Football

Three Things We Learned From Week 14: You Ain’t Ever Gonna Amount To Nothin’

The Cowboys Are The Maple Leafs Are The Mexican National Team – No matter what happens in the rest of your life, you can be sure the Cowboys will suck up the most amount of press coverage, perhaps just behind the Patriots but possibly even more. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re the center of a deluded state that’s also bigger than most countries and only thinks about football and guns and cheerleader tits. But unlike the Patriots, the Cowboys have earned exactly none of it.

You may think the Bears have been a pretty futile organization this lifetime, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. But the Cowboys have been completely useless, completely irrelevant, and completely backwards and yet they’re always front and center. They have the unearned arrogance of their shithead, made-of-plastic owner who has always had too much money for anyone to tell him he doesn’t know shit and should shut the fuck up. And he always will. And it’s why he gets to be the GM and coach of this team for the past 25 years, drive it into the ground, and no one’s going to stop him. He also happens to be commissioner of the entire league in reality, and I’m sure has made Roger Gooddell piss himself in front of all 31 owners at least twice.

The Cowboys haven’t seen an NFC championship game in 25 years. The Bears have managed at least two in that time. So have the Falcons. The fucking Cardinals have even done better, and you once again forgot they existed until you just read their name.  The only other team that’s been this pathetic for this long is owned by Jerrah’s even more balloon handed mini-me in Daniel Snyder. Or the Lions. That’s what we’re talking about here.

All they’ve got is their middle-finger-to-god stadium and a bunch of nitwits to tell me that Shiner Bock isn’t actually piss before whooping “How about them Cowboys?!” without bothering to notice the score. I saw some ‘Boys fans roll up to the bar I was in last night not too far from Soldier Field well before the end of the game, bundled up like they were in the middle of the Iditarod even though it was like 37. And in that moment, you could get just a glimpse in their eyes that they know they’re worthless, the team they follow will never be anything and what they’d really prefer is to just slink off back into the shadows. But there are no shadows in Texas, thanks to the heat death all their oil tycoons are soon to bring us. They’ll never admit it, but you could see it. It was there.

They are the Maple Leafs. They are Mexico at a World Cup. We never stop hearing about them and they swagger into every new opportunity like they own the place and “this time it will be different!” banners and then they never do shit. It was ever thus.

Maybe Growth Isn’t Linear? – Three games is hardly a definitive statement. And neither will be the next three games, or likely won’t be. And I’m as guilty as anyone of this. We all want to believe that a young player, and team, takes sequential steps. They come in, they flash but struggle, then they flash more and struggle less, then they become consistent, then they become special, and everyone wins. We’re conditioned to that here in town. Kane and Toews arrived in 2007. And they as players and the Hawks as a team took those sequential steps: from promise, to exciting, to contender, to champ. The Cubs did the same from ’14 to ’16 essentially. Fun and exciting, playoff run that portended to more, champ.

But it’s not always that way. I don’t know if Mitch Trubisky can save his career in these last six games. I would be hesitant to base an entire franchise’s fortunes on not even half of a season. But he’s had a weird career, and maybe his growth isn’t linear. He was drafted onto a team that was going to fire its coach for whom he was never really supposed to play for. He essentially had to start over in his second year, and on the other side of the ball a championship-caliber defense had to be kept up with. His coach tried to rush the cycle to keep up with that defense and not miss the opportunities presented, even if it wasn’t to Mitch’s strengths.

The Bears as a whole ended up in championship discussion far quicker than they could have imagined. The defense cycled up way quicker than the offense. But unlike last year it’s dealing with major injury problems. It’s carrying an offense that wasn’t ready to run with it. Everyone was trying to learn and expand at the same time, both at a lightning pace that just about no one can keep up. Which is why you get the massive confusion and blank looks we’ve seen most of the season.

Maybe it’ll always be mismatched. Maybe this is just a tease. Or perhaps these things just don’t always work on a steady arc up. Maybe the first half of the season was their stumble or downturn. There may be another yet. We won’t know until next season for sure. But it’s rarely as simple as we’d like it, and we’re spoiled by seeing it be that simple a couple times locally.

Ryan Pace Can Construct A Bottom Of A Roster – At least defensively. Injuries to Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, and now Roquan Smith should probably cripple a team, especially with Prince Amukamara on the sidelines as well. But we’ve seen Robertson-Harris or Nick Williams or last night Kevin Pierre-Louis or Kevin Toliver make just enough plays to keep the Bears defense humming. On offense, Javon Wims has filled in admirably for Taylor Gabriel, while the offensive line seems to have evened out after losing Kyle Long and dealing without Bobby Massie.

You can’t live like this forever. Getting Hicks back should help, but what he’s capable of no one can tell you right now. But hey, the games still mean something after all the Bears have been through. For right now, we’ll take it.

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