The Bears are not a flashy team. They don’t have the offensive firepower of teams like New England or New Orleans. They don’t have a “shutdown” defense in the purest sense of the word considering they routinely allow offenses to drive down the field on them. They do, however, have the flashiest special teams player on the most renown special teams in the NFL.
Aside from statistics, the 11-4 NFC North Division champion Bears have skeptics league-wide. Fans and analysts alike don’t want to give them their due, which is why it was a bit of a surprise that justice was served when four Bears were selected to this year’s Pro Bowl.
Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Devin Hester all were selected to participate in the 2011 Pro Bowl on Jan. 30. From the beginning of the season and without wavering, the Bears received solid contributions from all four players and they are a major reason the Bears have clinched a first-round bye for the postseason.
Peppers, making his sixth Pro Bowl, has been worth every cent the Bears paid him in free agency this offseason while recording 50 tackles, eight sacks, 11 pass defenses — the most by any defensive lineman in the league — two interceptions — also the most for linemen — and three forced fumbles.
The return of Urlacher from his wrist injury paired with Briggs gave the Bears one of the best 1-2 combos at linebacker in the league and is the primary reason the Bears currently have the league’s No. 3 run defense. Urlacher, making his seventh Pro Bowl, has 120 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 11 pass defenses, one interception, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Briggs, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the sixth-straight time, has 80 tackles, two sacks, nine pass defenses, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Briggs also missed two games against the Seahawks and Redskins.
Hester, now in his third Pro Bowl, is simply “ridiculous.” Not only is he the best in the league at what he does, now and for all time, but he’s arguably the most exciting player in the league. One could argue that Michael Vick could hold that title, but he’s on the field far more and people don’t stand in anticipation when he takes the field or boo when opponents take him out of the game. The Pro Bowl is, after all, pure entertainment for fans and what would a Pro Bowl be without the electrifying Hester?