Frankie O's Blog: O-Bombs?

Frankie O's Blog: O-Bombs?

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011
2:31 p.m.

By Frankie O

All the youngsters are adding Red Bull to almost any alcohol and making a bomb out of it. Oh to be young again! I dont go there, but if you give me some Red Bull and put me in front of my computer, this is what you get. Dont consume too quickly, or it will go straight to your head!

Are you ready for the biggest game ever? I dont know if I buy into that hype. In recent memory, it would be hard to top the San Francisco-Dallas NFC Championship games of the mid 90s. They were the 2 unquestioned powerhouses of the NFL and played for the right to win the Super Bowl 3 straight years. Those were huge games that captured the imagination of fans everywhere, no coincidence that both rosters were littered with Hall of Famers. Outside of Chicago and Green Bay, will this even be the most watched football game of the day?

I would say that it is one of the coolest games that I can remember. It defies logic, not to mention statistical probability that these 2 teams have not met in the playoffs in 70 years, let alone for a trip to the Super Bowl! In an age where old school is cool, it doesnt get more old school than this. What this game gives us, besides the obvious, is a chance to reflect on the previous 181 games that have been played by the NFLs most frequently played rivalry. I think in many ways that we dont take enough time to honor our past, this game will allow us to celebrate the many who have worn the uniform in anger and created a legacy that defines the NFL.

As far as the game against the worst playoff team ever, lost in the euphoria of the win was a play-call that could have spelled doom if the game was played against a worthy opponent. I would say it is in my top ten of worst calls ever. When leading a game 28-3, at home, with 13 minutes left and playing an opponent that has, rightfully, accomplished nothing all-day, the last thing you want to do is anything that would give them life, or a quick score. Mike Martz did something to give them both. Call me unimaginative, but I think that situation calls for running plays that will grind out the clock and not give up field position. So what does our boy do? He calls for a halfback option pass that is promptly intercepted and sets up Seattles first of three 4th quarter touchdowns. What was the risk-reward of that play? It was ALL risk! It was ALL ego! We get it. You are very smart! Just run the ball! And the knuckleheads in the bar who said it will give the Packers tape of a gadget play? Tape of what? Stupid turnovers? This response led me to ask if they were related. That kind of decision making against a real playoff team will get you beat.

One good thing, for me, is that my pre-season, and mid-season, pick of a Packer-Jets Super Bowl is still alive, not that any of my regulars want to hear that. But in the game of bar-room banter, its all about being right! So youre saying theres a chance!

Lost in the hoopla last weekend was the Cubs convention, or as I call it, a Star Trek convention in blue hats! (Im teasing! Sort of.) Im almost ready for baseball, at least the weather part. But whats this I hear of people booing Jim Hendry, among others, during his introduction? That makes a guy from Philly say, Cmon! Just proves what I say that these are not your fathers Cubs fans, this is one angry lot, even in a situation of off-season bliss. (Bliss because there is hope of NEXT YEAR!) I have no problem showing displeasure, but in the middle of a group hug? With the kids and grandparents there? At least they werent throwing their beers. I can see why theyre so upset with Ryan Theriot. What does he know? Speaking of The-riot, wow! Even I did not see that coming. Usually when someone takes shots at the Cubs, its a former child of scorn and easily discounted. But Theriot was a fan favorite, at least in the beginning. Just wondering if his comments give credence to the arrows that have been slung by others on their way out of town?

The new cult-figure in discussions at the bar is Blake Griffin. As in: Did you see what freaking Griffin did last night?!! This week it was putting up a season league high of 47 points, without a dunk! I cant believe it, but Im making sure I have the Clips game on TV at the bar while Im working. I cant wait to see what he does next, and what he has in store for the dunk contest All-Star weekend. Easy to say its been a while since I or anyone I know, has cared about that.

I was a little late driving downtown to watch the Bears game before I worked on Sunday and as it turned out I was glad I was. It enabled me to hear Jim Cornelison sing the anthem before the game. The energy just jumped out through my radio. If theres someone who does it better, I havent heard them. In this town, if its a game that means anything, you want to hear his voice before it starts!

The debate at the bar this week is tricky. Sell or go? It seems the Big Game has created a big ticket market with absurd prices. I still dont know if Ive picked a side. The romantic in me (stop laughing!) says that you must go. Its a memory for a lifetime. But then I think, would it mean any less if I watched it on my High Def TV, lying on my side because of the bulge created by the extra 5 grand in my wallet? Through my life there have been many games of great importance to me and the amount of them that I attended is minuscule. That fact does not take away from what those games mean to me. That being said, the few that I did attend were magical and etched in my memory forever. That being said, call me old, O.K., really old, but going to a game is a lot of work. Loud crowds, waiting forever and nowhere to go and thats only on the ride there. I guess if I had to make a choice, the bartender in me says to sell the tickets and go to my favorite establishment. You would get to enjoy the game with a lot of folks rooting for the same thing as you, but the crowd hassles would be minimized. So you could still be surrounded by your friends creating a memory for a lifetime, but still have a LOT OF CASH when the game is over. Minus that is, a handsome gratuity for the guy behind the bar, because we ALL know that he made the experience better! That sounds like a win-win to me! Go Bears!!

Takeaways from Bears ‘18 coordinators: Mitch Trubisky affecting more than offense, kudos to hiring process


Takeaways from Bears ‘18 coordinators: Mitch Trubisky affecting more than offense, kudos to hiring process

Head coach Matt Nagy conducted his first press conference on Thursday, introducing the coordinators for his three phases (Mark Helfrich, offense; Vic Fangio, defense; Chris Tabor, special teams). The session was predictably short on hard news, given that the hirings were just completed within the last several days, but some takeaways were there to be had, ranging from impressions to firmer indications of some directions the post-John Fox Bears may be trending:

Mitch Trubisky is going to be one seriously coached young quarterback.

Nagy is a former quarterback. Helfrich is a former quarterback. And the Bears are expected to bring back quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone, per Brad Biggs over at the Tribune; “Rags,” as his charges have dubbed him, is a former quarterback.

Forgive Trubisky is he develops neck problems nodding at all the advice he might be getting from three guys who by their quarterback training pretty much have had to know everything about their offenses. But it is a whole lotta QB mindset swirling around the young man.

The coaching corps is still sorting out exactly who does what, which will involve the hands-on coaching of Trubisky. “We’re finishing out the staff,” Helfrich said, “and once we have that, then we’ll start to kind of slot in those responsibilities.”

This kind of concentration of coaches from a similar background is actually a little unusual, the current vogue notwithstanding. Carson Wentz did bloom in his year two under a Philadelphia Eagles staff topped by former quarterbacks Doug Pederson, Frank Reich and John DeFilippo. And the Los Angeles Rams loosed Jared Goff’s talents with an all-former-quarterback triumvirate in Sean McVay, OC Matt LaFleur and QB coach Greg Olson.

But just for comparison’s sake, back in Kansas City, Nagy mentor Andy Reid was an offensive lineman at BYU. Down in New Orleans, Sean Payton is a former quarterback, but OC Pete Carmichael went through college on a baseball scholarship and QB coach Joe Lombardi was a college tight end, so Drew Brees hasn’t been info-swamped. Bill Belichick was a center and tight end, Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy was a college tight end and Case Keenum has flourished under former offensive lineman Pat Shurmur.

Helfrich has been on the job exactly one week and already has done some advanced evaluation of Trubisky, with an eye toward inevitable comparisons with Marcus Mariota, who starred at Oregon while Helfrich was a member of that staff.

“I see a lot [of similarities],” Helfrich said. “Mitchell has a tight release. He’s an accurate passer. They also have a couple things similar that makes them inaccurate. Their feet take them out of position. I sense from talking to a couple of offensive linemen, and this was unsolicited, when your offensive linemen are talking about how hard your quarterback works, that’s a great sign. So he needs to do that and continue to challenge himself and improve."

Football involves ego but not always to a fault

Keeping Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator may not rank yet with the organization retaining Buddy Ryan in that job when Mike Ditka was hired, but some intangibles make this a very big deal and reflect well on a spectrum of individuals.

GM Ryan Pace interviewed but didn’t elevate Fangio to the head-coaching slot. Yet whatever was said during the interview process didn’t alienate or create awkwardness for Fangio or whomever was hired ultimately. Point for Pace. Players made their feelings abundantly clear that they wanted Fangio back, and Fangio did not let a 20-year age difference between Nagy and himself ruin a good thing. Points to a lot of folks.

“I like our [players],” Fangio said. “I think I said it here during the season at a point that I really like coaching the group that we have. My favorite time during the week was being in front of them like I’m in front of you and going over practice watching the opponents’ tape, installing the plan for the week. I really liked being in front of our guys. They’re a good group collectively and as individuals and that part was appealing to me.”

And while Ditka and Ryan barely spoke, relationships in this administration have a different air.

“I am going to be in Vic’s office a lot,” Helfrich said. “He’s going to be annoyed by me trying to get in his head and know what might help me transition from college to the NFL. I would be an idiot if I didn’t walk 24 feet down and ask a guy like that.”

A “Trubisky factor” may be in the offing

Free agents have taken less money to sign elsewhere, as recently as last season. Alshon Jeffery wanted out of Chicago, not so much for the weather (Philadelphia is less than 2 degrees lower latitude than Chicago and not many degrees warmer on average) as for the Bears never getting quarterback and offensive consistency that could max out his talents.

Trubisky already has started to have a positive impact. “Mitchell is a part of the equation,” Fangio said of his own decision to return as coordinator. “Because I think he has a chance to be a really good player, regardless of who is coaching him. So that part was positive.”

And that’s from a defensive guy.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Fred Hoiberg the coach of the future?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Fred Hoiberg the coach of the future?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly) and Nick Friedell ( join Kap on the panel.  The Bears coordinators meet the media.  So how much will a new coaching staff improve the team?

Fred Hoiberg has the young Bulls playing hard.  So is he the coach of the future?

The Blackhawks are struggling to get their messaging right regarding Corey Crawford’s injury, John McDonough stands by Coach Q and Stan Bowman and Nick gives an impassioned defense of Sammy Sosa after Tom Ricketts says he needs to put everything on the table to be welcomed back to the Cubs.