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Good morning, frents!
Can't say I've ever looked forward to an Aaron Rodgers press conference.
But I'm looking forward to the next Aaron Rodgers press conference.
Sixers 103, Bulls 98
Hurricanes 4, Hawks 3
Kent State 52, NIU 47
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Don't rain on the Justin Fields parade
The brains of Bears fans are broken.
That's the first and really only thing you have to understand when dealing with our peculiar and sizable group. We are both overzealous and under rewarded, going on four generations now without a star QB and two without a Super Bowl title.
It's long been a given that being a Bears fan is not for the faint of heart.
But it may not even be for the sane, any longer.
I think Dan Wiederer understands this, given he's covered the team for the Tribune for several years and has undoubtedly dealt with the worst of us in his comments and mentions. I both admire and pity him for this aspect of his job.
But the strain of this long season must have given Wiederer selective amnesia because he wandered into our proverbial den with two tweets earlier this week.
The Bears scored two touchdowns, lost by double digits at home to a sub-.500 team that hadn’t won in 42 days and some folks are hanging streamers and blowing their kazoos. Forgive me for my confusion …
Followed by ...
There is a sizable segment of the Bears fan base that argues “If we just land our star QB, we’ll be on the fast track to glory” while in the same breath chiding the Packers for being only 1-4 in NFC Championship games with one of the greatest of all time.
The first tweet was a quote-tweet of a thought from 670 The Score's Danny Parkins. He shared my belief that Sunday's loss wasn't a bad one given Justin Fields' performance and said so.
The second is an admission he doesn't understand the only thing we really have is piling on the Packers for producing only two Super Bowl titles through 30 uninterrupted years of quarterback play Bears fans can only dream of.
The opposition's general feeling was a correct one: The Bears have wandered through the quarterback for so long that we have to focus on the glimmers of hope. Particularly since this season should be about nothing more than making sure that Fields grows and succeed.
But there's also a lot of truth in what Wiederer was saying. Heck, one of my favorite jokes is about the size of the band that parades down Michigan Avenue any time the Bears come home with a win of any size.
I'm also willing to admit the reaction to Fields' performance may not have been commensurate to his actual output. Yes, he did some really cool things, but nothing you'd clear out a consistent spot in the Pro Bowl for.
At least not yet.
We also know the rest of the roster is a mess, which is why most of us bray about wanting Ryan Pace out between our fits of optimism when watching Fields.
Let's get back to that idea of fans' brains being broken, though.
'Broken' might be the wrong word. 'Underdeveloped' is probably better.
Unless I have faithful readers in their 90s — show yourself, Virginia! — no one reading this newsletter has ever experienced a great Bears quarterback. Going through a season without worrying about the sport's most important position is something none of us has experienced. Seeing someone take the field with the ability to take over and control a game with two or three touchdown passes is still foreign.
That drought has produced two extremes within the fanbase with very few people residing in the middle.
There's the pessimistic side. These are the fans who believe the Bears will again mess things up and they're so vehement in their opinion that you almost think they want every Bears quarterback to fail. I watched one of these guys at Nisei Lounge melt down after Justin Fields threw an interception against the Packers and wondered why he even bothers any more.
It's worth noting that the Bears and their quarterbacks have made sure this group is undefeated for the past 70 years.
Then there's the other side. The side that has been on the deserted island for so long that we're surviving on optimism and faith that would make Ted Lasso look like Charlie Brown. I definitely trend more toward this side and I'd trade just about anything else in my sports fandom to have Justin Fields turn out to be the real deal.
Neither side can wait, of course. That's not how following sports or the NFL is set up these days. It's a possession-by-possession league, one that's probably totally incompatible with ushering Fields to the pedestal we hope he climbs.
But it's worth remembering that the outsized opinions over progress and setbacks just go with the territory of a franchise that has starved their fans of a quarterback for this long. Everyone's hungry and coping just as best they can while we wait to see if the actual meal is going to arrive.
News and results
Bulls: Slow first-half curbs comeback
DeMar DeRozan's third straight 30+ game (37 points) and Zach LaVine's strong effort (27 points) still weren't enough for the Bulls to come back from a 14-point deficit in Philadelphia. The 103-98 loss was the Bulls' first on the road and drops them to 6-2 this season.
Next: The Sixers come to Chicago for the second half of the back-to-back on Saturday night.
Hawks: Third period sinks spoiler bid
Alex DeBrincat scored twice but Marc Andre-Fleury let in a couple of softies as the Hawks turned a two-goal lead into a 4-3 loss to Carolina at the UC. The Hurricanes are still a perfect 9-0-0 while the Hawks are 1-8-2.
Next: The Hawks are in Winnipeg on Friday night before coming home to play Nashville on Sunday.
NIU: Crazy night of MACTION records
Hope you had the over in this one. Despite 20 points in the fourth, the Huskies took their first conference loss with a 52-47 loss at Kent State. Rocky Lombardi threw for a NIU-record 532 yards and wideout Trayvon Rudolph caught 14 passes for 309 yards, which is both a school and MAC record.
Your trivia question about the last Bears QB to rush for 100 yards triggered memories for me.
I lived and worked in Florence, Italy from 1971 to 1975. In the spring of 1973 the wife of the American Counsel asked me to show Mugsy Halas, George Halas's son, around town for a couple of hours.
We had a good time. Mugsy was affable and curious and we visited some cultural landmarks including Michaelangelo's David.
When I inquired what he thought of it he said "Reminds me of Bobby Douglass."
Charlotte, North Carolina
1. The Scottie Pippen media tour continues its cringeworthy crawl with this trainwreck of an interview. NY Times
2. Scott Powers says Rocky Wirtz needs to answer questions before he can be absolved of guilt. The Athletic
3. Wrigley Field is starting to be transformed for the Northwestern-Purdue game on Nov. 20, including a goal post where the Cubs dugout used to be. Bleacher Nation
Quick note: Midway Minute will be back on Monday morning with the Bears-Steelers preview.