It is not enough to just play the game. At some point, the Chicago Bears must believe they can win it all.
The beginning of preseason for the Chicago Bears has not turned out the way fans or the Bears wanted it to go. In the first preseason game, they were shut out 22-0 by the Denver Broncos. They were sloppy at times and yet showed flashes of star power.
In the second preseason game against the New England Patriots, the Bears started out hard and fast. They managed to put up 11 points on the board in the 1st quarter. The Bears were beginning to gel and find their rhythm as they made key plays. However, they stalled in the second half and had to claw their way to a one-point deficit, losing 23-22.
But fans and media analysts are never satisfied. Immediately the talks revert back to the Bears living in last place. The team has started the preseason at 0-2. When the Bears made the playoffs in 1984, it was supposed to be their year, but it wasn’t meant to be. However, on the sidelines stood middle linebacker, Mike Singletary.
Standing on a bench, watching the season come to an end, his only thought was “next year we are going to the Super Bowl and we are going to win the Super Bowl.” His belief system was quite extraordinary, to say the least.
As the Bears entered the 1985 season, it didn’t look that well either. Though they started the preseason 1-3 Singletary still believed it was their season. When asked if he knew and believed in the 1985 preseason that they would be Super Bowl bound, he said, “I sure did! Believed it in 84.”
Thirty-one years later the Chicago Bears are starting to believe that they can have the same dream. When middle linebacker Danny Trevathan received his Super Bowl ring from the previous season with the Denver Broncos, he had it brought to Halas Hall to show his teammates. His wanted his new team to salivate over what could be theirs, but they would have to fight for it.
One of Singletary’s most famous quotes should be on every locker of each and every Chicago Bears player. It says:
"“Before we can talk about a championship, we have to practice like a championship team.” -Mike Singletary"
During the Marc Trestman era, it was kind of hard for the Bears to see themselves as a championship team. It took a coach like John Fox whose vision was to take a franchise team and make them great again. By adding defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the mix, the goal became evident: bring back the defensive prowess that made up the fabled “Monsters of the Midway.”
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Imagine if each player made it a point to be a student of the game like Singletary did. In the NFL Films “A Football Life, Mike Singletary”, he explained how he did it, “Every play, someone is talking and you have to look at the film to hear the conversation.”
The Bears have been desperately trying to erase the media noise from their ears. It hasn’t been easy. But something has sparked the Bears out of hibernation. Maybe it’s the leadership that quarterback Jay Cutler is now displaying on and off the field.
The leadership that Pernell McPhee has spread over to the defense that commands respect. Or maybe they are now listening to the conversation on the field. Whatever it is, it has caused this team to come out with such a swagger that it emits confidence when they step on to the field.
It makes one wonder of this can be the year that the silhouette of a wide-eyed, determined linebacker is seen standing on a bench whispering, believe? If the Bears start winning, it’s because they finally believe in their coaches and in each other. Let’s hope the Bears can resurrect that Singletary belief.