Bears

Is Panthers hype video the modern day version of Bears' Super Bowl Shuffle?

bears-panthers-super-bowl-shuffle-slide.png

Is Panthers hype video the modern day version of Bears' Super Bowl Shuffle?

On the 30th anniversary of the Bears' Super Bowl XX win, it's a great time to revisit the greatest hype video ever made: The "Super Bowl Shuffle."

The Grammy-nominated song and dance number was actually filmed before the 1985 Bears even entered the playoffs, displaying their swag and confidence.

[RELATED - The ’85 Bears: To get it all, look way beyond just the football]

The Carolina Panthers may be following suit.

Two days before annihilating the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game, the Panthers released their own hype video singing along to "Big Rings" by Drake and Future:

 

 

It's only 15 seconds long, so impossible to truly compare it to the five-minute-long "Super Bowl Shuffle."

But there are a lot of similarities: Both team's running backs were the "stars" of the videos (Walter Payton for the Bears, Jonathan Stewart for the Panthers), both defenses are dominating, both quarterbacks (Cam Newton, Jim McMahon) are entertaining, but rub people the wrong way.

[SHOP BEARS: Get your Bears gear right here]

Of course, the Panthers have one more step to take care of if they want to be in the same league as the '85 Bears: Win the Super Bowl.

Pro Football Focus: Bears could be surprise playoff team in 2018

Pro Football Focus: Bears could be surprise playoff team in 2018

There's a lot of optimism about the Chicago Bears in 2018 largely because of the incredible offseason had by GM Ryan Pace. It started in free agency with several big-name additions on offense and continued in the NFL Draft with the selection of Roquan Smith, arguably the top all-around defender in the class.

Pace now finds himself in unfamiliar territory. He's entering a season with actual expectations. While those expectations vary, one thing is consistent: Improvement is expected.

According to Pro Football Focus, Chicago should end up challenging for a playoff spot.

No less than five additions on offense this offseason could make key impacts for the Bears, including wide receiver Allen Robinson who was one of the NFL’s best in 2015 before a down year in 2016 and essentially missing all of 2017 through injury. He’s joined at the position by Taylor Gabriel, who had three touchdowns on throws 20 yards or further downfield in 2016 and rookie Anthony Miller, who was tied for fourth among wide receivers in this draft class with 19 missed tackles forced on receptions. Add in tight end Trey Burton, who had three touchdowns from just 16 targets when lined up in the slot and rookie offensive lineman James Daniels from Iowa and it’s easy to see why this offense led by Mitchell Trubisky has the potential to trend upwards big time in 2018.

The Bears were one of five teams PFF listed as a surprise Wild Card candidate. The road to the post-season will be challenging, however. Not only do all of the new pieces have to gel, but they have to do it while playing in one of the toughest divisions in football.

The NFC North could have three teams -- not including the Bears --  playing in January. The Vikings may be the most talented club in the NFC and the Packers will always be a contender with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. The Lions have some vulnerability, but they've had more success than Chicago in recent seasons.

Still, Pace deserves credit for winning the offseason.

How the new kickoff rule may impact the Bears

How the new kickoff rule may impact the Bears

NFL owners voted for sweeping changes to the kickoff play Tuesday, a decision that presents a new challenge for Bears special teams coach Chris Tabor.

Player safety was the focus of the rule change. Collisions will be reduced and the play will look more like a punt than the traditional kickoff fans have become used to. Here's a breakdown of what's coming in 2018:

With less contact and physicality in the play, Tabor's game planning will be tested. Kickoffs won't require as many power players like the ones traditionally seen in the wedge block. Skill players like receivers, running backs and tight ends could be viewed as more valuable special teams pieces, as was suggested by NFL Network's Bucky Brooks.

Tarik Cohen could become even more lethal under the new rules. If kick returners end up with more space to navigate, Cohen will improve on the 583 return yards he managed as a rookie. He'll conjure memories of the recently retired Devin Hester.

The ability to contribute on special teams is critically important for players on the roster bubble. It'll be interesting to see if the Bears apply the approach suggested by Brooks. If they do, undrafted players like Matt Fleming and John Franklin III suddenly have more value and a better chance to make the team. 

For a complete breakdown of the new kickoff rule, click here.