As baseball wraps up its All-Star week, that means that the NFL season is just that much closer. Training camp will open up in less than two weeks and you can feel the excitement in the air.
For Chicago sports fans, Both the Cubs and White Sox will take a backseat to the Chicago Bears after July 27th when training camp begins. Following July 27th, the way Bears fans watch their team will be different for the first time in 9 years.
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The Bears are coming off as 12 win season and a Division winning 2018 season and will have bigger aspirations. For the first time since the start of the 2011 season, the team will be considered a strong Super Bowl contender. Fans will be watching and analyzing every little aspect of the Bears during the season from the first snap of training camp through to the end of their final game of 2019 and hopefully into 2020.
In training camp, fans will heavily observe every throw made by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to determine if he has taken that next step and can lead this team to the promised land. There will be a small group of fans who will call for his benching with any practice interception or any missed target in any of the pre-season games. Likewise, any third-string or fourth-string player that makes big plays in back to back pre-season games, those same fans will demand that said player to be promoted to starter.
When it comes to the regular season, watching Bears games will now become a must-see event rather than a novelty or a filler for Sunday afternoon. Primetime games will shut down the city of Chicago with NBC, ESPN, or Fox being on more than half of the TVs in Chicago. The Bears will be the focus of Chicago on Sundays this Fall as the majority of Chicagoans will sport Bears colors and commercial businesses will be empty during the three hours the game is taking place.
Where a big play made by the offense or defense led to shock and excitement last season, fans will now expect those plays as a given this season. If the Bears defense doesn’t force more than two turnovers or three sacks, fans will be let down and question the new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. Fans will further question head coach Matt Nagy and the offensive gameplan if the team doesn’t win by more than a touchdown against an inferior opponent. Trubisky will draw the most heat if he has any multi-turnover games or fails to throw for multiple touchdowns.
The team will be expected to win every game no matter how good the opponent is. Last year against the Rams, Patriots, Vikings, and Packers, fans hoped for a win but expected a loss. This year against the Chiefs, Chargers, Saints, Rams, and Cowboys, fans will be expecting those games to be won with no exceptions.
It’s one thing when the Bears are unexpectedly good midway through a season, it is a whole different thing when expectations are high leading into the season. There is a fever pitch for the Bears 2019 season and the fans are driving that intensity. With training camp just weeks away, Fans should enjoy the time they have before the Bears mania begins again.