Rooting For Greatness

I hate Cinderella.

I hate when underdog teams emerge for a pseudo-magical playoff run and prevent us all from experiencing that which links generations of sports fans: greatness.  The most dominant team of the modern football era, the 2007 New England Patriots, lost a Super Bowl title on an awkward helmet grab by now Ravens special teamer David Tyree.  While the celebration erupted from Manhattan to Moonachie, football fans were denied the right to compare a brilliant squad to the Dolphins of '72 or the Bears of '85.  The 2007 Pats were now the Dolphins of '84 and Bears of '06.

I know some of the responses will be, "Boo hoo hoo.  If you're great, win.  If not, stop crying."  Understandable.  But football, more than any other sport, often goes the way the ball bounces.  The Jets didn't force Nate "Needs a New Nickname" Kaeding to shank chip shot fieldgoals in clutch situations.  They didn't force "Dr. Ian" Malcolm Floyd to commit a moronic, off-play block in the back penalty that halted was what might have been a game-icing drive.  They showed up and they played and the ball bounced their way.  More specifically it rolled right off the legs of Vincent Jackson and into the arms of Darrelle Revis.

I think Peyton Manning is the greatest football player to ever play the game.  And my philosophy is whenever the Bears don't win a championship, I hope Peyton does.  I want to look back in twenty years and revel in the knowledge that I saw this guy play quarterback and win multiple titles in an era designed to prevent teams from prolonged success.  Calling his own plays at the line of scrimmage against the most complicated defenses the game has ever known.  Making stars out of players like Pierre Garcon.  Sending off his punting unit on fourth down.  Peyton is what I love about football.

And I hope he attacks Revis.  The Jets' cornerback has been the revelation of the 2009 football season, shutting down every elite wide receiver he lined up against.  He hasn't been great.  He's been superhuman.  If Manning and Wayne can do what no other combination has done all season, what a story that would make.  

I root for Peyton Manning and I don't apologize for it.  He's everything I want my team to be.  And if players like that don't reach the greatest levels in the sport, what's to inspire the Chicago Bears to be that good?  What's to inspire Jay Cutler? 

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  • and since we play the Jets next season, what a sight that would be for Peyton to knock them off.....Cutty would then have some nice motivation for next year.

  • agreed on both accounts

  • While not nearly in the same league, I do believe that us Bears fans owe Mr. Brees our best wishes this weekend as well. Never mind that NO deserves this after all they

  • Nothing wrong with a little self promotion...

    Guess who's 25 today?

    Woo Hoo!

  • In reply to Shady:

    Happy b-day shade tree.

    Tear it up tonight and enjoy it. Give it all to Bob Jones University.

    btw, that new icon is killing me man.

  • In reply to Shady:

    shameless plug ass dude lol

    happy b-day bro

  • In reply to Shady:

    go saints!! if i have to hear about brett favre and "how much fun he's havin out there" one more time i'm gonna lose it.
    as far as the colts go, i respect peyton. but it's any given sunday out there as the jets have proven and they wouldn't even be there if the colts didn't lay down at the end of the season. it would be kinda great to watch that bite them in the ass. poetic.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Here's the thing Jeff. And Im sure to get blasted for this...but by that logic, you have to be rooting for a Colts Vikings Superbowl. Like it or not, the Favre V. Manning matchup is greatness personified.

  • In reply to Shady:

    I agree for the most part, Jeff. And I promise I won't make a habit of this, but:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/alex-quigley/2010/01/the-coltpocalypse-one-week-later.html

    I couldn't stand it/believe it/take it when the Colts decided that going for the ultimate in NFL greatness wasn't an important goal.

    If you already wrote a blog about it, I apologize for not seeing it. But if not, what's your take on these Colts being 15-2 instead of 17-0 right now?

  • In reply to Shady:

    I only agree to the extent that the existence of a seemingly insurmountable dynastic team precedes a Cinderella. In other words, I could root for 2001-2 Tom Brady, but despised 2007 Brady led Pats. In the context of the Bears in the coming years, it will not be the pursuit of equaling the games greats, ala P-Man, that will compel greatness; it will be chasing him and the like...

  • In reply to Shady:

    Greatness is worn by more than 1 finger. Greatness has 2,3,4, even 5 shiny companions. Greatness doesn't allow a Head Coach to throw in the towel on a perfect season, and greatness wouldn't shy away from combat in week 16 or 17. No Jeff, greatness would take the field amid the roar of the crowd and do battle because greatness embraces history when mere mortals would cheat it. Peyton Manning got lucky. He played against Rex Grossman who single handled ripped victory from the hearts of his own team mates.

    Peyton's team has folded year in and year out and greatness would never suffer that fate.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Rex had a ton of help. The D was in prevent mode and the delay over the middle worked about a million times. Turner called a horrible game and so did Rivera. Rex was awful but he had a lot of company.

    Go Bears!

  • In reply to Shady:

    So Tractor-

    Dan Marino was not a 'great' quarterback?

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Greatness has no companion and stands alone for all to see.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    The Hall of fame is littered with good players that accomplished great things. Greatness accomplishes what others could not.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Definitions vary. My definition of greatness would be the pinnicle of personal, league and Team achievements. Greatness for a quarterback in my opinion would have to include all of the above, not 2 out of 3. A true great quarterback not only achieves individual greatness but team greatness over a sustained period of time. A great quarterback is also a GM/Coach/Scout in a way and over the course of a career can make a great impact for his team when it comes to influencing an organization in these areas.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Which completely disqualifies Dan Marino, sorry.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Well....well....WELL, I have to say that I'm for Farve and the VIKE's, ONLY because my priority's are Bears 1st, NFC North 2nd, NFC 3rd. With that said, I think it would be a hoot for "Ole Waffle" to take all the way to the top. But if they happen to lose to the Saints, then you know. It's not that I don't think the Saint's are any less deserving of a Super Bowl Win, they've been through more adversity than most can imagine, Drew is young and he's got time.

  • In reply to RogerMinton:

    you have to be shitting me madd.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    OK, I'm about to hit up the town for the night, but I just heard something on the radio that I couldn't find in writing. Maybe you guys can find it somewhere online.

    Apparently Lovie Smith wanted to hire Mike Martz out of the gate, but JA vetoed the idea. I'm not upset about hearing this as I think Martz isn't the right fit for the Bears, but I am certainly surprised that JA isn't letting Lovie fill out his own staff.

    This just gets more and more strange, doesn't it? What's your take?

  • In reply to Shady:

    Zaidman on The Score - the other day - yeah, Angelo vetoed Martz on Lovie. Good call, Cutler would have shit the bed if Martz got brought in after throwing him under the bus earlier this year.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    I f nobody has had the pleasure,Prince penned up what has to be the worst fight song of all time "purple and gold" for his beloved Queens.

    I cant get a link as i cant find the whole pathetic song.It would be nice to have when the Queen-trolls show up if they win this weekend.
    Antbody that says Manning is not a great QB aint playing with a full deck. Just ask yourself what their record would be if Jim Sorgi was their QB for the last 8 years.

  • In reply to Hoosierdaddy:

    I haven't heard it but I love the fact it totally sucks!

    Go Bears!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Wow! I just listened to it. It sucks Big Baby Chunks! It's perfect for those Douchebags. I actually like Prince but that song is like something from a '50's High School Musical. Laughable. If they ever play that song in the RollerDome when the Bears are there, I'd love to see the reaction of the players for both teams.

    Go Bears!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    My Bears fandom makes me despise Farve.

    But, he may do what Montana & Namath could not do. What only Warner has recently achieved: go to a SuperBowl QBing two different teams.

    The fairy muppet Tarkeninton, is practically apoplectic about it. But if the Vikes win tomorrow, I think it will have to be about Farve. Nobody would be giving the Vikes respect right now if Tavaris Jackson was QB. Farve is a slinger, but this season he has learned to rein in it and just win.

    He wants to shove it in the Packers organization face. And he just might do that. It's hard, as a Bears fan, not to have that amuse me.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    GP, fuck that. I want those bastards to lose more than anything. Don't wish them anything but gut wrenching, heart breaking pain tomorrow. And we might actually finally see that douche farve go away for good. Sorry man, entertainment or not, can't hope to see them do anything but crash and burn baby hurn. Go Saints!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    "...Ohhh, Caaaanadaaaaaa we stand on guard for theeeee!"

    Line me up with CanadaBear, twice, Blogfather.

    Item 1)
    I shed no tears for the Patriots near-perfect season even though I DESPISE the way the '72 Dolphin Alumni behave about their 17-0 mark.

    The aptly re-named Bill Belicheat DID, in fact, cheat. Screw that. And you KNOW it wasn't the FIRST time he cheated, it was just the first time he got CAUGHT. Worse, he was his arrogant, unrepentant, ass-hole self about it and STILL thinks he did nothing wrong.

    Worse still, Roger Goodell let him off with a slap on the wrist.

    If I'd been commissioner?

    I would have treated him like the Wicked Witch of the East got treated in Munchkinland and dropped a house on him.

    A) WHAM! 1 year suspension.
    B) Transgress again and you'll be looking for a new career.
    C) YOUR OWN #1 pick is forfeit, Patriots and any other #1 picks you mave have acquired drop to the bottom of the round. It is YOUR responsibilty to make sure your coach isn't cheating.

    Goodell's message was basically: "Well, boys will be boys".

    The message SHOULD have been: "Cheat and you'll wonder what fell on you!"

    Item 2)
    I accept no comparisons to the 1985 Bear defense from teams that do not have consecutive post-season shutouts on their resume'.
    So, that narrows that argument down to the '85 Bears and, um, er...NOBDOY ELSE.
    As Tony Kornheiser would put it: "That's it. That's the list."

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Goodell deserves a compulsory sex cange for that. With no anaesthetic and a rusty razor.

  • In reply to Hoosierdaddy:

    I'm hoping for a Saints-Colts title game. Not a big Manning guy myself. I hope the Saints take it.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Bears, Ravens, Lions (because they're probably not a threat and they're the home team).

  • In reply to Dmband:

    What was so great about Dan Marino ? 50,000 yards, yeah, pretty impressive. But I never saw Marino make a pass and go "Wow!". And what do yards mean anyway? No rings don't mean he wasn't good, but you could argue it certainly doesn't make him great. If there's four minutes left on the clock and I needed a QB to drive downfield and eat it up before scoring (as well as calling his own plays) I'd take Jimmy Mac over Marino in a hot second.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Ah, no sweeter age for a man to be ..... happy birthday Shady, and enjoy it forever ....

  • Hands down I totally agree. No one past, present or future will ever get near Walter's greatness.

  • In reply to Reichwolff:

    By excluding the future, you disqualify yourself as having a meaningful opinion on this matter.

  • In reply to Mastodon:

    No SC Dave, I'm saying sometimes there are people who are truly "one of a kind" in the world. Sweetness is one of them.Unless you can get some sweetness DNA and clone another Walter...it's not going to happen. Even if you could you would still not be guaranteed the same athletic results. You can go ahead and try to disqualify yourself from being a butthead. Good luck with that.

  • In reply to Reichwolff:

    Perhaps I was a bit gruff. My apologies; let me try again.

    I think it sad that you are certain there can never be another that you admire as much.

    If you want to consider me a "butthead" for expressing that, trust me it bothers you more than I.

  • In reply to Reichwolff:

    Albert, thats why the 85 Bears were Greatness. Greatness has few companions.

  • In reply to Reichwolff:

    Wow. Opinions are what blogs are all about I guess.

    I guess he has stats, but they're just numbers on paper at the end of the day. Peyton Manning isn't even even the greatest *quarterback* ever, never mind the best *football player*. Is there a greater choker in the post season than Manning ? Joe Montana did it all better than anyone. He was Mr. Clutch int he post season - when it mattered. Manning has one super bowl ring and was without question the worst super bowl MVP of all time. That he was given the MVP when he all but threw away his singular super bowl was a disgrace. Not only has Joe Cool got four rings, he was SB MVP three times and no one will argue as to why.

    Best football player of all time ? Shame on you Jeff.

    Sweetness was his name ...

  • In reply to Mastodon:

    So the tribune is reporting that Chud is out as an option for for Bears OC. The story doesn't say if the Bears don't want him, or if he is just the latest candidate to refuse to climb into Lovie and Jerry's clown car.

  • In reply to Mastodon:

    They don't make people like Walter anymore, SC. That age is gone forever. I'm not saying he was from a better time, but today's generation exhibit the MTV generation to the worst. Humility, humanity and the pursuit of excellence is a rare thing to find in young athletes, and while I would welcome 'another Walter' (especially in the Bears' backfield), I don't think I'll see one. Are running backs getting better ? No they are not, they seem more fragile if anything ...

  • In reply to Reichwolff:

    The Saints MUST win. Otherwise we get two extra weeks of Narcissus.

  • Jeff,

    I've been reading your blog for about a year now. This is the best post I have read. Right on the money.

  • In reply to arsmitty30:

    Jebus - is this you Jeff ? Arsmitty, presumably you're a BEars fan ... somebody calls P.Manning a better football player than Sweetness and you think it's the best post of the year ?

  • Nothing from me against Peyton Manning. Not only a great QB but an absolute HOOT in every commercial I've ever seen him in from "CUT THAT MEAT..." to the most recent "You'll never guess what it is" Christmas spot.

    That said, you HAVE to admit that it would be incredibly ironic (some would say poetic justice)if the Colts, after laying down and handing the Jets a win that kept them in the playoff hunt, were then eliminated by Rex and his boys. IN India-no-place, no less!

    I should like to point out that it seemed pretty obvious, at least to me, that Mr. Manning was LESS than thrilled with his head coach for the decision to forego a shot at 16-0.

  • I don't know...I usually seem to be an underdog homer. Maybe it's because I don't enjoy the title 'greatness' being used when not in context to my beloved Bears, though I've never thought of it that way. And in the weekends case, I'm a definitely going to be on the rooting side of the Jets and the Saints. I think a #1 defense vs. #1 offense superbowl matchup is acceptable. And I also just really enjoy Rex Ryan. He's got the attitude I like in a head coach. He's like Ditka without a vein popping out of his neck, and his family tree being one of the main reasons my team has achieved greatness in the superbowl era doesn't hurt either. I'm also a Thomas Jones fan of course.

  • Totally disagree, Jeff. Bellichek is a cheat and a liar. Besides taping when there are explicit rules against it, he lied and acted like it was a grey area (after he had been repeatedly warned about it by the league). Bullshit! Also, every team that played in Foxboro has said the communications have gone out at crucial times in the game. Brady basically calls his own penalties and the league makes up rules to help them out (Tuck rule, anyone). You can't dive at QB's knees and you can't slam QB's to the ground (unless you don't play for the Pats). Fuck them!

    I feel better now.

    Go Bears!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Amen!!!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Peyton is the consumate quarterback but I don't think he can be considered great until he wins more superbowls.

    Bradshaw, Montana both have 4 superbowl rings. That my friends is what I consider greatness.

    You could also lump in Brady and Aikman with 3 superbowl rings.

    Playoff Wins/Losses by Quarterback:

    Bradshaw 14-5
    Montana 16-6
    Aikman 11-4
    Brady 14-4

    Peyton Manning 8-8

    I stand by my comments. While Manning has compiled some great stats, I don't believe he has achieved greatness yet. The jury is still out on that one.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Whoa dude - Terry Bradshaw ? Great? Hmmm. His teams certainly were, but did the Steelers rise or fall on the whims of Terry Bradshaw ? I hear he was dumber than Marino ....

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Canada, let me clear up this common missperception people have: The Tuck Rule is an actual rule in the book that applied to that play. It was not invented on that day and the refs made the right call.
    Also, the hitting the QB in the knees rule actually had nothing to do with Brady, it originated after the 2006 playoff game between the Bengals and Steelers when one of the Steelers LBs put Carson Palmer out of the game by going helmet-to-knee when he was standing stationary in the pocket.

  • In reply to A7Xthebest:

    Not sure about the Carson Palmer play. The tuck rule has been called once in my 50+ years of watching football. You didn't clear anything up with that one.

    Go Bears!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    And one last thing about those cheatin' bastards. They brought out the snow plow to help their kicker win a game. That's some fine sportsmanship!

    Go Bears!

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Knowing Manning, he most likely watched tape of Bears loss to Dolphins back 85. Quick release/out patterns is how you beat this Jet team. Peyton studies EVERYTHING and that's why he should beat Jets on Sunday. I'll be watching for Jets to play their asses off Sunday for Rex Ryan. He's a great leader of men. Wish Bears had a guy like this running our team. But we have The Hammer so no fear. Jets are playing BUDDY BALL and entire team has totally bought into the 46. Body Bags anyone? At least I can watch Jets lay some monster hits on Colts. Reminds me of the good old days before Hammer came Chi-town. Check out Jim Leonhard's play. Small but does he bring it Dougie Plank Style. What a coincidence. Plank coaches DB's on Jets. Just saying......

  • In reply to tkfay:

    I just heard C. Berman compare this Jets D to the '85 bears D

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    They shut out their first two opponents in the playoffs. If Walter hadn't fumbled deep in Bears territory, giving the Pats 3 pts, I'm pretty sure they would have shut them out, also.

    Go Bears!

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Hoosier, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Jets win Big!!!!!

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Jeff i have to disagree, i like your thought process, but I take it too personal that P. manning was behind the team that beay us in the big game. i dont think it was totally his fault, ron turners play calling and bringing ced benson in when tj wass doing so well were more at fault imo, but I will always associate pm with that and after waiting 22 years to see the bears finally make it back it makes it too painful for me to want his success for the grand philosophy of greatness. if greatness is what we are looking for so that we can be a perenial playoff, super bowl contender, Im all for it, but for now, no to the colts and yes to the saints or the jets (i wold love to see tj get his ring). if its not us now and for years to come, let it be drew breeze and the saints, but not the colts. nay i say nay. get it?

  • In reply to shonbear:

    He sucked BALLS in the super bowl ...can someone please explain how Manning gets MVP against the Bears OTHER than the fact that he was technically the winning QB ...

  • In reply to tkfay:

    Oh, and btw. The Vikings NEED to lose this weekend. Not only because they are our most hated enemy, but because of this abject atrocity: http://blacksportsonline.com/home/index.php/2010/01/prince-writes-a-vikings-fight-song-wait-what/

    ...and I'm not even counting this insanely lame and embarrassing showing into the equation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pnThUq3rlI

    Are you serious? Wow, that was so incredible dumb. Net-net, they deserve to lose on so many levels.

  • In reply to tkfay:

    Good call on Leonard, Jersey. He's one of my favorite football players in the last 20 years. He was a walk-on at Wisconsin because he was "too small" to play Div. 1 ball...and he always gave 100% no matter what the game situation. Class act, and the first move Ryan made when he went to the Jets was to sign him away from Ravens.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Lets see here,greatness is only achieved by winning multiple Superbowls. Bullshit,how many of the Bears' 1985 defense is in the Hall of Fame and they won exactly one Superbowl. Hampton,Singletary,Peyton off one team that won one Superbowl,are they great players sure.HOF worthy for sure.So is Peyton Manning.

    I love the game of pro football.I am a hardcore Bears fan. I loath the Dallas Cowboys and everything that team and owner represents.I dont cheer for the Pack or Queens to do anything in the playoffs unless they play Dallas.I still love to watch good teams play,and go through withdrawal symptoms when the season is over.

    So.... Saints kick some ass this weekend so we all dont have to endure a Superbowl listening to Farvefest any longer. The Colts put an end to the Jets fairytale.

    A side note Colts lay down and allow the Jets a chance for the playoffs,now the Colts have to play Jets in AFC championship game,i would think all the pressure in that game will be on the Colts.

  • In reply to Hoosierdaddy:

    Payton

  • In reply to Hoosierdaddy:

    Personally, I like seeing Peyton Manning cry and be upset and blame everyone else when they lose an important game. Yes, he is a great player ... but I like seeing him buckle under pressure and turn into a 7 year-old boy and pout.

  • In reply to Hoosierdaddy:

    Hoosier, calm down Francis. If you had of read my comments I specifically gave my definitions of greatness relating to "quarterbacks", not any other position. The quarterback is the field general on offense. I make a huge distinction between very good and great. Sorry but my standards are high when passing around the "Great" label and in my book as far as the "quarterback" position goes, that means MULTILPLE CHAMPIONSHIPS. As an example only, some politicians are great talkers but don't accomplish much. It is however debatable in the realm of politics whether or not a great talker equates to a great politician.

    Show me the money baby and last time I checked there are multiple quarterbacks that have 1 suberbowl victory. Manning has had more opportunities than most QB's and in my opinion he has not made the best of those opportunities.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Word, Tractor. When using the word 'great' before a QBs name, well, there should only be a handful ...

  • In reply to Hoosierdaddy:

    Sorry but I'm not one of those who believe there should be 7 or 8 class valedictorians nor do believe that every little league teams gets a trophy.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Good point Tractor. My sister had the highest GPA out of a couple thousand students, in pre-med, and had to "share" the honor with like 15-20 other students who were "close" to her GPA.

  • In reply to Hoosierdaddy:

    Hey tractor go back a few threads, i said i would like to see Jets- Saints myself. Jets aint been there in a long,long time and the Aints aint never been there.

    Saying the Jets win big is a major stretch,but could happen. The Colts weasled alot of wins this year and are hardly unbeatable. I want two good, well played football games thia weekend.

    Got to see the Queens go up in flames,the other game dont really matter to me much.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    The Saints HAVE to win. My fragile football psyche can't handle two weeks of the overbearing Fahve man-love.

  • And let's not forget how the Jets got into the playoffs by the way .....

  • Jeff got his wish. The Jets got kicked.

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