1. I Watched the Bears-Giants game while having a tea party with my Little Middle Linebacker. Her birthday falls right around Thanksgiving every year. This year her favorite present was a plastic Disney tea set. I think it ended up being a gift for ME too. Nothing makes a Bears loss more palatable than watching while enjoying imaginary tea with your five-year-old daughter and a teddy bear and a stuffed rabbit. I was the only one drinking tea, actually. Anna, the bear, and the bunny were all drinking imaginary hot chocolate. Some advice for parents: I'm pretty sure that $10 tea set was my Little Middle Linebacker's favorite birthday present this year. Why? Because I took the time to have a tea party with her (and I will again). The greatest gift a parent can give to a child is their time and attention.
2. Thanks to the NFL Network, I was forced to support the local economy by going to a bar to watch the Bears-Redskins game. I lost interest in the game by halftime. I started playing darts while my girlfriend, Casey, sat at the bar and (more or less) stayed glued to the game until it was over. It's usually the other way around. She's usually asking my how I can say I like watching the Bears when I spend half the time screaming at the TV screen. How did darts go? I lost 1 - 2 to another regular, then took it out on Casey when she came over and beat her 2 - 0 (or something like that) before we left for the night. Pick up games can take a lot longer than league games, depending on who you're playing with. Both my opponents were social butterflies, so I only got five games in that night. Eh, it was still better than watching the Bears lose by playing spectacularly awful.
3. Casey and I settled in and got cozy for the Monday night game against the Vikings. We watched the Bears win the turnover battle 4-1 and still lose... It was so awful, that by halftime Casey and I turned off the game and played Star Wars Battlefront II. We would pause the game to check on the score and watch a drive once in a while. (In case you haven't noticed, Bears drives have been rather short all year and nothing really happens, so it's a good time to run to the bathroom or get a snack.) I'm trying to get Casey interested in first person shooters, and so far so good. Being a closet Star Wars geek, Battlefront II was the perfect choice. Casey isn't all that great at the game yet, but she gets better every time we play. It's worth it to mention that she's never played a first person shooter before, so she's getting used to a lot of different things at once. Oh yes, the Vikings game... Brian Urlacher looked great, but it was a rough "comeback" for Kyle Orton. I liked what I saw from Orton, even though the rest of the fans seemed to be screaming for Griese's return. Orton has a quick release and good pocket presence. He's tougher to bring down than his slight frame would lead you to believe. And (believe it or not) I was impressed with that interception he threw. The ball traveled 56 yards in the air. What's the big deal? Orton threw that off one foot while he was being knocked sideways by a defender. He looked even better against the Packers in bona fide Bears weather, which is encouraging.
4. After completing the final 90% of my Christmas shopping on (not before) the 22nd, I wrapped Christmas presents while watching the hapless Bears trounce the Packers on the 23rd. Wrapping presents is a tremendous pain in the rear for me because I'm so darn picky about how they look, but the feeling you get when you're done is priceless. The Bears' win was the cherry on the sundae, so to speak. As a Bears fan, a win versus the Pack always makes me feel giddy, even when the Packers are going to playoffs and the Bears aren't. Then I read my fanmail and found that I could've humiliated PackBrew if I had taken him up on a "friendly wager." Dang it! It's like Tracy Lawrence said: "Lord the day my ship came in, I was waiting for a train."
I'm not all that encouraged by the Bears' victory. Brett Favre looked like he wanted to be ANYWHERE other than Soldier Field on Sunday. I'm guessing the Packers were sporting some fairly generic plays and formations on both sides of the ball too. But, a win against the Packers is a win against the Packers. If Lovie Smith has done anything right this year, it's leading the Bears to a very unexpected sweep of the playoff-bound Pack.
5. I almost had to be resuscitated after hearing Urlacher was snubbed from the Pro Bowl. Did I miss something? Despite the downer season for the Bears, one thing that's been encouraging has been Urlacher's effort and performance. Especially in the second half of the season.
I think Larry Mayer said it best on the Bears website: "If you look at impact plays-let's define them as interceptions, sacks, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries-Urlacher has produced 11 so far this season. The two players that were selected ahead of him in Pro Bowl balloting at inside linebacker-Seattle's Lofa Tatupu and San Francisco's Patrick Willis, generated 8 and 6 of those impact plays, respectively. Heading into the final week of the regular season, Urlacher has 4 interceptions, 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles; Tatupu has 4 interceptions, 1 sack and 3 forced fumbles; and Willis has 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery."
Not to mention that Urlacher has over 100 tackles again on the season. Why was Urlacher snubbed? I think overblown media coverage of Urlacher's back problems had a lot to do with it. Despite the fact that Urlacher has had a few bad games, he's been able to bounce back with some very dominating performances too. Freakin' media jackals.
Here's a link to the complete article by Larry Mayer: http://www.chicagobears.com/news/ChalkTalkStory.asp?story_id=4230
I guess it's not that big of a deal for Urlacher. He's had a rough season and probably will appreciate the time off with his friends and family.
6. Christmas was good for me again this year. I got an Adwale Ogunleye jersey, and a great big Bears blanket, among other things. Ogunleye has been my favorite Bears player all year, and Casey knew it. That's what we call a home run, folks! It's nice to know someone pays attention to the things I say... Hopefully, I'll measure up to "Josh's rules of jersey wearing." http://www.fannation.com/blogs/post/5138 I'll post pics as soon as I can.
7. Random thought: Is it just me or does Lovie Smith remind you of Cleveland from family guy? I'm just waiting for him to cut a press conference short because he, "Promised Loretta he'd go home and be tender with her." Don't get me wrong. Lovie doesn't look like Cleveland, but he's starting to sound a lot like him. You be the judge...
Family Guy is one of my favorite shows, and the similarity in speaking styles between Cleveland and Lovie makes all that B.S. that's been coming out of Lovie's mouth more tolerable. I just close my eyes and see Cleveland talking instead of Lovie and everything is funny rather than irritating. The problem is that I'm usually driving when I'm listening to Lovie's press conferences, so I'm guessing other drivers on the road probably don't appreciate the humor. At any rate, am I the only one who has noticed how many flat out lies our supposedly Christian head coach has been spouting this year? What gives? For once, it would be refreshing for a coach to just tell it like it is when the season goes south. Of course the Bears had a coach like that (once upon a time) and the media ran him out of town...