Bears

No matter the outcome vs. NE, Bears are A-list team

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No matter the outcome vs. NE, Bears are A-list team

Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010
12:50 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears do not need to show well against the New England Patriots to establish that they are a legitimate A-list team in 2010. They already are, and the result Sunday will not change that.

If the Bears defeat or hang with the Patriots, thats a statement that skeptics and anxious fans can respect. But New England has beaten Pittsburgh, Baltimore and split with the New York Jets and my guess is that no one is dismissing those teams as contenders, especially the Steelers, who were double-digit losers.

The Bears have beaten the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears have won five straight, tied with New Orleans behind only Atlanta (six) for the longest active win streak this season. That alone is a statement of legitimate no matter what happens Sunday.
Snow birding

The damage from snow to the Metrodome this weekend has forced the NFL to shift the Minnesota-New York Giants game from noon Sunday in Minneapolis to Monday night in Detroits Ford Field. It is unclear whether the Bears visit to the Dome is in jeopardy but the University of Minnesotas TCF Bank Stadium could be readied in a matter of days for an NFL game. And the extent of damage and repairability of the dome is still being assessed.

The Big Fella

The sometimes-struggles of the New England defense have not dimmed the luster of one of its anchors: nose tackle Vince Wilfork, a former No. 1 draft choice and the linchpin of the Bill Belichick 3-4 schemes.

Wilfork is listed at 350 pounds, but that typically gets an eye-roll for being on the low side. But Wilfork is enough of an athlete that Belichick has shifted him out to an end position, although since the defeat in Cleveland, he has been anchored at nose, which puts him opposite Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz.

Kreutz has faced the likes of Pat Williams from Minnesota and was a teammate of Ted Washington. He sees Wilfork in precisely the same class.

Hes like Pat, smart, hard to move, and they are better athletes than people give them credit for, Kreutz said. All the elite nose guards are the same: Theyre big guys who can run, can use their hands and they know their scheme and whats going on around them.

And finally

Each weeks game seems like it is the new most difficult to assess but this one really is. No, I mean it. The issue isnt weather; New England is used to this. It is that there are so many aspects to the Patriots that isolating one on which to base a decision.

What I keep coming back to is Belichicks lackluster performances in games after short weeks. Also, Greg Olsen and others have always, and correctly, stated that it is more difficult to come back from a good win than a bad loss. What the Patriots did to the New York Jets last Monday night is akin to the Bears upending the Packers in Game Three on a Monday, then being pounded by the Giants the following Sunday on the road.

New England is coming off a hugely emotional win over its chief division rival and off a short week. In a game of small factors, that is a big one. Tom Brady, Jay Cutler, Bears defense, Patriots offense, Mike Martz, Bill Belichick those are all major elements in what will play out Sunday afternoon. In the end, the Bears are three-point underdogs, equating to roughly a handicapping equivalent of a touchdown, given the home-field advantage being worth about a field goal. They will win by three, not lose by three.

Bears 17 Patriots 16

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

It sounds like Jay Cutler is bored in retirement

It sounds like Jay Cutler is bored in retirement

After a week off the air, “Very Cavallari” was back with a new episode, which meant more Jay Cutler in retirement.

This week we were treated to Cutler being as sarcastic as ever and sulking about having nothing to do. Cutler’s first scene involved him and his wife, Kristin Cavallari, talking about their relationship and spending time with each other. Cavallari is going to do another pop-up shop for her fashion store, which means more travel. Jay, your thoughts?

“Oh, great,” Cutler said with his trademark sarcasm.

Later in the conversation we get a bleak look into Jay Cutler post-football.

“I just hang out and clean up,” Cutler said.

Sounds like he may want to hit up the announcing gig he had lined up before coming out of retirement and heading to the Dolphins for the 2017 season.

Next, we got Cutler shopping for birthday presents for their 3-year-old daughter. If nothing else, this was amusing to see Cutler shopping for gifts for little girls.

Watch the video above to see all of the best of Cutty, which also features him designing jewelry for some reason.

Recalling Chet Coppock – snapshots of a character, who also had character

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NBC Sports Chicago

Recalling Chet Coppock – snapshots of a character, who also had character

The news that came out Thursday, that Chet Coppock had died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident earlier this month in Florida, was sad on so many levels. That you didn’t have a chance to say “good-bye,” that you didn’t have a chance to say “thank you,” that you won’t have more of “those” kinds of Chet moments.

But one of my favorite movie moments is at the end of “The Last Samurai” when Tom Cruise, the wounded ex-U.S. soldier who’d fought with the Samurai, is asked by the young Japanese emperor about the death of Ken Watanabe’s Samurai character Katsumoto, “Tell me how he died.” To which Cruise says, “I will tell you, how he lived.”

Somehow that’s the feeling thinking about Chet – little fun snapshots of how he lived.

Snapshots like listening to Coppock on Sports, and appreciating that Chet deserves a spot in the pantheon of those who created a genre.

Like how we in the media laughed imitating Chet’s questions, which routinely went on long enough for you to run out for a sandwich and be back before he was finished. But the chuckle was how Chet wouldn’t directly ask a guest, “So why did you make THAT idiotic play?” No, Chester had this tack of, “So, what would you say to those who would say, ‘You’re an idiot?’” Of course, it would take a minimum of two minutes for him to wend his way through the question, but the results were always worth waiting for.

Like “Your dime, your dance floor.” 

Like grabbing lunches with Chet while I was working on the ’85 Bears book, but in particular while I was writing “100 Greatest Chicago Sports Arguments.” The specific in the latter told me a lot about Chet, far beyond just the information he was sharing.

The “argument” was over who was the greatest Chicago play-by-play broadcaster. Now, Chet of course suggested tongue-in-cheek that he belonged in the discussion; after all, as he pointed out, a high school kid at New Trier games, sitting by himself in the stands, doing play-by-play into a “microphone” that was one of those cardboard rollers from bathroom tissue, oughta be worth something.

Chet’s nomination for the actual No. 1 was Jack Brickhouse, the WGN legend who Chet noted had done play-by for every conceivable sport.

But the reason for Chet’s vote for Brickhouse wasn’t about any of that. It was, Chet said, because Brickhouse beginning back in the mid-‘50s, when the Cubs were integrating with Gene Baker and Ernie Banks, had very intentionally made it clear with his broadcasting and behavior that Baker and Banks were “Cubs,” not “black Cubs.” Brickhouse’s principles had left an impression on a then-young Chet.

I hadn’t known any of that. But Chet did, and that he had taken a lasting impression from what he’d heard growing up said something about Chet as well as Jack. That impressed me, and frankly has always been my favorite Chet story.

So losing an institution like Chet is sad; Chet did say that, no, he wasn’t an institution, but rather that he belonged IN one. But at least he came our way.