Chicago Football Madness Rd. of 32: Fridge vs. Payton highlights 1985 region

Chicago Football Madness Rd. of 32: Fridge vs. Payton highlights 1985 region

Excitement for the Bears are at an all-time high, so while March Madness and the NCAA Tournament begin, we still have Bears on the mind. So we've created Chicago Bears Football Madness, pitting players from the three best Bears teams and legends head-to-head. This is the 1985 region.

1.  Walter Payton
9.  William Perry

Payton: The greatest Bear of all, does all things well. Can be stopped, just not until a later round, but even then not by less than a max best effort. Makes everyone else better, unless you’re trying to tackle him. Beware of getting an early lead and thinking the game is over; it isn’t. Threat to run, catch, throw or dance. Even his first round opponent is carrying the torch for sweetness.

Perry: One of the ‘faces’ of the 1985 Bears is arguably an underachiever, with the ability to dominate when he put his mind to it. Capable of taking down a No. 1 seed or falling in an upset. Conditioning always suspect so likely struggles against opponent with speed. Will go for pancake block on his way to the hoop.

-John "Moon" Mullin

2.  Mike Ditka
7.  Buddy Ryan

Mike Ditka: Not sure how anyone can pick against Da Coach. He brought the Bears their lone Super Bowl. He oversaw arguably the NFL's greatest team. He played half of his Hall of Fame career with the NFL's charter franchise. The depiction of Chicago football. He's the #2 seed with the greatest case to be a #1. 

- Matt Rooney

Buddy: The master motivator, able to win with mental dominance and breaking concentration with insults and impish smack-talk. Fond of bringing one more attacker than opponent has defenders; may have scheme to bring six or seven coming out of timeouts and attack while opponent still in timeout-huddle.

-John "Moon" Mullin

3. Mike Singletary                                                 
6. Dan Hampton                                        

Singletary: Cerebral leader with complete mastery of own systems and study of opponent’s. Able to take advantage of own lack of height to gain leverage on bigger foes. Able to double as coach in case of ejection, simply does not make enough mental mistakes to allow opponent to gain edges. Eyes see all, impossible to defeat with subterfuge.

Hampton: Wasn’t happy with his seeding and plays with a chip on the shoulder anyway. Has size to dominate and can win from multiple positions – end, tackle, on the nose in ‘46’ package. Will be difficult matchup physically because of length. Musical ability on bass guitar a secret strength and plays with a lot of mean. “Danimal” more than a nickname; it’s a state of mind.

- John "Moon" Mullin

4. Richard Dent                                            
5. Jim McMahon

Dent: Hall of Fame Sackman will bring pressure “D” start to finish, and double-teaming may not be enough. Produces best games in biggest moments, may struggle against lesser opponents if he’s not feeling motivated, but knows how to pace himself and get stronger against better ones. Can be aggravated by calling him “Robert.”

McMahon: A winner with the ability to play above his ability and get others to do the same. The question is always injuries, though, and now whether he can stay healthy through a tournament run. Best guess is that stringing together W’s will be tough physically and not the most mobile against speed. May moon officials if unhappy with calls.

- John "Moon" Mullin

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Pro Football Focus: Khalil Mack is NFL’s most valuable edge rusher

Pro Football Focus: Khalil Mack is NFL’s most valuable edge rusher

It didn’t take the Bears long to see how valuable Khalil Mack is to their defense, elevating the group from the moment he first stepped on the field.

He’s been among the league’s best outside linebackers since he first broke out in 2015, and the analytics back up the eye test.

He was the highest edge defender on Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 50 players in the NFL, and their “wins above replacement” metric shows why.

It’s Mack and Von Miller, then everyone else.

“Foremost, Mack is a slightly more complete player than Miller when it comes to defending the run,” PFF’s Ben Linsey wrote. “Yes, run defense is significantly less important than an edge rusher’s ability to disrupt the quarterback, but with so little difference between the players, everything gets put under the magnifying glass.”

Over the past four seasons, both players have exactly 49 sacks, although Mack missed two games over that span. The Bears outside linebacker has the edge in interceptions, forced fumbles and tackles for loss, most coming with a lower quality defense around him than what Miller has had in Denver.

It’s no surprise Ryan Pace was willing to trade multiple first-round picks to make Mack the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. He’s the best in the league.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Projected lineups for Eddie Jackson’s charity softball game

USA Today

Projected lineups for Eddie Jackson’s charity softball game

Eddie Jackson is hosting a charity softball game this Saturday, June 15th at Schamburg Boomers stadium at 5:05pm. It’ll be offense vs defense so let’s take an early look at what these lineups might look like for both teams.


1. Eddie Jackson

Has home run hitting ability in the leadoff spot and a flair for the dramatic. This rising star puts the pressure on the opposing pitcher from the very first pitch. Plus it’s his game, so of course he’s batting first.

2. Kyle Fuller

Tied for the NFL interception lead in 2018, Fuller’s combination of speed, instincts and film study  at the top of the lineup helps set the table for the big bats.

3. Akiem Hicks

As Ed O’Bradovich said at the 100 year celebration this past weekend, Khalil Mack “is a man-eater, but (Akiem Hicks) is the man who makes it happen.” It’s long been said you put your most important hitter in the 3-hole.

4. Khalil Mack

The quintessential cleanup hitter. Who else would you want in this spot?

5. Danny Trevathan

Provides world champion protection behind Mack in the likely event that the opponent tries to pitch around #52.

6. Roquan Smith

Just when an opponent think they’ve gotten thru the heart of the lineup, the 2018 rookie who came up just shy of Brian Urlacher’s franchise tackling mark is there to “break a man,” as he said right after his Bears intro press conference.

7. Ha-Ha Clinton Dix

Sliding this new addition into the 7-hole takes some of the pressure off of him to make an immediate impact, while also trapping pitchers into thinking they might get a break against a guy who has shown big play ability in the past.

8. Bilal Nichols

One of the most underrated players in the entire league is perfectly fine lurking at the bottom of the order. A second cleanup hitter, he’s happy consistently performing and making his teammates better. Everyone in this lineup knows how valuable he is.

9. Leonard Floyd

Still in a bit of a prove it spot, but if he consistently plays the way he’s shown shown flashes of, he could not only be dangerous in this spot, but he could climb up the lineup pretty quickly.

10. Prince Amukamara

Veteran who knows he’s there to do a job and turn the lineup over. His speed and ball skills make him a threat.

11. Buster Skrine

Another newcomer, let’s see what he’s got at the bottom of the order.


1. Taylor Gabriel   *Anthony Miller

We can all agree there’s no reason for Miller, a guy who dislocated his shoulder multiple times to be swinging a bat amiright?? Miller has the Willie Mayes Hayes swag you want from the leadoff man when healthy tho.

As for ‘Turbo’ Taylor Gabriel, of course you’re putting a guy who’s been clocked at 23 mph at the top of the lineup.

2. Tarik Cohen

Perfect spot for the swiss army knife of the offense. Could lay down a bunt and beat it out, move the runner, or even hit one to the gap and clear the bases.

3. Mitch Trubisky

The obvious spot for the leader of the offense and Akiem Hicks’ pick (outside himself) to win the home run derby part of this event. Let’s just hope he breaks out the punky QB headband and sunglasses look again this weekend.

4. Kyle Long

The most veteran member of the offensive line is there to protect the QB. Whether or not he’s even in the lineup, if anyone goes high and tight on # 10, better believe they’ll answer to #75.

5. Cody Whitehair

Some more muscle in the middle of the order. Has made it clear he’s good with moving around the lineup if the coaches think it’s best for the team.

6. Allen Robinson

Based on what we saw in the playoff game, he could be on his way to putting up big numbers anywhere in the batting order. Definitely a guy you want up late with the game on the line.

7. Charles Leno

Flies under the radar at one of the most important positions in football. If a pitcher thinks he’s in the clear after getting past Robinson, Leno will be there to throw a big block into that thinking.

8. Trey Burton / Adam Shaheen

When healthy, they provide some pop towards the bottom of the lineup. Let’s have Anthony Miller ready as the designated runner if these guys can get on base.

9. Bobby Massie

The ultimate team guy as he showed by signing a team friendly deal to stay in Chicago much earlier in the offseason than he had to.

10. James Daniels

As the new man in the middle on the offensive line, the burden falls on him to turn the lineup over and set the table for the speedy top of the order.

11. Mike Davis

Good spot to start for this new addition. Could easily see him towards the top of the lineup if he produces the way Matt Nagy & company thinks he can.

The defense has been ahead of the offense for pretty much the entire Pace/Nagy regime. But if Matt Nagy is involved, there’s sure to be no shortage of hidden ball tricks, squeezes and other trick plays with awesome names, so I might have to give a slight edge to the offense in this game.