By Adnan Basic
The 2018-19 NFL season might only be six weeks old, but the Chicago Bears have already blown any expectations out of the water.
It had been rough for football fans in the City of Chicago in recent times. The Bears are going through one of the longer playoff droughts in the league, as they haven’t made the postseason since 2010. It’s been especially rough the past few years, with Chicago winning five games last season, and only three the season before that.
This year has been a completely different story, with the Bears being one of the surprise packages of the NFL so far. It was a heartbreaking start, as they blew a 20-0 lead against their greatest rivals, the Green Bay Packers. Chicago was able to bounce back, picking up close wins against the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. The Bears most impressive performance of the campaign came in week four, when they scored 48 points in a rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This early success is especially unexpected considering the Bears have a rookie head coach. Having impressed many as the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs in the years prior, Matt Nagy was brought over in the offseason to serve as the main man for the Bears coaching staff. He’s shown promise so far this year, with the Chicago offense performing at a much higher level than expected, due to his clever play calling.
“Nagy has done an awesome job,” Jeffrey Weiss, senior journalism major, said. “It’s not easy to have a winning record as a new coach, and I feel like he’s showed he deserves to be a head coach in the National Football League. Not only has he done a good job with our offense, but most importantly, it seems like he is helping grow Trubisky into a reliable starting quarterback.”
Much of this newfound success is down to the offseason acquisition of Khalil Mack. After contract disputes with his old team, the Oakland Raiders, Mack was shipped over to Chicago, where he signed a big money deal worth 141 million dollars over six years. He has proven to be well worth the cash so far, with the Bears defense becoming one of the league’s best with his addition. Mack was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month after forcing four fumbles and picking up five sacks in the month of September.
“Mack has been a huge difference maker for the Bears, and is not only the defensive player of the year right now, but is also arguably the league’s MVP so far,” Weiss said.
This season has been especially crucial for Mitch Trubisky, who is under pressure to prove he is still the franchise quarterback for the future. Taken with the second overall pick in the 2017 Draft, the University of North Carolina product started his career on the bench as the backup quarterback. However, the Bears quickly realized then-starter Mike Glennon was not good enough, which paved the way. It was a rough start to his professional career, but fans and experts realized that was mostly due to bad coaching and a weak supporting cast.
Now, under an offensive-minded coach and with dangerous weapons around him, fans are eager to see just how good Trubisky can be.
“Mitch has been doing great so far,” Ian Jackson, junior journalism major, said. “Some of his throws are still under thrown, but there is still some time to develop.”
However, some Chicagoans have missed out on the teams success due to self-imposed protests. The NFL has had a number of problems the past few months, and the league hasn’t handled them well at all. Colin Kaepernick, who started the trend of players kneeling, is still out of a job, with many accusing the NFL owners of collusion.
Cameron Conroy, a junior information technology major here at Roosevelt, said he has stopped watching football due to these recent developments.
“I don’t like the idea that the NFL should be apolitical. Kaepernick’s dropping was political. His lack of reinstatement is strictly financial. The game now feels hollow and scripted,” Conroy said.
The season might still be young, but it won’t be long before Chicago Bears fans begin dreaming of playoff football for the first time in way too long.