I really enjoyed this Superbowl between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. Though I was rooting for the Saints, I thought the Colts would win it. Were I a betting man, I would have put money on the Colts, not the Saints. Great game, all the way through it.
But what I was thinking as I woke up this morning was that the Bears beat the Saints in 2005, on their way to the Super Bowl. And of course they lost to the Colts in the big game. Here it is, 5 years later. The Bears have not been back to the playoffs since. The Colts are almost always there, and that's got a lot to do with having Peyton Manning as their QB. And there are those Saints, a different team than the one the Bears beat, to be sure, but isn't that what forward progress is about? Changing things for the better?
The Bears, on the other hand, were nowhere near the playoffs this year. It's telling that these particular two teams are already back on top as the Bears flop around aimlessly. Their offense was dismal, and they sacrificed the offensive coaching staff, even though the front office failed to provide much of an offensive line, receivers, and staked their hopes at running back on a second year guy who may or may not be much more than servicable in the future. Yes, they went out and got the "franchise" quarterback. But it goes to show that one player doesn't make the team if he has no weapons around him.
Next year we'll be hoping that Mike Martz can right the ship offensively, and that Rod Marinelli can concentrate on the defensive schemes that coach Lovie Smith, who doubled as defensive coordinator last season, wants to run but couldn't because of his head coaching duties. Lovie doesn't like to tell anyone anything; he gave a press conference back that the beginning of the offseason that the d-coordinator would come from outside, and that he hadn't considered Marinelli for the position, but then after they announce that Marinelli will in fact take that job, he said he has been envisioning him in that role all along. It's pretty close to lying outright about his intentions, but I guess if he's comfortable with the lying, we shouldn't worry about it all that much.
Now comes the hard work of finding some players for this team. With no draft picks in the first three rounds (I think they gave up their third round pick this year for Cutler), it's going to be a tough job.