Are These Bears Ready for Prime Time?

Dating back to 1997 the Bears have gone just 1-8 in nationally televised games.

Whether it be on ESPN, TNT, ABC, or FOX, the Chicago Bears have failed to give a good showing on Prime Time Television. Here's a recap of the Bears last nine games played on national television.

Monday, September 1, 1997
Green Bay 38 - Bears 24
Playing at Lambeau Field in front of 60,766 fans and a national audience on ABC's Monday Night Football the Bears were beat by the defending Super Bowl champion Packers 38-24. Bears running back Raymont Harris rushed 13 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bears offense. However, Harris and the Bears were out done by Brett Farve (15-22-226 and 2 TD) and the Packers defense who recorded 4 sacks and 2 interceptions.

Sunday, October 5, 1997
New Orleans 20 - Bears 17
The Bears next appeared on national television against former head coach Mike Ditka and his New Orleans Saints. Running back Raymont Harris once again provided the offense for Chicago (22 rushes, 88 yards, TD) but Heath Shuler's late 89 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randall Hill sealed the victory.

Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1997
Detroit 55 - Bears 20
Thanksgiving Day turned out to be a house of horrors for the Bears and a good snooze after turkey for many fans. The Bears behind Ricky Prohel and Raymony Harris touchdowns jumped out to a 20-17 lead at half-time in a nationally televised game on FOX. The Detroit Lions behind running back Barry Sanders three touchdowns outscored the Bears 38-0 in the second half.

Sunday, December 14, 1997
Bears 13 - St.Louis 10
The Bears managed to muster just enough offense to hold off the St.Louis Rams on ESPN's Sunday Night Football. In a game that featured 10 turnovers it was the Bears who the big plays when it mattered. Chicago used a 55 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Erik Kramer to wide receiver Curtis Conway to propel them to a 13-10 victory in St.Louis.

Sunday, November 15, 1998
Detroit 26 - Bears 3
Appearing on ESPN's Sunday Night Football and national television for the first time all season the Bears provided one of their worst offensive performances of the season. Managing just 252 yards of offense behind quarterback Steve Stenstrom (13-25-159). Lions fullback Tommy Vardell scored three touchdowns for the Detroit Lions in their 26-3 rout at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Sunday, December 6, 1998
Minnesota 48 - Bears 22
Three weeks later once again on ESPN's Sunday Night Football the Bears were thoroughly humiliated at the H.H.H. Metrodome by the Vikings. Wide receiver Randy Moss caught 8 passes for 106 yards and three scores.

Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1999
Detroit 21 - Bears 17
The Bears made just one appearance on National Television in 1999. In a game televised nationally by FOX on Thanksgiving Day the Bears once again fell behind early due to Gus Ferrotte's two touchdown passes. Jim Miller (25-37-204 2 TD) was unable to rally the Bears from 21 down.

Sunday, October 15, 2000
Minnesota 28 - Bears 16
The Bears behind quaterback Cade McNown's 25 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dez White jumped out to a early 9-0 lead. Daunte Culpepper would rally the Vikings with three touchdown passes to top the Bears at Solider Field.

Sunday, December 3, 2000
Green Bay 28 - Bears 6
The Bears appeared on ESPN's Sunday Night Football six weeks later and once again lost. Shane Matthew starting in place of injured quarterback Jim Miller lead the offense to just two Paul Edinger field goals. Packers cornerback Tyrone Williams returned a Matthews pass 37 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory for the Packers at Soldier Field.

Sunday, November 25, 2001

The Bears now travel this week to Minnesota to face a struggling Vikings squad. The game will be seen by a national audience on ESPN's Sunday Night Football.

Chicago is a top the division with a slim 1/2 game lead on the Green Bay Packers.

Minnesota comes in with a surprising 4-5 record. After embarrassing losses to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay the Vikings had their best showing to date with a 28-16 win over the New York Giants on ABC's Monday Night Football.

Are these the new Bears? Can they finally win in front of a national audience?

I think so.

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