The Bears did their part in trying to save Mike Tice’s coaching job in Minnesota this weekend by working Brad Maynard into the QB rotation. I was hoping that the late season surge and one more win by the Vikings would treat us to another season of Tice in all of his glorious idiocy. Alas, it was not to be. The players hadn’t even finished showering after the game by the time Vikings management axed Tice on Sunday. All of the NFC North outside of Minnesota will dearly miss the hodge podge of putrid defense, ticket scalping, sex cruises, and underachieving teams. I challenge anyone to find a more horrific yet unintentionally hilarious coach in the history of the NFL.
Meanwhile, I’m feeling really good about the Bears’ chances to advance in the playoffs and it’s hard to fully justify. We’re being led by a QB who has played in 1 1/2 games this season. The performance in Green Bay on Christmas Day wasn’t exactly dominating. Yet when our team is heading into the playoffs with the best defensive unit in the NFL (the stats may say the Bucs finished ahead of the Bears, but that’s the product of the scrubs’ play in week 17), I’ve got to feel pretty good. We’re going to be subjected to another month of talk about the ridiculous offensive output of the Colts and Seahawks, but once again, people are going to smoke the peace pipe of high scoring teams and forget that defense wins championships. At this point, I really like the historical symmetry of the Bears and Patriots meeting in the Super Bowl once again 20 years after the great culmination to the 1985 Bears season. If that happens, people are going to question whether I made a deal with the devil after the Illini made the Final Four and the White Sox won the World Series in a one-year timespan.
Other New Year’s Weekend Sports Tidbits:
1) You Can’t Teach (the Bulls) Height – The Bulls’ losing streak hit 7 games last night and it’s apparent that the team’s great depth at the guard and small forward positions cannot compensate for their sheer lack of size in the frontcourt. John Paxson shouldn’t be blamed for the Eddy Curry fiasco this past summer, but it would have been nice if someone like new Bucks center Jamaal Magloire (who smacked the Bulls for 14 points last night) was in a Bulls uniform as a replacement. Unless the Bulls get some size by the trade deadline, I don’t think we’re making the playoffs this season.
2) Troy’s Conquest – I predicted in my BCS bowl picks last week that Ohio State would easily cover the spread against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, but I thought it would be because of the Buckeye defense. Instead, OSU QB Troy Smith threw for more big passing plays in a single game than Woody Hayes called for in his entire coaching career while rolling over the overrated Irish. Kudos to Buckeye coach Jim Tressel for turning a classic grind-it-out Big Ten running team into an explosive offense in the hands of Smith. With the junior QB likely returning, we might be watching Ohio State go for national championships in both football and basketball next year. (On a side note, doesn’t Brady Quinn’s sister/A.J. Hawk’s girlfriend bear a spooky resemblance to Steven Tyler? Lady looks like a dude!)
Coming soon: recaps of the Rose Bowl and the huge Illinois – Michigan State Big Ten opener, plus some long overdue posts on politics and the baseball hot stove league. Until then, happy back to work day!