Coming into Sunday, I had some bad juju feelings about the Bears-Seahawks game. I was glad the Bears were playing Seattle as opposed to Philly, but felt dirty that the Packers had to win in order for that to have happened. Then, Jim Cornelison took the microphone:
At that point, the combo of the crowd exploding and the snow flying removed all my doubt about the Bears and I would’ve bet all of my savings on Julius Peppers performing a Mortal Kombat finishing move on Matt Hasselback by the end of the first half. (Believe or not, it’s even more of a scene when Cornelison performs at Blackhawks games. He’s the best there is with the Star-Spangled Banner.) With the way the Bears were clearly jacked up after that performance, I was hoping that the team would be wise enough to bring Cornelison back for Bears vs. Packers NFC Championship Game. It’s not hyperbolic to say that this is going to be the single most important sporting event ever to be played in Chicago’s city limits – the Bears and Packers playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl trumps even a Cubs – White Sox World Series. If there are two things that unite this town, it’s a love of the Bears and a hatred of the Packers. I want to see the Bears come out on fire after the national anthem even more so next week.
However, a chill went down my spine earlier today. Fox is televising the game and it is the epitome of a cross-promotional multi-platform leveraging synergisticalifragilisticexpialidocious organization. In case you’ve avoided the 847,074 promos over the weekend, American Idol has its season premiere this Wednesday with Randy Jackson, J.Lo and the corpse of Steven Tyler. The latest American Idol winner, Lee DeWyze, happens to be from the Chicago area. I figured that it was almost too convenient for the Rupert Murdoch Empire.
Sure enough, moments after I had that thought, DeWyze Tweeted that he would performing the national anthem at Soldier Field (although the Bears won’t confirm it officially yet). DeWyze isn’t terrible (here he is at last year’s NBA Finals), but as an acoustic guitar toting soft-voiced John Mayer knockoff, he’s the antithesis of the booming Cornelison. I’ve been to midseason Bears-Packers games where both of the teams were medicore and they were still the ugliest and most nasty sniping crowds that I’ve ever seen in person (and remember that I’ve been to over 100 White Sox games, where the crowd has a propensity to attack umpires and coaches). With the stakes this weekend, let’s just say crowd control might be an issue. In the words of the late Richard J. Daley, “The policeman isn’t there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”
I say this on behalf of Bears fans everywhere: we need every edge possible this Sunday because it is either going to be one of the greatest days in Chicago sports history or touch off the most miserable offseason imaginable. There’s no in between. Let’s at least guarantee the day starts out right.
(Image from Mike Roemer Photo)