South-of-the-border sob story

While the talk of Titletown involved Tony Fisher, the NFC North crown and a happy homecoming, the mood in Chicago after the Packers beat the Bears was colder than the metal benches at Lambeau Field.<p>

Before Sunday, the Bears had claimed they were still playing for a post-season berth and still hoping for a .500 season. The Packers put an end to that talk, and set off an avalanche of dooms-day talk from the team, media and fans.

In "Bears Journal" by Chicago Tribune beat writer Melissa Isaacson, she writes:

"This was a dead group of players, anesthetized, undeniably finished with four games left to go, and having a hard time convincing even themselves anymore that threatening to win means anything at all."

In the same column, Bears' defensive coordinator Greg Blache chimes in:

"Just make a tackle. I don't think you needed a real huge play, all you've got to do is tackle a guy on first down, so you have second-and-8 or second-and-9, then you try to get to third down and make a play."

How about this snippet of movitational talk from James "Big Cat" Williams:

It's my job, man. It's what I do for a living. You don't play, you don't eat."

Columnist Rick Morrissey took a psychological turn:

"The more time you spend around the Bears, the more you realize that this is a team that has separated itself from reality, established residency inside a bubble and generally seceded from the union of right-thinking individuals."

And later: "The Bears do dumb things because that's what they are."

All this comes from the city's conservative daily paper. You can only imagine what went on in the tabloid version, not to mention the volatile sports-talk radio shows.

Chicago's disgust with the team and it's failure to produce results in this rivalry were summed up in a Q&A-style column which asked, simply: "Why does the media continue to portray the Bears-Packers games as this huge rivalry? Doesn't there have to be a competitive balance to be considered a rivalry?" Good question. The response from up north is: "We don't know, but we we sure do like it."

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