In contrast to Will Morrow’s spin on being a Patriots fan (see “Don’t Tear Us Apart”, Jan. 27), I offer my own.
Being a Chicago Bears fan is tough, even tougher than having to throw together Super Bowl parties every February. One mustn’t look any further than four weeks ago on Wild Card weekend of the NFL playoffs, when Bears kicker Cody Parkey double-doinked a 43-yard field goal to send the Bears packing.
When your kicker misses a doable field goal to end a 12-4 season without a playoff victory, it hurts.
But it hurts even more knowing it wasn’t the first sign of your kicker troubles. Over the course of the 2018 season, Parkey had missed 10 total kicks — including four that hit the posts in one game! — that partly contributed to a 76 percent field goal rate. That’s bad among professional kickers. (I hear Robbie Gould is a free agent this winter.)
Parkey’s contract is likely the sole reason the Bears continued to employ him and accept his services into the postseason. As Bears fans proudly boasted of their league-best defense while nervously anticipating the possibility that a playoff game could come down to a field goal, the front office wasn’t about to let Parkey walk away with the guaranteed millions they owed him.
Ultimately, it did come down to Parkey’s leg, and he failed in about as spectacular fashion as possible, a bounce off the left post followed by a second doink off the crossbar before the ball fell harmlessly to the turf, and it left the Philadelphia Eagles packing their bags to New Orleans and the Bears packing up for the year.
For me, the heartbreak lasted pretty much just one night, as I eventually roused myself to get off the couch and head to the Tsalteshi Trails for a lonely nighttime ski that helped work out the frustration. I’m glad no one else was out there to hear my muttering to myself, replaying the events of the game over in my head.
But the heartache ultimately didn’t end there. A few days after that awful Sunday I hopped a plane to Chicago with my family to join in on my grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration.
I lost count how many times my extended family asked me about the game. My aunts, uncles, cousins and my grandpa himself all got my take on what went wrong. Wednesday night when we got in late — “Did you see the finish to that game?” — Thursday morning at the breakfast table — “Boy, Parkey really screwed that one” — Friday evening when my cousins arrived — “I can’t believe he hit the post again!” — it all flowed into one big head-shaking, shoulder-shrugging debate.
Of course, this most recent Bears disappointment comes after four last-place finishes in the division, which followed a disappointing loss in the 2010 NFC championship game at Soldier Field to the hated Green Bay Packers, which was supposed to be redemption for losing the 2007 Super Bowl, which was supposed to be the beginning of another dynasty team like the 1985 team.
Having been born four years after that fantastic 1985 team, I’ve never had the experience of celebrating a Super Bowl victory. (The 2016 Cubs have more than tided me over.)
As Super Bowl Sunday draws nearer, it pains me to see another year pass without my beloved Chicago Bears in the big game. The kind of history the franchise owns — nine total NFL championships, but none since 1985 — should inspire them to playoff wins and Lombardi Trophy hauls and champagne showers and ticker-tape parades, but the reality is the Bears have reached the playoffs only twice in the last 12 years.
Back to Will’s column, in exposing the type of hatred the ultrasuccessful Patriots receive due to their relentless appearances in the Super Bowl year after year, he shared a recent memory of a kid who, upon hearing that Will was a Pats fan, responded that his family “hates the Patriots.”
I don’t reserve any hatred for the Pats. I see the level of consistency and dedication and remarkable longevity by QB “Tom Terrific” and I’m only able to admire it and respect it.
I understand why others hate the Pats, I really do. When you win as much as they do, for as many years as they have, and you combine that with scandals that have dogged the franchise (Spygate and Deflategate chief among them), rival fan bases will naturally obsess over and revile the Patriots for their success.
But does that kind of hate and angst directed at Pats fans really make it that hard to be a fan of the franchise? You know you have First-World problems when you complain about having to host another Super Bowl party each year because the intense loyalty you reserve for the team may cause a scene.
At least you have a Super Bowl party to host with your team taking center stage. For me, I’m still waiting on Da Bears to recapture their former glory. Maybe next year I can be toasting a Super Bowl title with my family.
Here’s to one day being the most-hated fanbase in the country.