It's that time of year again - the "big game" (I don't want to get sued) is less than a week away and the anticipation is quickly mounting. Well, not especially so for me, since I hold no loyalties or true interest in either of the participating teams; but, the anticipation is building for other people, I'm sure. Until the day when the toothless Monsters of the Midway and their front office figure out what the heck they're doing and right their ship, this Bears fan just won't feel intrigued the playoffs or Super... "big game."
It could be a while.
However, this Sunday is still a good excuse to hang out with some friends, consume some junk food and critique some super-expensive commercials. Plus, admittedly, I'm curious to see how Lady Gaga's halftime show will go. Oh... and there's football too... almost forgot. However causal it may be, whenever I watch ANY sporting event, I feel like I have to pull for some involved party. Since I'm often blase towards either SB team, in years past, I've examined the rosters and chosen the team with the most former Bears under contract to gift with my temporary allegiance.
Let's start with the team that America loves to hate - the New England Patriots. This team has a real "Evil Empire" Yankees aura and enough drama attached to make any reality show director jealous.
On their 53-man roster, the Pats have a couple of familiar names to Chicago Bears fans. Unfortunately, their names are familiar for all the wrong reasons. Shea McLellin, a head-scratcher of a first round pick in 2012, never found a true position on the Chicago defense. Meanwhile, Martellus Bennett, a truly unique individual, openly bad-mouthed the franchise and his teammates during his final year here and was once suspended for slamming Kyle Fuller to the ground in practice.
Furthermore, while currently on IR, there is one more player with Windy City ties in the NE organization - Greg Scruggs. That said, the ties aren't very strong with either franchise. Scruggs played in just four games over two years with the Bears (2014-15) before being released after the 2016 preseason. Scruggs caught on with the Patriots as a backup tight end, but was only on the roster for one game (inactive) before being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
Mr. Scruggs hasn't seen much NFL action in his career and, thus, doesn't seem to appear in any major trading card sets. Thanks to the Rookies App, we have a capable stand in.
That covers all the Second City connections for New England, so now it's time to head south and examine the roster of the upstart Atlanta Falcons.
Here we have another pair of athletes without much of a cardboard presence - thanks again, Rookies App!
Eric Weems is a 10-year veteran who has transitioned from a bottom of the roster wide receiver in Chicago to the regular kick and punt returner for Atlanta. Perhaps he learned a few things from two seasons (2012-13) of playing behind Devin Hester? Meanwhile, LaRoy Reynolds serves as a defensive lineman for the NFC champions, much like he did for his lone season in Chicago (2015).
...and that's it: only two guys with Chicago ties are rostered by the Falcons, two guys who blew through Chicago in quick fashion, without much notability. Therefore, by my usual strategy, that would mean that I should be rooting for the Patriots to win the "big game" on Sunday. However, in researching this particular post, I came across one story that threw a wrench into the mechanization of my method.
Tevin Coleman is part of the running back rotation for the Falcons and has become a regular contributor to the team since he was drafted in the third round of the 2015 draft. He may never have played for the Bears, but he is from nearby Oak Forest, IL and attended high school in the same district as I did. We weren't there at the same time (in fact, we just missed), but the fact that he has such deep local ties makes it exceptionally hard not to root for him and his squad. We don't produce a lot of pro athletes in our district.
Also, as you can see by the COMC watermark above, I don't have any cards of Tevin either. So, if anyone has one lying around, I'd love to talk trade.
Tevin during his days as an Oak Forest Bengal
In summation, while the Patriots have one more ex-Bear than the Falcons do, the Falcons have a local product on their roster, in addition to the two former Monsters of the Midway. Plus, they don't have Tom Brady, who I have a slight distaste for solely because my college roommate was a U of M nut who kind of drove me up a wall, when it came to all things Michigan sports. My feelings have nothing to do with deflating balls or resentment for his greatness.
Therefore, I suppose I will be throwing my support to the Atlanta Falcons for the 2017 Super Bowl. Crap - I said it. If I disappear from the internet in the next few days, you'll know why.
Regardless, do you know what my absolute favorite thing about the Super Bowl is? The moment it ends. Why? Well, that means that football season is officially over and baseball's spring training camps are just days away from opening their gates.
Until then, go Falcons!