Da Bears: “Excited but not Galvanized”

Chicago loves its sports teams and in today’s Tribune David Haugh makes the case that nothing captures the city’s imagination than a great Bears team. Alas, the only way Lovie’s boys will eclipse the 85 team is if they run the table and go, dare I say it, 19-0. Chet Coppock has the best line in Haugh’s piece when he says the 2006 team “will never put the side headlock on Madison Avenue or Michigan Avenue the way the ’85 Bears did, so help me George Halas…The roar of Papa Bear, the cutting edge of Ditka, ‘Sweetness,’ ‘Hamp,’ ‘Mongo,’ ‘Silky D,’ and an offensive line that would’ve made Hulk Hogan leap over the top rope made ’85 a year that will not be repeated. This current club has people excited but not galvanized.” Chester continued the theme on his show this morning, noting that this team “hasn’t opened themselves up as characters” the way the “mythical” 85 team did. Meanwhile, Rick Telander’s Friday column reports on an aborted locker room interview with new Bear superstar Tommie Harris and concludes that this Gen Y team has some growing to do before it fully wins our hearts:

It wasn’t even 1 o’clock and the NFL-mandated 45-minute media session wasn’t over yet, but Kreutz was swiftly joined by many of his teammates, who screamed at the top of their lungs, made fire-alarm noises, siren noises, animal noises and bellowed for the media to get out right now, many with threatening gestures…Others pointed and smirked and turned on the few remaining media members the way a gang of bullies would turn on handicapped kids with lunch money in their pockets.

It was an amazing, frightening transformation. The air of physical harm loomed….Tight end John Gilmore glared and angrily screamed, ”GET OUT OF HERE!”…We humans equate winning with immortality, triumph with virtue….Good luck, Tommie Harris. Hope you and your buddies can learn how to be men.

Finally, Brad Biggs compares the marketing prowess of the two teams:

There’s a big difference between players today and the ones from two decades ago — and it involves an extra comma in the paychecks. Salaries have skyrocketed, and athletes today don’t need the supplementary income as much. Still, it’s not bad to have, and a lot of the work is done on their day off Tuesday….'”Our dear beloved coach had the greatest saying of all time,” Hampton said. ”’To the victor go the spoils.”’

Of course, comparing the two teams is unfair: 1985 was a different media era: Tomorrow night’s Bears-Cardinals game is unlikely to come anywhere close to the 30 rating/46 share that the 1985 Bears-Dolphins game earned (the highest rated game in MNF history) . Indeed few programs other than the Super Bowl will ever come close to drawing 30% of American homes– last week Patch Adams Grey’s Anatomy topped the Nielsens with a 15 rating.

Second, as good as a job as he’s doing, Lovie Smith is no Mike Ditka. (Viewing this video, maybe that’s a good thing.)

Third, though this team may turn out to be a better team (!?), they will never pull off anything like this.

Whatever happened to that promised Steve Albini-produced reunion album?

2 thoughts on “Da Bears: “Excited but not Galvanized”

  1. Thanks for posting this…

    Part of the attraction of the 1985 Bears was the belief that Chicago could truly have a winner. This was long before the Bulls of the 90s and last year’s White Sox.

    Remember, this came off the Cubs heartbreak of 1984 (Leon Durham letting a ground ball go through his legs in San Diego….) and the White Sox failure in ’83 after a great regular season.

    You had to go back to the 1963 Bears to find the last winner in Chicago which made this team even more special. In addition to the Bears-Dolphin game that made history that year was Jim McMahon in his “Rozelle” headband and The Fridge scoring a touchdown on Monday against the Packers.

    The Fall of 1985 was certainly one of my all-time favorite years.

    Tim

  2. tim, thanks for the note. I agree wholeheartedly that we were a much more anxious people following those baseball collapses (though I usually flash to Steve Garvey taking a hanging Lee Smith slider out in my PTSD memories of that series).
    I’ve been following this year’s team closely, but I have more of the 85 team roster memorized than I do this team’s. I think that’s true for many of us.
    (and before some soccer fan jumps in, Karl Heinz Granitza and the Sting did bring us a championships in 81 and 84.)

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