If you try and figure what is going to happen tomorrow, it is generally going to similar to what happened today. Things generally don’t trend as fast as we think they might and often they move a little slower.
But for Bear fans, the 2018 season was a bit of a shocker. The Bears ended up at 12-4 at the top of NFC North Division coming from a fairly miserable 5-11 season at the bottom of the NFC North Division in 2017. The 2018 season didn’t start out so great when the Bears lost their first Green Bay game, 24-23, with a come-from-behind miracle performance by Aaron Rodgers on September 9th. But they showed sparks of brilliance in that first game and the Bears-Packers finale was a promising defeat of the Packers on December 16th, 24-17.
It’s hard to sit back and wonder about how the 2019 season is going to play out. While in off-season, we do have the draft and free-agent signings to keep us interested, but much of the time is spent with the press writing about this new player being impressed with his new coach or this coach being impressed with this new player. It gets a little old, but what are you going to do? The Days of Summer are the Days of Summer!
I have found one way to escape all the hype and still get juiced for the new season–watching historical Bears games. That’s right, I have tuned in to some games of old, particularly several of the 1985 Bears games. I was a mere pup of 32 in 1985 and my focus seemed to be so much so on the final score, but I found in watching the games now, it has been interesting, very interesting! The games were not quite the way I remember them.
First, the Bears didn’t start with knocking everyone’s head off with their splendid defense. The first few games were a struggle. Offensively, they were actually better than what I remembered, although there were many plays that must have tried the patience of Mike Ditka–dropped passes, a few fumbles, and a propensity for Jim McMahon to try to do too much. But one thing did surprise me on the positive side was that Mike Ditka took a lot of chances–certainly more than I remembered. Ditka was a gutsy guy. In the early season, the announcers were commenting on how Ditka had calmed down. He was not going to put every game on himself.
Especially interesting however, was the October 13th game against San Francisco. This was the San Francisco 49ers of Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, and a promising young rookie named, Jerry Rice, etc. This was essentially the 49ers team that had beaten the Bears in the NFC Championship the year before. The 49ers were playing very rough football that day and Ditka seemed to be sucking it up. But early in the 4th corner, the 49ers piled on Jim McMahon. It was too much for the “Coach” to take and he became angry, yelled out something and waved his arms around. Piling on was called. There was something significantly important about Mike Ditka looking out for Jim McMahon that day. The Bears would go on to finish the 49ers off, 26-10.
For me, this was the game that suggested that the Bears had reached a new level. The Bears were still improving at the time, but I just felt like they were headed for greatness. It was a year to be a Bears fan.
The 49ers would go on to two decades of 10 or wins per season and 2 Super Bowl wins.