Good morning, frents!
Fox's Jay Glazer reports that the Bears are going to be "big players" on the quarterback market this offseason.
Really? What was his first clue?
Celtics 119, Bulls 103
Hawks at Predators (7, NBCSCH)
The Bears won Super Bowl XX 35 years ago today.
I swear it was just yesterday that we were celebrating the 10th anniversary. Same goes for the 20th and 25th.
But nope. I just did the math and it checks out. It's indeed been three and a half decades since the Bears' only title of the Super Bowl era.
For perspective, a young Chicago cub born on that date in 1986 celebrated their 21st birthday a few days before the Bears' loss in Super Bowl XLI in 2007. They'll celebrate their 20th high school reunions in a few years and then head over the hill a couple of years after that.
Whether or not the Bears will win another title before those Super Bowl babies hit the half-century mark remains up for debate.
Those of us old enough to remember the game — I had just achieved pro sports sentience at seven years old — have celebrated this anniversary so many times that it's worth wondering if it deserves a card or flowers any more.
Now, don't get me wrong.
Watching the full officially-licensed game on YouTube is still a good time, particularly because I no longer need to hunt down the old VCR copy that my uncle made for us with the Super Bowl Shuffle dubbed at the front of the tape.
The only problem is that it's getting harder and harder to ignore all the wrong kind of history that has been made since.
- The Bears have gone 281-278 in the regular season since the start of the 1986 campaign with a winning percentage that places them 17th in the league over that time frame.
- The Bears are 6-12 in the playoffs since that Super Bowl win. Only seven teams — the Dolphins, Raiders, Cardinals, Browns, Texans, Bengals and Lions — have piled up fewer playoff wins since 1986.
- Fifteen different teams have won a Super Bowl since 1986 with nine of them winning two or more. A total of 18 teams have made at least two or more trips.
On the bright side, neither the Vikings nor the Lions have even played in the Super Bowl since the Bears last won.
And the Bears' dry run isn't really even all that bad as far as these things go in Chicago. The Cubs longest drought was 108 years and the White Sox went 88 without a World Series win. The Hawks took a 49-year break from winning Stanley Cups. The Bulls crammed six titles in eight years and have bookended them two fallow periods of more than 20 years.
Thankfully, those four squads have provided us the salve of 11 combined titles in the last three decades.
Still, love for the Bears makes up roughly 82 percent of the average Chicagoan's blood stream with the rest being giardiniera runoff, road salt and craft beer.
It's why we can't let a January 26 pass without both celebrating the best team of all time and remarking that it's been too long since another Bears team even thought about making us share our affections.
It's why there's a whole legion of younger fans looking forward to celebrating a date in early February as consistently as those of a certain age do this one.
So like we've done for the past 10 or 15 years, let's toast the past while hoping for better days ahead.
Because this anniversary could honestly use a new spark.
Name the six Bears who scored in Super Bowl XX.
Celtics manhandle sloppy Bulls
- The entire story of this one: The Bulls made 19 turnovers and the Celtics exchanged the misplays into 34 points. Zach LaVine's 30 points were overshadowed by his six turnovers.
- Though Boston was the team on the second night of a back-to-back, the Bulls were the team that looked sluggish. I said in yesterday's newsletter that turnovers and youth were going to happen, though I didn't think I'd be proven right so quickly.
- One of the lone bright spots: Thad Young scored 16 points with nine boards and nine assists off the bench. Between Young and Garrett Temple, it's been a good year to watch to veterans show up and do what they're paid to do.
- The Bulls are now off until Saturday's visit from Portland, thanks to Wednesday's postponement in Memphis. They can use the rest.
A delay in spring training?
The Cactus League — which I didn't realize was an actual body until Monday — has asked Major League Baseball to delay the start of spring training because of high COVID-19 numbers in Arizona.
That was likely a welcome invitation for the league, which wants to delay the start of the season as much as possible so they don't have to pay the players full freight and until there's a better answer on getting fans in the stands. It was not good news for the players union, which wants to get the full paychecks that would come with a full season.
(The good news for the union comes in the fact that Florida's Grapefruit League is more likely to announce a move to Billings, Montana than make a similar request.)
We're supposedly only a couple of weeks from when the Cubs and Sox should be flying down to Arizona, but we should prepare for more turbulence before getting there.
1. Why doesn't Chicagoland produce more college football players? Matt Brown goes in search of the answer. (Extra Points)
2. Fire president Nelson Rodriguez resigned on Monday. Jeremy Mikula writes that he leaves behind a complicated legacy with fans. (Tribune)
3. Jacob Infante ranked all 145 players at the Senior Bowl. (Windy City Gridiron)
4. Block Club Chicago put together a tremendous project on 27 Chicagoans lost to coronavirus over the past year. King basketball coach Landon "Sonny" Cox and Wrigley Field vendor Bill Griffin are among those profiled. (Block Club Chicago)
5. Blair Kamin's exit interview is like everything he ever wrote for the Tribune. A must-read. (Chicago Magazine)
Trivia answer: Kevin Butler (3 FGs, 5 EPs), Jim McMahon (2 TDs), Matt Suhey, William Perry, Reggie Phillips (INT return) and Henry Waechter (safety) (Full box here)