Brian Urlacher runs onto the field during player introductions before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on Nov. 20.
As it is Thanksgiving, it's a good time for Bears fans to take a minute and reflect about why we are lucky to be Bears fans. This is even more necessary with this week's bad news about Jay Cutler's thumb.
Devin Hester and Robbie Gould and Corey Graham and Dave Toub -- How many teams can look at their special teams as one of their assets, not just a transition from offense to defense? Hester is the kind of player you will tell your grandchildren about. Gould is the third most accurate kicker in NFL history. Corey Graham is a Pro-Bowl-level special teams player who ensures that opponents have terrible field position. Toub, the genius behind it all, is widely considered one of the best assistant coaches in the league, and they're all ours.
Defense -- Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are playing football as well as they did when they were five years younger. The new safeties have blended in seamlessly with the rest of the backfield. Charles "Peanut" Tillman can salvage a bad game with one simple punch. We get to watch Julius Peppers play every Sunday.
A back-up who knows the system -- The second-string QB needs to know everything that the starter knows, whether or not he is going to play. That's what Caleb Hanie has done. He won't be Jay Cutler out there on Sunday, but he'll know enough to keep the team afloat.
Matt Forte -- He is in the top five among the league's running backs, can catch, can run and can do pretty much everything the Bears ask of him. He's on track to become one of the Bears' best backs, and considering the Bears' history, that's lofty company.
The record -- You know what makes Cutler's thumb break not so scary? That the Bears have already laid the groundwork to get to the playoffs. The five-game winning streak and a 7-3 record means the Bears need to win three or four games to get to the playoffs.
Navy and orange -- Though the Bears have added the alternate orange jerseys and will do throwbacks when the NFL asks, the Bears uniform is a steady part of the team's history. No changing colors, like the Rams and Chargers. No randomly changing designs, like the Seahawks. Navy, orange, white, the initials of George Halas and the wishbone-C.
History -- From Red Grange to Sid Luckman to Mike Ditka to Dick Butkus to Gale Sayers to Walter Payton, the Bears have a history to take pride in. The Bears have more players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame than any other team.
Family business -- The Bears aren't some conglomerate owned by a newspaper. The McCaskeys have a bond to the team through their family and when making business decisions, have to think, "What would Grandpa George Halas do?"
But the family nature of Bears extends beyond the McCaskey family. It's that the Bears are a family tradition. It's that we watched Bears games with our fathers, and we will watch it with our children. It's about family and friends getting watching, celebrating and sometimes mourning our team together. It's been that way for 91 years, and that gives us plenty to be thankful for.