In the masthead of this website the word perspective is prominently featured.  While admittedly residing a few exits short of enlightenment, I like to think that I am able – more often than not – to keep a big picture outlook and not get caught up in the minutia that the rest of the world converts to various poisons like stress and drama.  I note this not as a form of braggadocio but rather to preface what I am about to write next:

The Chicago Bears are a good football team.

I do not think they are the greatest football team ever assembled – as many local media outlets essentially espoused after their 41-21 win over the Colts, nor do I think they are the worst team in the league – which seems to be the current assessment about town.  This season has been an emotional rollercoaster and we’re two games in.

It’s not like this is a new phenomenon under the Lovie Smith regime.  As far back as the 2005 season Mike Brown, the co-captain of the defense (and an incredible defensive backs coach if given an opportunity in my opinion) made the public statement after the team lost 20-10 in Cleveland falling to a 1-3 record, “we’re just terrible.  It’s like we suck, man.”  This was the heart and soul of the defense lambasting the entire team’s performance after Lovie’s infamous first quarter of the season.  The media was up in arms.  People questioned whether the season was effectively over.  Sound familiar?  Well guess what?  The team went on to win their next eight games and finish 11-5 and make the playoffs.

In 2006, the year they went to the Super Bowl they lost a home game to the lowly Dolphins in November 31-13.  In 2010 there was the infamous 9 sack game versus the Giants where the Bears lost 17-3.  They went on to go to the Conference Championship game three months later.            

My point is that in the NFL a loss is a loss is a loss.  I don’t care if you lose by forty or four when it’s all said and done there are only so many records that everyone can finish with during a sixteen game schedule and wins & losses are the tie breaker before point differential.  Same goes for wins for the record.  As it stands right now in Philadelphia they are literally two points away from being 0-2.  Instead they’re 2-0 and all is well with the world.  That’s the game in the NFL. 

Had I taken the time to write a proper season preview (instead of wondering about prostitutes taking holidays and performing investigative reporting on daggering in Jamaica) you would have found that I was going to predict the Bears to go 11-5 this year.  Had I been doing my weekly picks at the bottom of my Friday columns (again, blame the daggering) I’d be 1-1 right now as I thought they were going to whip the upstart Colts while also rolling into Green Bay and establishing the fact that there’s a new team to beat in the NFC North.  Regardless of only shooting 50% on the year thus far I still anticipated five losses coming over the course of the next fourteen weeks.  Upsets happen, that’s why they’re called “upsets.”  Over the course of a seventeen week season there are going to be games where the team doesn’t show up or the other guys have their number that particular Sunday.  It happens.  The big thing is to rebound, go back to who you are at your core (as a team) and hope your core is better than the rest and it will theoretically play out with you on top at the end. 

Last year’s Patriots were a ridiculous offensive team with a patchwork defense.  It took them all the way to the top of the mountain but when push came to shove, the more complete Giants won the day.  Similarly the 2006 Bears were all defense and just enough offense to be in the lead when time ran out.  The Colts that year had a better offense than the Bears had defense and their defense was certainly better than what the Bears rolled out on offense.  The better team doesn’t always win but it’s never a bad title to hold.

I would argue that this Bears team has as much offensive potential as any that we’ve seen in my lifetime.  The defense, while hung with the dreaded “aging” label, really only has their big name players on the wrong side of thirty (Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers, & Tillman) while the rest of the unit is actually quite young (Major Wright (3rd year), Chris Conte (2nd year), Stephen Paea (2nd year), Henry Melton (4th year), etc…).  While not perfect (*cough * offensive line *cough*) the team as a whole has a ton of potential and I would argue that a September loss is actually more valuable than a September win at this point. 

Coming out of that Colts game the talk about town was that we were about to witness an unstoppable juggernaut of a team that was going to hang forty points on the board week in and week out.  What the Packers taught us all is that the offensive line is not a finished product and there are still growing pains to be experienced.  You know what though?  That’s ok.  It is a long season and there need to be milestones where the team can grow and gel into a finished product in December and January when it really matters.

In the aforementioned 2006 Super Bowl season I’ll never forget the 2005 NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks came to town for a Sunday night affair in Week 4 and the Bears absolutely took them out behind the woodshed.  When the dust settled the Bears won 37-6 and I cannot recall watching a more finely tuned machine operate in the process.  The problem however is that there was nowhere to go but down from there.  As noted above, the team that wins peaks in January not October.

So count me among those that thinks the debacle in Green Bay last week may have been just what the doctor ordered for these Bears.  When San Francisco’s defense tries to take Brandon Marshall away in Week 11 the Bears will have an idea how to respond.  When J’Marcus Webb hold Jarud Allen without a sack in Week 12 without needing double teams and chip blocks he and Jay Culter really will have something to bond over. 

No sane body in the Chicagoland area is going to wish a loss on our beloved Bears, that’s obvious.  In our hearts we all want them to finish 14-0 from here on out and roll through the playoffs and Super Bowl with ease.  I get that.  But it’s also important to remember that with every loss come a little perspective, and a little perspective can be a good thing every now and again.