The Chicago Bears just might be the most disappointing team of the 2019 season. Their 5-6 record after 11 games is a colossal disappointment given the extraordinary expectations heaped upon them this year.
But after dropping four in a row through a bad October stretch, the Bears have begun a new one. The Bears could win their third game in four tries when they take on the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. If they beat the Lions for the second time this season, they will pull even at 6-6 on the year.
But what would a .500 record after Lovie Smith’s third quarter of the season do for you?
Let’s analyze the different perspectives.
“This is just the momentum they need to make a final playoff push”
If you’re in this group, kudos to you for your optimism and fandom. I think I officially gave up playoff hopes when Eddy Pineiro’s game-winning field goal attempt against the Chargers sailed wide left. Until then, you could make reasonable arguments for losses to the Packers and Saints, and an “oops” game to the Raiders in London. But despite the Bears’ offensive ineptitude this season, if you are still holding out hope they can make a magical playoff run, good for you. I wish I still had that hope.
“This is a good accomplishment for a team that looked left for dead”
Some of the biggest skeptics suggested the Bears would finish 4-12, 5-11, or even 6-10, after their disastrous 4-game losing streak. Now, 6-10 is still possible as the Bears head for a brutal December schedule featuring 4 likely or possible playoff teams. Still, it is a good accomplishment to pull even at .500 when many felt they couldn’t or wouldn’t. And, it is good to see the team not completely cave and “check out” for the season in the face of adversity and playoff uncertainty.
“This feels better than a losing record, but it’s still a disappointment”
Those who fall into this group generally feel malaise about the season. Anything short of a playoff run feels like a disappointment because that was the expectation before the season. Thus, even the Bears accomplishing three victories in four games and “fighting back from the dead” doesn’t appease them because a 6-6 record after 12 games was not supposed to be in the cards. Still, they have some perspective in the midst of their disappointment.
“This matters little to me because they were supposed to win these games”
If you’re in this group, you are bordering on bitterness. It’s okay, too. I don’t blame you. You had high expectations and now you feel you were sold a bill of goods. The truth is, you gave up hope for a Super Bowl after the season-opening loss to Green Bay, and abandoned playoff expectations shortly thereafter. Nothing the Bears have done since September has inspired you in the least bit. You don’t fully buy into the notion that “it’s tough to win games in the NFL.” And beating the lowly Lions and Giants does nothing for you because those are games the Bears could have and should have won.
“This means absolutely nothing because I’m completely apathetic about the Bears”
If you’ve reached this stage, I feel bad for you. There’s nothing worse than reaching a point of apathy toward your sports teams. If you are filled with anger, it at least shows you care about your team and want the best for them. If apathy enters the picture, it’s like a broken marriage headed for divorce. Those who feel apathetic are headed toward turning in their Bears fan card. And if that happens, why bother tuning into Bears games anymore? You can spend your Sundays watching chick flicks and having yourself a good cry. (Which means the tears still flow on Sundays, but for a different reason.)
Which group are you in?
So, in which group do you reside? Are you an optimist? A pessimist? Are you all in or completely apathetic at this point?
I’ll tell you where I am. As I mentioned, I gave up hope (about 99.99% of it) after the heartbreaking loss to the Chargers. But I haven’t reached the level of apathy yet and probably never will. This is largely due to the defense still playing at a high level and keeping every game close.
The fact that in every fourth quarter this year — with the exception of the Saints game — the Bears were either winning or within striking distance of doing so proves that they are still a watchable product. Even if the offense continues to struggle.
And that alone is an accomplishment worth noting.