I’ll admit that there’s an element, and not a light one, of following the loser video of Bears fans at Warriors Battlefield cheering wildly while watching the Indianapolis Colts’ the last pass was knocked down, locked in 1st place. 1 pick for Bears. It’s not meant to be critical or extroverted, as I did the same thing to my friend who was watching football on my couch. But cheering for today can’t, cheering for tomorrow will have to.
I struggled with fans cheering for the defeats here in town for a while, seeing two current residents either just diving to the bottom or in the middle of it (Bears and Blackhawks). tank ideas it’s so cynical, a game of a system that really shouldn’t exist and when fans jump in and actively cheer for losses or complain about things that are really fun to watch, that only adds to the skepticism. It can feel like you’ve gone through a sight glass. Now just the way we are supposed to be wired. And it went against instinct for decades.
But, when the Texans took the lead yesterday soon, give it back, get it back, rocking back and forth, I see something different. (Insert final shot of “Rogue One”). Expect. When you’ve devoured all the awful football that Bears fans have had this year (or indeed our whole lives), and had a lot of help with it, and after all people you’ve seen in trail engineering on 40 other people – increase your opponent’s yard when you ask, “What the hell is that?” you have to cling to something. It’s buried under all the noise and all that is offensive about the idea of tanking and then the debate it generates from all sides. But its foundation is the promise of something more. After all, there is no greater promise than choice #1. That’s why the system is designed that way.
Why are Bears in such good (theoretically) shape?
Of course, for the Bears, hopefully it’s something different. For the first time in my life, even though it’s not the ideal place you want to be, the Bears are at the heart of the draft. Honestly, for the whole season. Not just because they kept the top pick, but because they didn’t need it to draft QB. But a lot of other teams need to draft the QB. Not only can they take any franchise-changing player they want, they can (and that’s still more than good), but they can make a franchise-changing move even larger trades to get them to a few or a few players. at many locations. And they need everything.
Teams have had the No. 1 pick with a quarterback already in tow before, or so they thought. But have teams had those two things as well as the most amount of cap space in the league? There probably wouldn’t be much difference in reality between the No. 1 or No. 2 pick, and what options would be at both. But there is a difference, and the Bears getting some fortune in landing the No. 1 yesterday means there’s the most amount of intrigue and hope and possibility. Is it five percent more than having the No. 2? 10 percent? 20 percent? Whatever it is factually, it’s the amount that gets it over the hump from exciting to salivating.
That’s not something we get a lot of around here. Oh, we may have pretended in the past. Maybe it was even genuine at times. But never have the Bears gotten to build from a flat ground. Always in the past the defense has been playoff-worthy or better and it was about patching together the offense on the fly just enough to not let the other side down. It never worked, not fully. Occasionally it was the other way around, but records from those times are sketchy at best and my memory is hazy on a good day. One side of the ball being ready and the other not never left enough cap space or the draft picks already sacrificed either in picking the parts of that defense or trading for them always left a half-constructed being at best.
Yeah, the Bears need everything. You can’t find a position group that doesn’t need more, and there are some around town high on paint fumes that would tell you that includes starting QB. But given the perfect confluence yesterday of that pick and that cap space, the Bears can address so much of it this offseason (not all of it though, that would be impossible). They’re still a rebuilding team. But rarely if ever has a rebuilding team been loaded with so much material to do that rebuilding, and quickly.
So we can cheer for taking now?
So yes, that cheering yesterday is still…awkward. It’s against the spirit of the whole thing. And yet it’s right in the spirit of the thing. But going from No. 2 to No. 1 is just slightly more pressure on the gas pedal. It’s the promise of something new and better. That doesn’t mean it’ll work out. No organization could fuck this up like the Bears could. It’s what they do. Other teams have borked similar spots. But if you can’t get excited about possibility, about hope, about potential when there isn’t much else, then what’s the point? If a fan just assumes everything will go bad all the time, then they’re missing the point.
That doesn’t mean that tanking is a good thing now or that I’ve reversed positions. It isn’t. And every draft should be abolished. But fans didn’t invent tanking. Fans don’t enforce these rules. They’re just making the best of what they’ve been handed.
And if it all works? Get ready: