Starting with how I expected the Bears-49ers to play out before the year began:
Week 11. At San Francisco 49ers (13-3) Mon., Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Analysis: San Francisco powered up its passing offense with Randy Moss and Mario Manningham signings and drafting Illinois A.J. Jenkins in the first round. This defense was No. 1 in yardage allowed and No. 2 in points surrendered. But it is difficult to see this Bears team losing three in a row and this is a conference game.
Result: W (7-3)
I had anticipated the Bears losing to Houston, which they did, and to Tennessee, which they did not. Im a little bit hedged here, because if they do lose to San Francisco, theyll be the 7-3 I foresaw. And if they beat the 49ers, well, I was right on the game call.
Erring on the side of accountability again, and owing in part to the 49ers quarterback issues, the preseason view still feels right:
Bears: 16 49ers: 14
Pop the champagne bottles, because the celebrations are about to begin!
Not only did the Bears clinch the NFC North with a big 24-17 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon, but Charles Leno Jr. is now engaged.
Following the win, the Bears left tackle proposed to his girlfriend, Jennifer, at midfield...and she said yes!
“It’s been a long time coming," Leno Jr. said. "I knew it was going to come and what a perfect time to do it.”
Leno said that he was going to propose soon, but once he found out the Bears could clinch the division this week, he "had to speed up the process."
“She was surprised," he said. "She was shaking, crying. Right now, I guarantee you right now she’s balling. She tried to hold it in for me, but she’s crying her ass off right now.”
Asked what would have happened if the Bears lost, his response?
“I was still going to do it," he said. "But I just had a feeling. I knew with the way we prepared this week. I knew the way our team was ready. I just had a feeling.”
How about that for a day?
“It’s easily up there as one of the best days of my life.”
After making a change at general manager earlier in the month from Ron Hextall to Chuck Fletcher, the Philadelphia Flyers have reportedly decided to fire Dave Hakstol and are expected to hire Joel Quenneville as their next head coach that won't be made official until Sunday night or Monday morning, according to Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post.
Quenneville spent more than 10 seasons in Chicago, where he led the Blackhawks to nine straight playoff appearances, five Conference Finals and three Stanley Cups but was relieved of his duties on Nov. 7 in the middle of a five-game losing streak. He is the second winningest coach of all-time with 890, trailing only Scotty Bowman for first (1,248).
The Flyers had high expectations going into the season and it's easy to see why they felt a change was necessary behind the bench. Going into Sunday, the Flyers sat in the basement of the Eastern Conference with 28 points — 10 away from a playoff spot — and have a minus-23 goal differential, which also ranks last in the conference. They were clearly underperforming.
And it was only a matter a time before Quenneville found himself another head coaching job, and the Flyers are a team that's set up to succeed in both the short term — core pieces that include Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek — and long-term with Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick and goaltender Carter Hart in the team's plans.
Quenneville's contract with the Blackhawks ran through the 2019-20 season and was worth $6 million per year. It’s not yet known who will be added to his staff.