The Chicago Bears meet some version of the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football this week, and Nordic themed wordplay springs unbidden and unwanted to mind. But what else can you say about a Vikings team that may be starting a quarterback they haven't even met? In a stadium they've never seen?
'Rudderless Viking ship drifts into TCF (snow)Bank Stadium'. Believe me, they only get worse after that.
They hope Brett Favre can come back; sprained shouldered and hobbled, he's still their best hope. Back-up Tarvaris Jackson has turf toe. Rookie third-string QB Joe Webb is injured with a hamstring problem. It's conceivable that none of these guys can play. The Vikings are doing some last-minute shopping for a quarterback, who may actually have to lead this team on Monday. If 'interim' Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier can even mount an offense come Monday, owner Zygi Wilf needs to give him the job for real.
And then there's the field. TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. It was last used on November 27th, and is not currently in a 'state of readiness'. There are crews of temp workers clearing out the snow 16 hours a day, in four hour shifts.
And, If they can get the field cleared in time, guess what? They can't warm the turf. So the game is going to be played on what's essentially a frozen hunk of earth.
This ain't your father's NFL game...Maybe your grandfather's, though.
All these things make Minnesota's other woes, seem almost insignificant, like Percy Harvin'sdoubtful status, with the lingering migraines have left him unavailable for the last two games.
Which brings us to the Bears.
The bandwagon got a little lighter Sunday, after the New England Patriots dismantled the Bears 36-7 at Soldier Field. The naysayers and doomcryers, who had to hide their tongues for five straight weeks, came back with a gleeful vengeance. The Bears are mediocre, the Bears are lucky, they're not an 'elite' team. All those 'fans' who hoard their resentments like pirates hoard treasure, pointing out the "obvious flaws" of management, coaching, talent, etc.
Is that what losing to the Patriots means? Nope. Losing to Bill Belichick and the Pats only means one thing: Your team was on their schedule.
If losing to New England is an indication that your football team isn't among the league's best, then the AFC shouldn't even bother to have playoffs this year. Of the projected contenders in the AFC, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the only team that New England hasn't beaten. And that's because they haven't played.
There shouldn't be any lingering shame in being bested by the Pats. They're so far ahead of the curve right now, it's unfair to any other team in the NFL to try and compare themselves to them. They're not unbeatable, the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns did it. But look at what they did to the Jets the second time they played. And does anyone believe the Browns are 'elite'?
Although the intangibles favor the Bears this week, that frozen field is going to present challenges, to both teams. The Bears should win this in a walk, and clinch the division. The Green Bay Packers are playing the Pats on Sunday, in Foxboro. They probably won't win, Aaron Rodgers, or no. Let's just hope that we don't lose anyone to injury, playing on a block of rock-hard frozen earth.
So it's your choice: Rejoice or complain. Just remember the people who are telling you the Bears aren't a "great" team in December, are the same ones that were telling you they'd be lucky to win four games, back in September.