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Wednesday 21st Feb 2018

It has been a pretty fun week in the Midwest, despite the Giants trouncing the Cubs, and the Athletics synching a win over the White Sox with a Twins victory, knocking the Pale Hose out of contention.

That is because last Sunday, the hometown Bears, a source of frustration and pain for the last cluster of years, upset the six-point favored Dallas Cowboys,  in Dallas, causing nearly as much excitement as last February when the hometown Blackhawks took their first Stanley Cup since 1961, breaking a 49-year drought.

True, the White Sox have a title, and the Bears had championship moments when they did the Super Bowl Shuffle in the 80's. As for the Cubs, that is a subject that locally appears to be best left alone.  And, the Bulls? Well, say no more than Michael Jordan.

But, for better or worse, Chicagoans love their teams. If you talk to the folks around here, you know that in the baseball world, it is fierce. If you are a North Sider, you follow the Cubs, and if you are a South Sider, you go with the Sox, and never the twain shall meet, and each side somewhat despises, and clearly looks condescendingly at the other.

Which is funny, because for sure, they all love their Bears.

When I have been in this lovely town in the past during football season, whatever happens on Sunday is the talk of every talk and sports show anywhere on the radio till say around Thursday, when all hope, analysis, criticism, speculation, magic, voodoo, blues, beer, and anything else they can conjure in hopes of a more successful Sunday come.

To tell the truth, the Bears barely beat the inferior Lions the previous week, squeaking by because Calvin Johnson's brilliant catch at the gun was not really a catch.

So, in a home opener, against the Cowboys and their significant pass rush, in Dallas, well, the question seemed more a question of how badly the locals would be clobbered.

Now, if you have watched the Bears over the past few season, you know they have a pretty good defense, and a decent kicker in Robbie Gould. Matt Forte is also just fine, and they have two solid wide outs in Johnny Knox and Devin Hester. Even QB Jay Cutler is pretty good, but, the problem is the Bears offensive line, which is indeed offensive.

Few quarterbacks were pounded last season like poor Cutler.

For three series, against Demarcus Ware and friends beat the crap out of Cutler.

And then something magic indeed happened. Offensive Coach Mike Martz did something spectacular. He adjusted.

Out of nowhere, Cutler did two-step drops, and suddenly he started completing passes, and suddenly there was a football game. Not only that, but suddenly there was a real game, and miracle of miracles, the Bears prevailed, winning 27-20.

Oh, I did hear some rumblings from the locals who mistakenly bet on the Cowboys, thinking their locals would not cover the spread, but mostly the tone of their voice sounded of bitterness not just for money lost, but that even in victory, the Bears had betrayed them just as badly as had they lost without a bet.

But, for the most part, the City of Chicago has gone nuts. And, justifiably so, I suppose, and now the whole town has its eyes on Monday Night and the Packers, and truth is, the Pack are not a question mark like Dallas.

Still, an old and storied rivalry should not be taken for granted, and when Diane and I were downtown yesterday, Soldier Field was shining and the locals were displaying their colors.

Now, I am meeting my posse to watch all day tomorrow, and eat and drink, and schmooze, but I was not paying attention when I booked my flight home, so while the Monday Night game is on, I will be on a plane without a live stream, so for the most part, I will miss it.

Too bad, since I decided last summer I might as well embrace the Monsters of the Midway because, well, why not? I don't have a favorite team, and, well, they are not much of a threat, and well, I am softening in my old age. So, why not?

I will be thinking positively the whole time, but, maybe not watching would not be such a bad thing. For, when I do watch a team I want to win, or a player on one of my roto teams, well, I feel like a jinx.

The Bears might indeed beat the Packers. Probably not, but, into the second week, the Bears are 2-0, and the Cowboys 0-2.

That seems to be enough to make the season. And, well, that adjustment thing that Martz did? I get the feeling maybe good things are in store for the team of my adopted second city.

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