Players need no external motivation to try to win games. That’s their thing. Sometimes there are long standing rivalries that add a little more oomph. As a fan, sometimes we hold onto grudges a little longer than we should and that makes seemingly innoccuous games seem more important than maybe they are.
Here is my #TeamPetty breakdown of the 2019 Chicago Bears schedule:
Week 1: vs Green Bay
I mean, there’s no extra motivation really needed here, right? It’s the goddam Packers, for Christ’s sake. Lest we not forget last year’s opening week where the Bears unforgivably blew a 2nd half lead to a gimpy Aaron Rodgers. The Bears in Week 1 had no idea what they were capable of. They do now, and they need to leave no doubt.
And let’s not forget about all the crap throughout the years: having their franchise revoked for illegally using college players in 1921, having a player gambling on games in the 60’s, ‘Smash-for-Cash’ in the 90’s, illegally taking Rodgers off IR and then putting him back on after they were eliminated from the playoffs in 2017 without punishment.
Oh yeah, and that whole Charles Martin….thing. This season starts off with an absolute statement game.
Week 2: At Denver
While I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio and what he did for the Bears defense the last few years, he’s now the enemy. Remember, he also interviewed for the Bears gig before they hired Matt Nagy. He seems to have too much class to express this outwardly, and he’s said nothing but nice things about Nagy, but inside you know he wants to give the Bears’ front office the middle finger for not hiring him. This can’t happen.
Week 3: At Washington
The Redskins and Bears have a storied history, going all the way back to the 1940 NFL Championship Game where the Bears destroyed “Slingin’ Sammy Baugh” and the ‘Skins 73-0. The Bears scored so much, they stopped kicking extra points because in those days, the ball went into the crowd and you never saw it again and they were running out of footballs.
Also, when I was a kid and was just learning to love sports and the Bears, Walter Payton’s last game was a playoff game against the Redskins and the image of him sitting at the end of the bench with his helmeted head in his hands after losing that game still smarts. The Redskins simply cannot be allowed to win this game.
Week 4: vs Minnesota
It’s a division game, first of all. Secondly, they went all in on Kirk Cousins last offseason because they believed they were a quarterback away from going to the Super Bowl. Then they got swept by the Bears last season, fired their offensive coordinator because it must have been his fault. Pretty boy Kirk can’t win.
Week 5: vs Oakland (In London)
The Bears go across the pond to show everyone how Jon Gruden screwed his franchise by trading Khalil Mack. I’m sure he’ll take the high road, but there no way he doesn’t want to wreck the Raiders. This game is the equivalent of a dog owner rubbing their pup’s face in urine on the carpet, with Gruden being the dog of course.
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: vs New Orleans
Aside from the fact that the last the Bears reached the Super Bowl, it came by beating the Saints at Soldier Field, this game is more about GM Ryan Pace assembling a squad to beat his former employer. I’m sure Pace himself has nothing but fond memories, but I want to picture him as being pissed the Saints didn’t pay him to stay and promote him. Not realistic, but hey, it’s petty.
Week 8: vs Los Angeles Chargers
I’ve failed at coming up with extra motivation for this. There’s no one on the roster who has done the Bears wrong, no grudges to be found. The closest thing I could remember was opening week of 2007. Fresh off a trip to the Super Bowl, the Bears opened up against the Chargers and promptly fell flat, en route to a 7-9 season. No bad mojo allowed here, coming off a 2018 season that has sparked optimism.
Plus, I don’t want to see Philip Rivers gloating on the sidelines.
Week 9: at Philadelphia
This was easy. Playoff rematch from last year. This time, Cody Parkey won’t be around to screw it up, and no- I don’t care if the kick was lightly grazed on its way. Also, Eagles WR Alshon Jeffrey ran his mouth too much before the game.
Also, in the 2002 playoffs, Eagles DE Hugh Douglass slammed Bears QB Jim Miller on his shoulder and effectively ending the Bears’ chances.
Week 10: vs Detroit
A division game against another team the Bears swept last season. Matthew Stafford has had an impressive career but hasn’t been fortunate enough to have the supporting pieces to do anything with it. Second year head coach Matt Patricia wants to be Bill Belichik soooo bad and that’s just annoying. I enjoy watching grumpy Patricia pressers, so let’s make him miserable one more time.
Week 11: at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams came into Soldier Field last season and got stomped. All-world DL Aaron Donald was rendered ineffective. No doubt, that will be on the Rams’ mind when the rematch comes around.
Also, Clay Matthews, Jr. is Ram now. Run Game Coordinator Aaron Kromer was the idiot that threw Jay Cutler under the bus to the press when he was the Bears OC. The Rams are ‘persona non grata’.
Week 12: vs New York Giants
Another franchise with a storied past with the Bears. Last season the Giants won a game against Chicago that never should have happened. So the Bears will need to set the record straight. Also, the 1934 NFL Championship Game which saw a freezing rain create a frozen playing surface at the Polo Grounds. The Giants then sent someone to Manhattan College to grab the basketball team’s sneakers and give the Giants an unfair advantage. Classless.
Week 13: At Detroit (Thanksgiving)
Last year on Thanksgiving we got the Motown touchdown celebration from the Bears. It would be nice to see what would happen this year. Also, still like grumpy Patricia.
Week 14: vs Dallas
It’s Dallas. And although defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has a special place in my heart, that heart also swells when fan bases of franchises like the Cowboys or the Steelers have to eat crap. Seeing a group of adults have to explain why Dak couldn’t do it is as satisfying as anything.
Week 15: @ Green Bay
See Week 1. I hate these guys.
Week 16: vs Kansas City
Mentor vs Apprentice: Andy Reid vs Matt Nagy. The QB that was taken vs the QB that should have been taken: Trubisky vs Mahomes. There’s a couple of angles here, but the Trubisky vs Mahomes is the one to watch. Mitch absolutely needs to have a respectable game or the “Ryan Pace is a schmuck” crowd will never shut up.
Week 17: at Minnesota
Still hate pretty boy Kirk. Also, if the Vikings don’t make the playoffs again, football-pocalypse will ensue in Minnesota. HERE FOR IT.