The fog rolled over Chicago, and on a day perfect for football, the attitude surrounding the home team was perhaps gloomier than the environs.
Part of the narrative this season has been dipping attendance at Soldier Field, as typically deathly loyal fans have reached their breaking points. Let’s look back on previous home games this season, not including typically-sparsely attended preseason contests:
As you see, there’s definitely some issues getting Bears fans to show up this season, and who can blame them? Until the Bears beat the Lions in early October they had lost 6 straight at Soldier Field, and dating back to 2013 have a paltry 10-19 record at home.
But let’s try to be fair here. Of all those home losses since 2013 the Bears succumbed against teams that went on to have relatively outstanding seasons. The only losses which, record-wise, were inexcusable were to the 49ers in 2015 (finished 5-11) and Jaguars in 2016 (currently 2-9). If you remove those two contests, the Bears schedule has had them succumb to teams with a collective record of 158-103. Pretty tough competition for a team that’s entrenched in a rebuild of tremendous scale.
There’s also the matter of injuries. It can’t be avoided when you’re discussing the John Fox era. I obviously have never shied away from being critical of the Bears, especially when it comes to John Fox & Dowell Loggains, but there’s no way you can compete when the injury list is filled with starters, much less missing your number one wide receiver & star linebacker courtesy of suspensions.
Another star, prize free agency acquisition Danny Trevathan, got hurt in the loss to Tennessee, and all signs point to a damaged knee ligament which should add him to the Injured Reserve report – a report that has had to have the font size modified to accommodate the glut of names.
Needless to say, the Bears have had it rough the last few years. Injuries are the sad tale of 2016, and if you’re Ryan Pace you’ve got to ask yourself about how do you as an organization remedy this? Robot Legs are not an option at this point, sadly, but he will need all the help he can get in attacking this epidemic of wounded talent, and hoping 2017 brings better fortune & more effective injury prevention measures.
From the perspective of a fan, however, there’s not any good reason to go to Soldier Field these days. It’s getting cold, the team will finish below .500 for the 3rd consecutive season (last time that happened was 2002-2004), and frankly watching the game on an HDTV from the couch is an infinitely more comfortable & pleasant view than this one: