CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 26: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears is greeted by teammate Devin Hester #23 after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets at Soldier Field on December 26, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jets 38-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matt Forte; Devin Hester
The Big Number -- .485: Chicago's postseason winning percentage
Despite their long and storied history, the Bears are below .500 in the postseason, winning 17 and losing 18 postseason games, going back to 1933, when the Bears beat the Giants 23-21 in the NFL championship game. The Bears have more Hall-of-Famers than any other team in the NFL, but that doesn't mean that they're guaranteed to win.
Why? Blame the teams of the past 20 years.
Sure, the Bears had bad stretches before the 90s and 00s. The Bears of the 50s and 70s could barely keep up. But they were bad in a different way. They rarely made it to the playoffs. They didn't raise your hopes and then get knocked out after earning a bye week, like the Bears of 2001 and 2005. They didn't get to the Super Bowl and then fail spectacularly there, like the 2006 team. The teams of the 50s and 70s didn't raise your hopes and then break your heart.
NFL humor site Kissing Suzy Kolber had this to say about the Bears:
The Bears are like a former president who hasn’t died yet. Every few years they might come out and say something or write a memoir or win some pointless award, but no one really cares. Your phase of significance has passed. We’re just waiting for you to croak so we can present your body in-state.
Those words angered me at first, but sadly, it's true. Throughout the 90s and 00s, the Bears were either bad, or just good enough to get Chicago excited. We are criticized for holding onto the 1985 Bears, but what else do we have? The Jim Miller years? Rex Grossman's team? It's not that those teams weren't good, but didn't have the "it thing," the swagger that elevates teams to Super Bowl champions.
Can we find it in these Bears? In an enigmatic quarterback? An overwhelming defense with three Pro Bowlers? A return man who has found his way again? A corps of unknown receivers? A running back who has recovered from the sophomore slump? A coach who has returned from the brink of unemployment?
We'll find out on Sunday at noon.