At the beginning of another week of sports, primarily Illinois sports, I think it makes sense to think about our pro teams as fans. That would be, by and large, the White Sox, Bears, Cubs, Blackhawks and Bulls. I am not a soccer fan, so I’m leaving any teams out of the equation appealing to the “If I don’t care it doesn’t matter rule.”
As we embark on another pro football season, it doesn’t look bright for the Bears. They have lost their three preseason games in a way that displayed lack of coaching. Also, the Bears don’t have the talent they claim they do. Brian Urlacher is aging and is getting injured more frequently. So is Lance Briggs. Jay Cutler is not the star they claim. Remember, this is the same team that thought Rex Grossman was a star. They made Rod Marinelli their Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator. Remember, as the head coach for the Detroit Lions, he was 0-16.
The Cubs are coming off of a disappointing year. The Bulls haven’t done anything of major significance since the Jordan era. The White Sox have done some things and the Blackhawks woke the city of Chicago up last year, but, of the five entities, they are the two with the least fan following.
It’s not just the pro teams. The University of Illinois always seems to be out of contention in the Big Ten and, if they are in contention, they don’t seem to be able to make that last hump to greatness.
Why so much failure?
The University of Illinois on the national scheme doesn’t get the players it wants as much because it doesn’t have the track record, and part of that is that there aren’t Illinois pro teams that kids want to go to as much as other teams around the country.
And, again, why is there so much pro failure?
I think it is betrayal of the fan, particularly with the three franchises that have failed the most: the Cubs, Bulls and Bears.
The Cubs refuse to examine their scouting system and continue to spend money on questionable players and keep questionable ones as well. (Note Zambrano) They then unload players to get more money to spend. It is a vicious cycle that guarantees mediocrity. Why would the Cubs worry? Their park is sold out every game; the fans accept what they are given.
The Bears always think they have found a “savior,” the latest being Cutler. When they won the Super Bowl in 1985, they immediately broke the team up, as did the Bulls after the last championship, their sixth. As I recall, the general manager got mad at the players and the fans paid.
There is enough information in the annals of Chicago pro sports history to show that the fans don’t come first and the fans allow it, which is why they don’t get championships.
Chicago Cubs website; Carrie Muskat; “Cubs’ best road trip ends on sour note”
Personal Knowledge and Experience
Associated Content website, Gary Davis, “Bears Show same Shortcomings, Fall to Arizona 14-9”