Nov 19, 2021

11/19/21: Sorry ESPN, Super Bowl XLI isn't history's worst Bears loss

11/19/21: Sorry ESPN, Super Bowl XLI isn't history's worst Bears loss

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Was Super Bowl XLI the worst loss in Bears history?


I don't think it was.

But ESPN asked each of its NFL Nation reporters to name the most heart-breaking loss for each franchise and I was surprised to see Jeff Dickerson list the Bears' loss to the Colts as our biggest gut punch.

I guess by definition it should be. That's the only Super Bowl loss in Bears history and the euphoria that Devin Hester's opening kickoff return gives us still comes with an asterisk that will never wash out.

But it still doesn't stick with me the way losing Jay Cutler for the second half of the 2010 NFC title game to open the door for what is still Aaron Rodgers' only Super Bowl trip and win.

It also wasn't the first sign that the '85 Bears were going to be a one-hit wonder like the first loss to Joe Gibbs and Washington was after that 14-2 mark in 1986.

I ranked the 12 playoff losses since Super Bowl XX back in January and my top five looked like this:

5. The Double Doink Game (Philadelphia — 2018)
4. Walter Payton's final game (Washington — 1987)
3. Super Bowl XLI (Indianapolis — 2006)
2. Losing to Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay — 2010)
1. Title defense comes to an early end (Washington — 1986)

You can click on the link to see my full explanations because I've thrown enough words at you this week.

I do realize that the generation after me might not be as torn up about the 1980s defeats and didn't experience true heartbreak until that rainy night in Miami.

I'm also willing to admit that the top three might be interchangeable. Throw in the other two listed in my top five and, man, it's been quite a lifetime as a Bears fan.

Maybe one day we'll actually get to argue over the greatest playoff win.

What do you think is the most heartbreaking Bears loss?

Scores and schedule

DePaul 73, Rutgers 70
Northwestern 82, Fairleigh-Dickinson 46

Today
Bulls at Nuggets (8, NBCSCH)

Saturday
Red Stars vs. Spirit (11, CBS - NWSL championship)
UIC at Loyola (3, NBCSCH)
Western Illinois at DePaul (7, FS2)
Hawks at Oilers (9, NBCSCH)

Sunday
Ravens at Bears (Noon, CBS)
Knicks at Bulls (7, NBCSCH)
Hawks at Canucks (7, NBCSCH+)

College football schedule below

News and results


Bears: Lamar Jackson misses second practice

The Ravens star QB remains out with a non-COVID illness. I've been looking forward to the Justin vs. Lamar matchup since the schedule was released so hopefully he gets well soon.

  • Bears sign Bruce Irvin: The former Seattle pass rusher hasn't played since tearing his ACL last season. The team is obviously looking for some depth with Khalil Mack still ailing.

Red Stars: Title on the line in Louisville

Can our women's soccer team make it 2-for-2 with women's sports titles this year? They'll have to beat a Washington Spirit team that has bonded and excelled since shining a light on the abuse endured at the hands of their former coach. They might also have to do it without NWSL MVP candidate Mallory Pugh, who could miss her second straight match because of COVID protocol. Kealia Watt also hurt her knee in the semifinal and probably won't play. Sam Fels has more on the title game at the end of an emotional season for the NWSL.

Sky: WNBA gets rid of single-elimination playoff

The controversial two rounds of win-or-go-home games are gone. In their place is a best-of-three opening round followed by two best-of-five series for the semifinals and finals. Good move.

College football preview


Illinois (+12) at #18 Iowa (1, FS1): Bret Bielema will miss the game because of COVID protocol, but that won't stop anyone from mentioning his Hawkeyes tattoo. Let's see what defensive coordinator Ryan Walters can do against Iowa's anemic offense in the first game since his big contract extension.

Purdue (-11) vs. Northwestern (11, BTN): Playing at Wrigley has turned into a de facto bowl game for the 3-7 Wildcats. I'm still bitter last year's game against Wisconsin was canceled due to the pandemic. Having a beer at Murphy's before kickoff sounds like a dream.

Georgia Tech (+17) at #6 Notre Dame (1:30, NBC): Hey, here's the actual Rudy play from the 1975 meeting between these two teams.

1. Charles Barkley told Waddle and Silvy that he'd be surprised if MJ ever talked to Scottie again. He also opened up on the topic when he was on Dan Patrick. The Spun

2. It sounds like some teams are already regretting passing on Justin Fields. That you, Jets? Bleacher Nation

3. Joe Cowley and Zach LaVine have a back and forth about deserving a supermax contract. Sun-Times

4. Jeff Agrest with a good feature of Leila Rahimi's whirlwind year. Sun-Times

5. Dennis Rodman clocks in at No. 62 on The Athletic's countdown of the 75 greatest players in NBA history. The Athletic

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