy of an advertisement to potential free agents put out by former players and the visible deathbed this team makes for itself.
This is more than about touchdowns and wins. It’s more than Trestman talking about failed execution or a blocked extra point or lancing the boil that is Shea McClellin.
There is a disease embedded in the bones and tissue. The biology of the Chicago Bears is septic right now. The franchise is deathly ill all over, and there’s no immediate — or singular — cure.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @TimBaffoe.