Isn’t the annual opening of training camp supposed to be a time when visions of playoff births, man hugs and trophy kisses dance in the heads of the league’s 32 franchises?
Not if you’re a Chicago Bears fan and you put a lot of stock into the pre-season media predictions…
- Foxsports.com ranks the Bears as the league’s 21st best team. NFL know-it-all Peter King has them as the 25th best team. (Yes, that’s the same King who predicted the Bears would go to the Super Bowl last year.)
- Mike Lombardi at NFL Network says the Bears only have 2 “blue-chip” players (Briggs, Peppers). And that pisses Brian Urlacher off till no end.
- A bunch of NFL preview mags predict the Bears will finish 3rd in their own division.
Based on the current 3-year playoff drought and the ‘superior’ purple- and green-clad rivals in their division, it’s not surprising the ‘experts’ are predicting the Bears to be awesomely average again this year. And the Bears are responding to the negativity like any underdog would – by clinging to the ever-popular (and often overused) It’s us against the World battle cry.
But don’t take my word for it. Consider recent quotes by the team’s two stars…
Brian Urlacher, talking with the Tribune’s Vaughn McClure about criticisms from Bears’ legend, Gale Sayers:
“It’s not fair for us to have people go out there and say stuff about us but there are no consequences to what they say. The consequences are us firing back. They can say whatever they want to about me. There’s nothing worse they can say about me. But I get irritated when they talk about my teammates and my coaches.”
Jay Cutler, also per McClure:
“I think everyone has a little bit of a chip on their shoulder, which I think is a great thing. There’s a sense of urgency to go out there and play well, which is what you have to have as a football team.”
The Bears can work to reverse the football world’s collective low expectations, starting with their first training camp practice on Friday.
Will the motivation of being labeled as losers and lame-ducks help the 2010 Bears ascend new heights? The mentality that grows over the next month on the practice fields of a small college town just south of Chicago will go a long way in determining the success (or failure) of this football team.
Football is FINALLY here again, Bears fans.
Stay tuned to BearsGab.com for updates and (over)analysis of all the training camp happenings…
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