Bears

Chicago Football Madness: Walter Payton earns No. 1 seed in 1985 region

Chicago Football Madness: Walter Payton earns No. 1 seed in 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
16  Kevin Butler

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.

Butler: He’s good but he’s no Cody Parkey. Still, can be dangerous anytime he gets within range. Too much of a one-trick pony, though, to win a matchup if the opponent has multi-weapons. Can be dangerous if he gets within range, best kept outside the arc and forced into a long-distance shoot-out.

By John "Moon" Mullin

8    Steve McMichael                                        
9    William Perry  
                   

McMichael: The sometimes-overlooked fourth member of one of history’s great Front Four’s is a load in the trenches as well as the wrestling ring, making him the eighth-seed nobody really wants to face. Didn’t miss a game over his final 13 years so capable of wearing rival down and winning late. Go-to guy if Wrestlemania breaks out at midcourt.

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.

By John "Moon" Mullin

5     Jim McMahon                                         
12   Gary Fencik

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.

Fencik: Savvy 12-seed will not go out easy. A safety with total command of the overall will play physical to get opponent off his game but disguise traps to exploit weaknesses and tendencies. Bears all-time INT leader will convert steals and turnovers into points that can produce upsets. Gets sartorial edge with turtlenecks.

By John "Moon" Mullin

4     Richard Dent                                            
13   Leslie Frazier

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.”

Frazier: The quiet assassin is a sleeper who can win on defense outright but among best strategists in the field. Threat as a point guard able to command overall offense and scheme swarming defense built around attacking in front court and cherry-picking in back.

By John "Moon" Mullin

6     Dan Hampton                                        
11   Jay Hilgenberg

Hampto: 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.

Hilgenberg: Among grittiest in the field, undrafted center who made a mission out of upsetting No. 1’s and should be in the HOF. Undersized who plays above his size, may be toughest matchup for higher seeds. Overlook at your own peril: Reggie White rated Hilgy one of five greatest O-linemen the Minister of Defense ever faced. Matchup nightmare, able to win running golf course or doing pregame shows.

By John "Moon" Mullin

3    Mike Singletary                                                 
14  Otis Wilson

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.

Wilson: Among most physical in the field, can win on raw talent alone if he gets hot and builds runaway momentum. No. 2 “Super Bowl Shuffle” dancer after Willie Gault, able to break down and win on moves or pure attacking style. Capable of playing any style opponent’s game and winning with speed or power. Answers to “Mama’s Boy Otis” from Shuffle days, but don’t push it

By John "Moon" Mullin

7     Buddy Ryan                                         
10   Wilber Marshall

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.

Marshall: Deadly mix of brains and attack-dog mindset, considered by multiple peers to be best single talent on great 1985 defense. Most dangerous when loose ball bouncing around, particularly in snow; effective at scoop-and-score technique as well as generating own takeaways. Can struggle defending pure speed in Monday night games.

By John "Moon" Mullin

2    Mike Ditka
15  A Hurricane

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. 

A Hurricane - Much like most #15 seeds the Hurricane doesn't stand much of a chance. It needs the perfect storm to overtake it's opponent. Fans of this #15 seed better hope the name of the Hurricane is Hurricane Ditka

By Matt Rooney

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Mitch Trubisky still 'the guy?'

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Mitch Trubisky still 'the guy?'

KC Johnson, Jamal Collier and Jay Cohen join Laurence on the panel.
0:00 - Ryan Pace says he believes in Mitch. Matt Nagy says Mitch needs to be able to read defenses better than his head coach.  So is Mitch still the guy for the Bears? 
9:00 - Jim Boylen doesn't think the Bulls will hold his poor win-loss record against him.  Is that fair given all of the injuries the teams has?
13:00 - NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh joins Laurence. He discusses how the rest of the league feels about Boylen's late-game timeouts, the Kobe Bryant memorial service and if Zion can lead the Pelicans to the playoffs.
17:00 - Ozzie Guillen joins to the panel on White Sox night at the Bulls game. Plus he gives his thoughts on the upcoming season for the Southsiders.

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

 

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Bears and Ryan Pace praise "underrated" (and highly paid) Leonard Floyd

Bears and Ryan Pace praise "underrated" (and highly paid) Leonard Floyd

I would make an argument that Leonard Floyd is the most divisive player on the Bears right now. Trubisky seems like the runaway candidate until you realize everyone already feels the same way about him. 

Floyd, on the other hand, gets a lot of love from the All-The-Tools gang while garnering equal amounts of hate from people who swear by Pro Football Focus. He's an incredibly athletic, situationally-useful edge rusher who just can't really get to the passer. Is there value in that? Of course! How much? I don't know, but it's probably not $13 million. That's how much Floyd, who had a career-low 3 sacks last season, is going to make in 2020, and it's surely a number the Bears are taking a long look at this winter. $13 million is a lot of money for an edge rusher who shows up in the box score; it's certainly a lot of money for an edge rusher who doesn't.

RELATED: Will Ryan Pace's actions speak louder than his words

You would think this predicament might open the Bears up to some sort of contract restructuring, or even a trade. Every moment of media availability at the combine is just a chance for general managers to set smokescreens, but it sure doesn't sound like the Bears are trying to move on. 

"I think Leonard wants to be more productive as a pass rusher," Pace said on Tuesday morning. We want him to be more productive there too. He's close in a lot of areas when you look at the pressures and those things. He just needs to finish a little better on the quarterback. But I think when you're evaluating him, you have to factor in everything. His run defense. His ability in coverage."

"We consider him our "Sam" outside linebacker, so we value what he can do in coverage and think sometimes that goes a little underrated for what he does in that area, for a guy that's of his stature. Not many outside linebackers can drop in coverage like he does. So, that's a factor."

Maybe that's what the Bears WANT us to think! Maybe Pace is playing chess while we're all playing checkers. Or maybe he has a problem knowing when to cut bait with a high draft pick who hasn't panned out. Who knows! 

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