WHAT IF HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
The Chicago Bears are having a remarkable season under first-year coach Matt Nagy. It's the first double-digit winning season for a rookie head coach since the '20s. This organization went from worst (5-11) to first (12-4) winning the NFC North Division. "The Monsters of the Midway" have reinvigorated a city that was in desperate need of a new NFL identity. This Bears team shares some similarities with its brethren of football past.
This year four players were selected to the All-Pro team; Khalil Mack, Kyle Fuller, Eddie Jackson, and Tarik Cohen. These same players, along with Akiem Hicks, also made the Pro Bowl roster. The Bears had seven additional players make the Pro Bowl alternate list, including Mitchell Trubisky, Cody Whitehair, Charles Leno Jr., Trey Burton, Leonard Floyd, Danny Trevathan, and Roquan Smith. A total of 12 players were recognized for their play by writers, coaches, and fans. It turns out a deep playoff run may be in the near future.
They’re kinda a big deal.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 4, 2019
The famed '85 Bears squad led by Mike Ditka went 15-1 while dominating an inferior league. Ditka was only in his fourth season as a head coach. This team was so confident they recorded the infamous "Super Bowl Shuffle" (albeit for charity) before they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. That roster included nine Pro Bowl selections to go along with 11 All- Pro players. Their lone loss came at the hands of a young Dan-Marino-led Dolphins team.
In his third season as head coach, Lovie Smith and the '06 Bears squad finished 13-3 while capturing the NFC North crown. This group enjoyed a run to the Super Bowl before losing 29-17 to a Peyton-Manning-led Colts squad. This roster contained eight Pro Bowl selections and six All-Pro players. Ironically, this team lost to the Patriots, Dolphins, and Packers.
Smith's run did not end there; in 2010 his squad won the NFC North crown again. This roster included four All-Pro selections and four Pro Bowl players. They fell short of a second Super Bowl berth, falling to archrival Green Bay in the Conference Championship game 21-14. The Packers would go on to win their only Lombardi Trophy to date under Aaron Rodgers. Similarly, Chicago lost to the Giants, Patriots, and Packers.
The 2018 Bears roster has obvious resemblances to its past. A head coach early in his career (sans 2010), a successful defensive unit, league notoriety for a number of Pro Bowl selections, and media recognition with multiple All-Pro accolades. Each had successful playoff runs. This year's squad has the potential to follow in their footsteps.
But this is professional sports and we don't live in the past. Like everything else in this lifetime, we are expected to live in the moment. This moment has the Bears entering Sunday's game as a six-point favorite enjoying a four-game winning streak while winning nine of their last 10. But it is fun to dream...
Dreams potentially become reality this Sunday at Soldier Field at 4:40 p.m. EST.
Until then, stay thirsty and BEAR DOWN! JT, out.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) January 5, 2019