Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bears Sunday: Grin and Bear It

Well, today is the big day - the Chicago Bears officially open the season against the hated Green Bay Packers this afternoon.  Football madness has officially taken over the town.

However, it's not as fervent as it has been in years past.  A lot of it has to do with the fact that the Cubs are playing meaningful baseball for the first time in a long time; however, most of it is likely due to the fact that the team just looks plain awful.

Jay Cutler is still Jay Cutler, there's no talent on either line (which are made up almost entirely with retreads) and the receiving core has suffered so many injuries that I'm a call away for suiting up for them.  It's going to be a rough go of it.

In honor of another Bears season, let's take a look at a new collection I've been developing since the middle of last season, my Bears All-Time Roster Collection.

Now, this endeavor scared me more than my Cubs equivalent, 53-man rosters and constant comings and goings make it almost impossible to keep up with.  Plus, cards aren't even made for a good half of the players.  But, when I found a nice dime box filled with hundreds of Bears cards at the LCS one rainy day, I finally decided to take the plunge.

In my opinion, only players who have seen game action with the Bears count.  Practice squad, off season members and training camp counts do not.  Thankfully, that means Rey McDonald will not be marring this collection.

As of now, I don't really have enough to sort these alphabetically, so there's just arranged randomly by what cards I like best.  Let's take a look at page one:

That Red Grange Panini Golden Age is by far my favorite card in this collection.  It just looks so regal, fitting for such a football legend.  Plus, he just looks bad-ass with that leather cap.  The rest of the page is filled with members of the '85 Bears, a pretty popular squad in the pantheon of Chicago sports.

Nothing particularly out of the ordinary, except for that 1998 Bears Fan Convention single of Otis Wilson in the bottom center.  A complete set of current Bears and team legends was handed out at every convention and I was offered a great deal on the '98 set.  So, you'll be seeing a lot more of those.

Also, my cat is namd Mongo, partially in honor of the polarizing Steve McMichael (bottom left) and partially for Alex Karras' character in Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks movies are the best movies).

Page 2:

Pro Line Portraits might be the worst football cards ever made - they're just really awkward year book shots.  While the Payton at the top isn't one of the worst, a man of his stature deserves better representation; I'll have to get on that.

The rest of this page is mixed with more '85 Superbowl Champs and some key members of the 2006 Superbowl team.  While they lost handily, they're still the best Bears team from my lifetime and thus I will always be partial to these names.

Yes, even Rex Grossman.

Oh and I know that Tom Waddle wasn't a Bear until 1989 and certainly didn't stick around for the latter squad; but, he's an amusing radio personality in this town and so I threw him in near the front.

Let's do one more page:

Jim Miller has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, he attempted to take his own life during an ongoing battle with depression.  Here's hoping that he can find the help he needs and get back on track.  More evidence that repetitive head injuries are an immense problem.

Butkus, Briggs, Hampton and McMahon are all franchise legends.  Bell would have been a Superbowl champ if he didn't hold out that season.  Mike Brown and Earl Bennett all had bright moments as Bears.  So, why is Garrett Wolfe, a high draft pick bust, in with this group?  Well, shortly after he was selected, I met him at the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge (a local 5K) and he was as nice as can be.  So, he'll always be cool with me.

By the way, my grandmother once danced with Dan Hampton (top right) while on a cruise in the 80's and gave her an autographed picture, which I inherited and would show off if I hadn't temporarily packed it in storage.  Forethought is not my strength.

Alright, that's going to do it for this week.  This is all the blogging my mind can take on this lazy Sunday morning.  Here's hoping that the Packers don't completely embarrass the Monsters of the Midway today; but, they probably will.  Aaron Rodgers is a complete God when he plays the Bears.

Welcome to a long football season Chicago.

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