As as with most things in life, I’m tardy in bringing this to you. But last week I went to the Bears-Lions game with Lady BFC (not sure that name is gonna work for her), my sister, and a buddy from elementary school. No, not an eight year old, dude, a friend since he and I were both six.
Anyway, yeahright’s stellar San Diego synopsis spurred me to write my recap of my trip back home to Soldier Field. Brace yourself for a disappointing imitation. All photo credits to yours truly or my sister. Top line summary: beautiful day for football, good food was consumed, Bears played surprisingly well, people were drunken idiots, and then we went home. So basically only the first and third things were out of the ordinary.
If you’ve never been to Soldier Field before, it is right on the Lakefront. If you’ve never been to Chicago before, I feel sorry for you, and you should book a flight right now before it gets really really cold. You can probably stay with Zymm, she really enjoys watching the Cubs games in her neighborhood with drunken frat boys and tourists. But I digress.
The stadium itself is very old, having been built in 1924, with the Bears not moving in to use it as their home stadium until the 1970s. The most iconic features of the stadium are what’s called the colonnades, so a bunch of pearl clutchers got upset in 2002-3 when the Bears played down in Champaign while the stadium was renovated and people bemoaned a “spaceship landed on Soldier Field.” Gaze your eyes on the masses streaming out of that “spaceship” after the game:
People can suck it. I think they did a good job integrating the new with the old, and only a fraction of those people appear to be aliens, and even those are mostly the kind Donald Trump hates (ZING!).
Before you enter the stadium, though, you have to eat. Duh, it’s Chicago. A Bears game without calories beforehand is like a Colts home game without gravy and a myocardial infarction. They just don’t happen. Some people show up to the game at 8am with ambulances painted in Bears colors and massive grills, and others opt for folding chairs, sandwiches, and beers. There is plenty of room for both, though not without political controversy over how many parking lots/garages there should be and which should be able to have hot coals and the like. We typically do a gourmet breakfast on the grill and hot toddies when it gets cold, but this was a particularly hectic and unseasonably warm weekend, so I took the easy but still classy way out and made a MASSIVE sandwich and mimosas.
That sucker is created by buying a big ass round bread (usually sourdough but the Italian boule had a better crunch so I went with that) cutting a hole in the top and scraping out a lot of the insides, plastering it with pesto, layering provolone on the bottom, and then stacking layers of turkey, ham, salami, and roast beef with a little more cheese and pesto before getting to the top and shoving in some roasted red peppers and artichokes to get the Chicago equivalent of a half serving of vegetables with your meal. Cross section below:
This sandwich has significantly more depth than the Bears’ secondary!
Once you’ve finished your consumables and watch people already so staggeringly drunk pregame that they fall over walking to the portapotty and have to have to have their buddy literally hold them up against a dumpster so that they don’t faceplant (true story), it’s only about a mile walk from the “good” parking lot to the stadium, where it is just a MASS throng of humanity waiting to get wanded and searched. Pro-tip: KEEP FUCKING WALKING. Yes, the line for the first gate is long. The line for the 6th gate took ~90 seconds and was closer to our seats anyway. Though we also helped reduce wait time by having the wimmunz keep their wallets, chap stick, and feminine hygiene products in officially licensed NFL clear bags because Roger Goodell (who is a national disgrace, lest ye forget) believes that tampons are a security threat.
You will not be surprised to learn that Urlacher jerseys continue to be the most popular/prevalent, though there are a bunch of throwback Butkus jerseys and (not enough) Paytons, a growing number of Alshons, and a surprisingly high volume of Kyle Longs. Only one man, though, appeared loyal enough to be rocking a Steve Fuller jersey:
Steve Fuller a) backed up Jim McMahon on the 85 Bears and therefore has a Super Bowl ring; b) had a freaking solo in the Super Bowl Shuffle Video, which is unconscionable,and c) is presumably not related to currently injured present-day Bears starting cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Then there was this guy:
Surprisingly, he did not take his shirt off and twist it around his head to spin it like a helicopter.
Non sequitur: Here’s a picture of Staley the Bear, the Bears mascot. I had never before seen the little bear with him, so it either must be an homage to the NL Central winning Cubs, or that’s a metaphor for Bear droppings left on the field this season. I’m guessing the latter.
Apparently it was “Bears Alumni Day” which meant before the game they trotted out guys who played for the Bears in the 60s through aughts, many of whom were met with “Who?” from even the season ticket holders around us. Polite applause for those guys and roaring cheers for Richard Dent and Otis Wilson didn’t wash away my feelings of hatred for Roger Goodell (who, again, is a national disgrace) or the NFLPA when I saw all of these guys limping or in one case, being wheeled across the field (andw hy backward?! Give him the decency and dignity of a push, you weak armed Park District employee!):
With nostalgia out of the way and the McCaskeys hoping none of the 50,000+ in attendance notice that the unceremoniously waived Robbie Gould is on today’s ticket, it was time for the starting line up and a gratuitous amount of pyrotechnics:
For some reason, the Bears decided to announce starters for the offense, including Brian Hoyer. Better than introducing the Special Teams, I suppose.
In case you’re wondering, this gentleman’s hat features the flag for the city of Chicago. The stars represent Fort Dearborn, the Chicago Fire (not actually started by a cow), and World’s Fairs in 1893 and 1933. The blue stripes represent Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. That will be all.
These guys were a crowd favorite. I’ve seen them at games before, but I don’t remember them getting quite as much love from the cameras as they did today. The lesson, as always, is that it’s easy to get on tv if you’re willing to make a complete ass of yourself.
Halftime had two treats, first some former Bears kicking the shit out of local youths in flag football:
And an idiot on the field getting absolutely leveled and dogpiled on. Remember, kids, beer may make you feel strong, but these fucking guys are stronger:
There were also idiots on the field, as two extraordinarily inebriated fans took exception to several of us asking them to sit down at moments in the game where it may not be reasonable to expect the septuagenarian season ticket holders behind them to stand and/or wait for them to finish trying to take a picture with a flip phone with the same capture time as a magnesium based flash system. That led to an exchange of words (and spittle) with some neighboring before a highly intimidating 5’6″ woman in a yellow security jacket told everyone to calm down. That didn’t actually help quell the chants of “let’s go settle this outside” until the game got good and interesting again and full bladders forced needed space between agitated parties.
As for the product on the field, the Bears were shockingly cromulent. Jordan Howard looks like the real deal, Eddie Royal made Brian Hoyer look like an NFL quarterback, the offensive line didn’t look like this, and the front seven gave enough of a push to hide how bad the secondary is (offer valid for one week only, apparently). Conor Barth missed an easy kick early, leading to considerable booing from the crowd and many a reference to how much he sucks compared to the guy on the ticket.
And yes, there were flags for BLEERGH!
So many flags for the flag god. The two teams combined for 18 penalties for 131 yards, and that didn’t include a very clear block in the back from the Lions that was NOT called and led to a bullshit punt return for a touchdown making this game appear closer than it was. Not that I’m bitter or anything but OPEN YOUR EYES, REF! :ahem:
I knew the Lions were bad, but I still did NOT expect this game to end with Brian Hoyer in the victory formation.
17-14 Bears was a pleasant surprise for a quick trip back to Chicago. But hey, a win is a win, and by getting off the schneid, the Bears improved to 1-2 on the year (only to shit away a winnable game against the CLOTS yesterday, thanks again to Barth and a porous secondary and other failures) and are now undefeated lifetime in games my ladyfriend has attended.
Exiting Soldier Field is a shitshow, as the Chicago Park District staff appears to believe it wise to keep many exits closed to create a bottleneck getting out of the stadium before this one massive bottleneck that 90% of the crowd has to walk through to get back to the parking lots or elsewhere. Of course, the key decision for most is whether to immediately join the gridlock trying to exit the parking lots or to fire up the grill again and take advantage of the three hours after game’s end that the parking lot is open for postgame tailgating. Unsurprisingly, we opted to GTFO, but first had to make our way through the on foot means of egress to get to our car:
This is the (basically) tunnel where everyone starts chanting “GREEN BAY SUCKS” regardless of outcome of the Bears game, accuracy of the statement, or relative level of hopelessness of the Bears’ season. Fortunately it was a good natured throng today, so we can take the message from that banner and reply, “No, thank YOU!”