Monday Night Nightmares
The first time the Chicago Bears appeared on Monday Night Football was against the Detroit Lions at old Tiger Stadium in 1970. It was the third game in the history of what would become a sports television phenomenon – football on a weeknight during primetime. For me, a young Chicago sports fan, I was thrilled to see the Bears in a nationally televised prime-time game. The previous season, my second as a fan, was frightful; the worst in Bears history – a 1-13 record. But, 1970 started with two victories and Monday Night Football analyst Howard Cosell described the Bears as “sur-prisingly efficient.”
But by the end of the game, the verbose Cosell described the Bears as “putrid” and while I didn’t know what that meant it sounded right. The not-so-Monsters of the Midway lost 28 to 14 – rushing the ball for only 38 yards on 21 carries. It was the beginning of a four game losing streak and a long record of prime-time disappointments the Bears would curse us fans with.
One of the worst was also against the Lions in 1981 when Detroit posted 48 points on the Bears to their 17. But, that wasn’t nearly as bad at the 52-14 frightfest that occurred in 1991 against the San Francisco 49ers. I think I bled tears that night.
Over and over it seemed like Bears teams were the proverbial, not ready for prime time.
This week the Bears have another Monday Night game, their second of three this season. And, because of what’s happened in the past, this game scares the shit out of me. I feel like the little kid in the movie The Shining when he is pedaling his scooter-bike down long corridors of a desolate, spooky hotel and suddenly comes across twin, pale-skinned girls at the end of a long hallway who in unison tell him, “Come and play with us… come and play with us… forever and ever and ever…”
Chicago Bears football has really messed my mind up.
The only tonic is for the Bears to come out this Monday and kill the Lions. Not like they did against the Jaguars where the offense played well for only a quarter and a half. Not like they did against the Colts in the season opener when Jay Cutler threw an interception for a touchdown before I opened my first beer. No. The Bears need to play four quarters of paranormal, silence the lambs football.
I mean how else am I to exorcise the horror of these prime-time games. Even in the Bears Super Bowl season, our undefeated dream season was ruined by a nightmarish Monday Night game against the Dolphins.
And, of course, we can’t forget that the only loss this season was the dreadful Thursday Night prime time game against the Green Bay Boogiemen.
That’s the same team that just came off a Houston Texans massacre to let everyone know their loss the previous week to the Colts was not their dawn of the dead.
So, it’s time for Jay Cutler to throw for 300 yards and three TDs’ Matt Forte to run for 100 and a score; Devin Hester to run back a punt and the Bears defense to do more of what they do: haunt Stafford all fright night long and quarantine Calvin Johnson.
Redrum them Lions. That’s the only way I’ll sleep peacefully until the next Monday Night game and the voices come back, “Come and play with us… come and play with us… forever and ever and ever…”