Despite the fact that the Bears are part of the NFL's Final Four, won convincingly in their first playoff game, and have a shot at the Super Bowl with a win on Sunday, they still aren't getting any respect. Consider:
- Though the Bears have a better record, are playing at home and are the two-seed in the NFC, they opened as three-point underdogs, just as they were when they beat the Packers at Soldier Field in September.
- Former Packer quarterback Brett Favre -- y'know, the guy whose career was ended with a sack by Corey Wootton during the regular season -- predicted that his former team will win the Super Bowl. Though he has officially retired now, it's surprising that he'd have any time to spend on prognosticating. You'd think that he'd be tied up with legal issues.
- Despite most NFL experts expecting the Bears not to even make the playoffs, Lovie Smith said that the team is where he expected them to be at the beginning of the season, and that they match up well against the Packers.
- Jay Cutler getting four touchdowns earned a "blech" from the stat-heads at Football Outsiders, and Matt Forte was chided for not producing a first down on his runs. His 134 all-purpose yards helping the Bears convert on 10 out of 18 third downs must not have mattered.
Somehow, the Bears are still having to prove themselves, a fact that is both tiring and fortifying. Every time you feel compelled to defend the Bears and point out that they've beat two teams who are still alive in the playoffs, that Cutler proved himself on Sunday, that the Bears stopped Michael Vick when he was at his hottest, or that they shut Adrian Peterson down when he, too, was on a hot streak, recall something 50-Cent said:
"If they hate then let them hate, and watch the money pile up."