Random News of the Day: Would you rather...


Random News of the Day: Would you rather...

Tue. Jan 4, 2011
9:52 AM

By Joe Collins

Happy New Year!

I hope that the start of 2011 was a good one for you. It certainly was for the Monsters of the Midway. A lot of critics figured that the Bears will be on the couch watching the playoffs come January 8th. And wouldnt you know itthose critics were absolutely right. The Bears earned a first round bye and the right to channel surf during the start of the NFL postseason. The Bears will practice Wednesday and Thursday before awaiting the New Orleans-Seattle and Philadelphia-Green Bay games over the weekend. If the 3-seed Eagles win, then Michael Vick and company come to Soldier Field. If the Packers win, then the Bears host the winner of the Saints-Seahawks game.

I was going to do a preview of each NFL playoff game, but then quickly realized that a preview of this nature would end up looking like that scene in Mr. Mom when Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) is trying to fight the out of control washing machine. Its a futile exercise and its just going to leave you looking like an idiot if you even try to outsmart the menacing beast. This season, the NFL has been that out of control washing machinestuffed up with too many potential surprises. Take the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks for that matter. Given this crazy season, would you even flinch if they shock New Orleans? Doubt it. I mean, outside of maybe penciling the New England Patriots in for a win or two, what rock-solid locks are there? Good luck on trying to outsmart the machine.

And yes, I just referenced Mr. Mom.

So I figure that, since the prediction game is out, why not try an NFL variation of the game Would You Rather? Apparently this is an actual card game that adults play as a sort of ice breaker at parties (picture a PG version of Truth or Dare, crossed with a Choose Your Own Adventure book and a typical eHarmony first date conversation). Its a game that focuses on what you would do in hypothetical situations. But lets focus Would You Rather on the Bears' first opponent in the playoffs.

If you were the Bears, would you rather

1. play the Saints? The Super Bowl champs? Really? I wouldnt mind it. Yes, the Saints racked up 11 wins. Yes, Drew Brees and his receivers can carve up a secondary like Zorro slashing a Z into somebodys chest. But they have shown they are susceptible to dumb mistakes (-5 turnover ratio). Have they played their best football yet? I don't think so. Yes, they lost to Cleveland and Arizona but they were also hampered by injuries. Maybe the Seahawks will smack a little wake-up call into the Saints? Hey, with this crazy NFL seasonwho knows. Speaking of which

2. play the Seahawks? Ha! Sure, why not! A 7-9 team that ends up playing the Bears after beating New Orleans? Wowthe Saints would really have to mail it in for this to happen. The Seahawks have very few playmakers on their offense, not to mention a shaky offensive line. Their defense is iffy at best. They were the kings of the NFC Westa division that was the butt of constant jokes this season. But hey, theyve already come into Chicago and dealt with the Bears (23-20 on October 17th). By the way, is it just me or does their quarterback Charlie Whitehurst look a little like a younger Bob Seger? Given the insanity of this NFL season, I wouldnt be surprised if Bob Seger comes off the bench and quarterbacks a team to victory. Too bad his hometown Detroit Lions arent in the postseason.

3. or play the Eagles? Again, why not? The Bears already grounded Michael Vick and the Eagles earlier this year (31-26 on November 28th). But can anybody figure this Philly team out? Which group comes to Chicago: the team that staged an epic comeback against the Giants? Maybe the team that beat the Colts? Or Atlanta? Or the team that looked like raw sewage against the Vikings? Keep in mind that the Packers have already beaten the Eagles this yearin Philly. The Eagles have loads of injuries and who knows if that situation will get any better when a physical Packers team shows up this weekend.

Its up to you, Bears fans. What do you think? What team poses the biggest threat? Or the smallest one? What will it take to put a smile on your face? I insist on playing the Would You Rather game. Dont end up making predictions about the playoffs. Heck, dont even listen to any of the blowhards making predictions. Pssshlike they have any clue whats going on, you know? They should know that the NFL is unpredictable.

Like an out-of-control washing machine.

Or something like that.

Did Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' mega-deal actually leave money on table?

Did Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' mega-deal actually leave money on table?

Patrick Mahomes forever altered the sports contract landscape with his landmark 10-year, $450 million extension that became official this week. It made all the sense in the world to lock up the 2018 MVP whose team could very easily be coming off back-to-back Super Bowl titles if not for a nail-biting loss to the eventual-champion Patriots in the 2019 AFC Championship game. But Brad Spielberger, who does extensive salary cap research and writing for, believes Mahomes could have massively cashed in again if he took a different approach to these negotiations

Coming in, we knew this was going to be a groundbreaking deal in some respects... I really didn’t think he was going to give up that many years of control – it’s basically a lifetime contract. Again, I know it’s maybe up to half a billion dollars, so it sounds crazy to maybe question his thinking there, but in 5, 6, 7 years down the road, he probably could have gotten another deal that would have made this one look small in comparison.

Every team in the league would love this deal… every front office in the NFL would say, the fact that they have this much time on this deal is the best part about it. Again, it’s a monstrous deal and there are outs at certain points so it’s not so strict as to say he can’t get out of it or he can’t work with it. If I’m his agent, I would push for 5 years, $200M fully guaranteed; let’s go mega-Kirk Cousins on steroids, let’s change the game, and then let’s see if we can sign a deal for $50M a year when that one runs out.

The scenario painted there is an interesting one, and might have allowed Mahomes to reset the quarterback market twice in a decade… but we’ll never know. For more from Spielberger, including how the Mahomes deal impacts the Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson negotiations and what the Bears’ offseason moves tell him about the mindset of Ryan Pace’s front office, listen to the most recent edition of the Under Center podcast here or below.

Would Bears have won Super Bowl 52 if Cody Parkey's kick went in?

Would Bears have won Super Bowl 52 if Cody Parkey's kick went in?

The latest episode of “Sports Uncovered” dives into an all-time what-if question over in the Bay Area: Would the Oakland Raiders have won Super Bowl XXXVII if Barrett Robbins played?

It’s a gripping and fascinating listen — what I’ve come to expect from the Sports Uncovered podcast series, by the way (the “I’m Back” episode about Michael Jordan’s return from his first retirement is outstanding, if you haven’t caught it already).

But I want to take this in a different direction, thinking about a recent “what if” in Bears history.

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What if Cody Parkey’s kick went in?

This, to me, is way more interesting than asking a different, yet still glaring, question: What if the Bears drafted Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson instead of Mitch Trubisky?

That answer is easy. They would’ve at least made, if not won, Super Bowl LII. Can you imagine *that* 2018 defense paired with one of the best four quarterbacks in the NFL?

Actually, don’t. It’s just going to enrage you.


But the double-doink question isn’t as clear cut. It doesn’t change anything about the Bears’ previous 16 games, or the first 59 minutes and 50 seconds of that January’s Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

All that changes is Parkey actually hitting the stinking kick. The Bears win, 18-16, earning them a trip to Los Angeles to face the Rams a week later.

I ran 25 simulations of a Bears-Rams Divisional Round game on What If Sports’ simulator and it produced 13 Rams wins and 12 Bears wins. That doesn’t factor in two important things: First, the Bears’ defensively dominant win over the Rams a month prior; and second, that the LA Coliseum would’ve been packed with Bears fans.

But I do think that Bears-Rams game would’ve been more of a toss-up than we here in Chicago might think. If Vic Fangio had Sean McVay’s number; so did Wade Phillips with Matt Nagy. Not having Trey Burton already hurt the Bears’ offense against the Eagles, and we saw how much Nagy’s scheme struggled with months to prepare for Burton’s potential absence in 2019.

Still, if this game were truly a toss-up…I’m going to go with the Bears on it. I'll back Fangio's scheme and the sheer talent on the Bears’ defense — which, by the way, might’ve got Eddie Jackson back — to be enough to eke past the Rams. Maybe by a score of 17-13 or something like that.

Had the Bears played the Rams, the New Orleans Saints would’ve hosted the Dallas Cowboys instead of the Eagles — and they’d still have won, probably more comfortably than they did otherwise (thanks, Alshon Jeffery).

This is where the Bears’ season probably would’ve ended.

Using What If Sports again, the Saints won 15 of 25 simulated matchups against the Bears at the Superdome — more notably, though, the Saints won those 15 games by an average of 17 points. The Bears won their 10 games by just 4 1/2 points.

The chances the Bears would’ve gone into the Superdome and won might’ve come down to good luck — just as was the case with the Rams, who made the Super Bowl on the back of arguably the worst officiating decision in NFL history. So it's not impossible.

But let’s say the Bears get another close win — 20-17, say — and move on to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Bears did face the Patriots earlier in the 2018 season and scored 31 points, falling one yard short on a Kevin White Hail Mary from sending that game into overtime.

There would be two massive differences from that mid-October meeting and Super Bowl LII, though. First: The Bears would, presumably, have a healthy Khalil Mack — not the version of Mack who frequently dropped into coverage on a bum ankle against New England in the regular season. Second: The Patriots would, certainly, have a better plan of defending Mitch Trubisky, who completed only 52 percent of his passes but threw for 333 yards and rushed for another 81 in that Week 7 game.

Interestingly, the Bears won 14 of 25 simulated matchups against the Patriots using the same What If Sports simulator. I would figure, though, Bill Belichick would do a better the second time around against a branch of the Andy Reid offense in the Super Bowl — the Bears didn’t have Nick Foles yet, after all.

But it’s hardly impossible to imagine the Bears beating the Rams and then sneaking past the Saints and Patriots to win their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

Unlikely? Yeah, probably.

But impossible?

Absolutely not. All that had to happen for us to find out was Parkey’s kick going through the uprights. Not off them.