For most Northwestern students, watching the Bears every Sunday isn’t their first priority. Some may even lament the lack of the NFL Network on cable because they can’t watch their home team. But don’t fret! This year you can be proud to live near Chicago, because the Bears are hot. Here are some reasons you should temporarily shed your hometown team and jump on the Bears bandwagon.
Both the offense AND the defense score
Watching the Bears play is an enjoyable experience no matter which side of the field they are on. Rex Grossman, despite a shaky game against Miami last week, still has a yearlong passer rating of 81.1. To put that into perspective, that is better than big names Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, and Brett Favre. And you know the Bears are going to run the football, so keep an eye on Thomas Jones; he’s looking to add on to his 607 yards rushing this year to date.
The Bears defense isn’t tough to watch, either; they score almost as much as the offense does! With a league-leading 22 takeaways, including an NFL best 14 fumble returns, the Bears are the best in the game at forcing turnovers. And it doesn’t hurt to watch them dole out big hits like candy on Halloween…
Bears linebackers are without a doubt the cornerstone of the defense. Standout Brian Urlacher’s foot injury, sustained last week against the Dolphins, is just a sprained big toe. Hunter Hillenmeyer is ready to take his position at middle linebacker, flanked by Lance Briggs, who leads the team in tackles, and Brendon Ayanbadejo. The four big men, with an average weight of 241 pounds, have a combined 121 tackles for the season. Ouch.
Bears special teams are the best
Though their defense gets the most publicity, the Bears’ special teams have won more games than the offense and defense combined. Standout rookie Devin Hester routinely makes kickoff returns 30 yards and up, despite the occasional butterfingers. And with two touchdown runbacks, including one that saved the game, Hester is an even strong player.
Kicking shines as well, with place kicker Robbie Gould perfect at this point in the season. He was NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October and is currently the leading scorer in the NFL with 90 points. Punter Brad Maynard averages 46.6 yards per kick, keeping the Bears squarely ahead in the field position game.
No other team in the NFL can claim the home field advantage like the Bears can. The long tradition and dedication of Chicago fans is crucial to the Bears’ success. When they play at home, the Bears maul their opponents, giving up fewer than ten points in nine of the last 11 games at home. Gusting winds and lake-effect snow don’t faze Bears player on the gridiron. Look for this factor to increase in importance as Chicago heads into the winter months.