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2010 Bears Follow Same Pattern as 2001 Bears

Mike Burzawa

Die hard Bears fan and lead blogger at Bear Goggles On

A management regime in turmoil.  The public trying to push a coach out the door after a disappointing season.  Sound familiar?  If you think I'm talking about our 2010 Bears, you would be correct.  But I'm also talking about the 2001 Bears.

American philosopher George Santayana famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  As a grizzled, sage old Bears fan, I am here to keep us from repeating the past or it least manage expectations.  Check out this segment from the awesome website

[Ted] Phillips finally named [Jerry] Angelo the teams' new GM in mid-June. At the press conference announcing the Angelo hire, he stated that anything for 2001 would only be "fine tuning".

If Angelo's moves from June to the opening of the season were "fine tuning", we would hate to see his wholesale housecleaning! The new GM promptly traded troubled QB Cade McNown to the Miami Dolphins for a song, and cut higher-priced and popular veterans Mike Wells, Bobby Engram and Barry Minter. Even CB Thomas Smith, signed in 2000 for $22 million, was shown the door in a smart move after Smith's inconsistent (at best) play the season before. While these moves proved to be necessary to shed salary from underproductive players as well as develop young talent, many saw them as Angelo's way to ensure a poor season from Coach Dick Jauron. Most believed Angelo wanted to see Jauron fail so he could hire his own coach in 2002.

A fan-favorite defensive lineman released in the offseason.?  Alex Brown, meet Mike Wells.  Unproductive players being let go?  Mark Anderson much?  Jerry Angelo wanting to see Lovie Smith fail?  Meet Jerry Angelo circa 2001.  Want to see more comparisons?  Check them out after the jump.

After the Calvin Johnson non-TD catch, all we heard is how lucky this team was.  You want lucky?  I give you the "Mike Brown Games."

More from ChicagoBearsHistory:

Then came the two games that will live on in most Bear fans' memories forever. Against San Francisco on October 28th, Chicago trailed 28-9 deep into the third quarter, and had lost starting QB Jim Miller to a side injury. Now-backup Shane Matthews responded with two long TD drives, the last to rookie David Terrell that brought the Bears within 2-points, 31-29 with less than a minute remaining in the game. Anthony "A-Train" Thomas then barrelled in for the tying two-point conversion, and the crowd went nuts. The high-powered San Francisco offense received the ball first in overtime. On their very first play, big-time wide receiver Terrell Owens cowered from an approaching Brian Urlacher hit, Mike Brown intercepted the pass and romped 33 yards for the winning score in what is now the shortest OT game in NFL history. Chicago went crazy, figuring nothing could top this finish.

Wrong we were. The following week, an ineffective Shane Matthews-led offense trailed Cleveland 21-7 with less than one minute left in the game. Obnoxious Cleveland Brown fans ruled Soldier Field for the moment, as some Bear fans just hadn't learned from the week before and left early. With less than a minute left, Matthews hit Marty Booker with a TD to close the gap to 21-14. No chance, the Browns fans said. On the next play, Chicago recoved the onside kick. After several short passes moved the ball to the Cleveland 34, there was time for one final play. Right in front of the North endzone fans, Matthews heaved a pass toward the heavens, which seemingly in slow-motion fell into the outstreched hands of James Allen. Tie game, and the cheering Bear fans gave it back to the obnoxious Cleveland-ites. On the Browns' first possession of overtime, Bryan Robinson batted a third-down pass up in the air, Mike Brown performed deja-vu, and the Bears had pulled out the most improbable victory in a decade. The Bears were now 6-1 for the first time since 1991.
Shall I go on?  OK, if you insist.

The 2001 defense stepped up and rallied behind their favorite coach.  The linebacking corp (Holdman, Colvin and Urlacher) was the strength of the team.  A 2nd round draft pick running back (Anthony Thomas) was the leading rusher.  Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln.  OK, maybe I made that last part up. 

Here's the point.  That team, much like this team, caught some big breaks while an opportunistic defense led them to a 13-3 record and a division title. 

The Bears hosted a home field playoff game against the weakest division winner, the Philadelphia Eagles.  You know what happened to that team?  First round elimination.  Hugh Douglas slammed Jim Miller and the Bears had no chance from there. 

The result of the 2001 season, besides a one-and-done playoff appearance and a wrecking ball to the old Soldier Field?  Two more years of NFC Coach of the Year Dick Jauron and an 11-21 record over that span.

That team wasn't that good.  They weren't Super Bowl good.  That should be our goal.  Build a championship caliber team.  Is this 2010 team any good?  Their record says they are, but.... 

Let's just say this, if I had been writing a blog back in 2001, I'd be writing a Fire Dick Jauron!



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1 Comment

Bobbyd2010 said:

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Man, where do you start with this team? How about the D-line? To spend so much of the Bears resources to develop the D-line and end up with this? 3 sacks separates them from the bottom of the league. There is no red-zone mentality, defense or offense. We have to be the worst blitzing team ever. Defense is suppose to be Lovie's claim to fame. What the heck! And he should have Martz on a leash. As talented as Martz is, he is his own worst enemy. To me these, among many others, are an obvious sign that Lovie is way over his head. Oh! Angelo too.

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