I just finished watching the last meaningful game I will invest my time in until the knucklehead NFL players and owners settle their labor dispute, finishing up watching the Bulls drop the Eastern Conference Finals to the hated Miami Heat. It takes me back to the cold January day when the Beloved Bears dropped the NFC Championship to the hated Packers. There are some comparisons to draw between the way the seasons and terrible ends for both teams played out. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
If I would have told you last summer that in 2011 both the Bears and the Bulls would play in their respective conference championships, you would have told me that I was crazy. That might be true, but no one saw this coming.
Most believed that the Bears, coming off a horrible 2009 campaign, would be lucky to get to .500. They rode a few lucky breaks and a resurgent defense to capture the NFC North crown and a first round playoff bye. Playing the worst-ever playoff team, the sub-.500 Seahawks in the playoffs didn’t hurt their chances either.
The Bulls on the other hand, were coming off back to back .500 seasons and while expectations included a trip to the playoffs, not many people thought the Bulls would have the meteoric rise behind Derrick Rose’s MVP season. They battled until the end of the season to get the best record in the NBA, a 62-win effort that hadn’t been seen in this town since you-know-who was tongue-wagging his way to the Finals. More after the jump…
The Bears struggled offensively all season while it took the Bulls until the playoffs to fall apart. When it mattered most, the Bulls couldn’t get out of their own way. It didn’t help the Bears that their offense was nursing a bum knee the entire second half.
Which would you rather have – and death is not an option – Frank Omiyale blocking for you or Kyle Korver shooting 3′s in the playoffs???
Don’t Get Defensive
They say defense wins championships, but that must not be the cases in Chicago. Both teams were known for their defenses, but that wasn’t enough to get it done
Bruised and Battered
Jay Cutler’s knee vs Omer Asik’s leg? No? How about D Rose’s bum ankle?
The oldest rivalry in sports vs one of the newest. Bears vs Packers is classic. Bulls vs Heat could be the new classic. Something tells me this rivalry is just getting started.
Which team was exposed in the playoffs more, the Bulls or the Bears? I’m thinking the Bulls since “the Bears are who we thought they were” to quote the classic Denny Green line.
Which coach’s stubbornness hurt his team more, Lovie Smith’s blind faith in the Cover-2 defense or Coach Thibs’ lack of creativity down the stretch?
The Bears lost to the eventual champs. Will the Bulls have the same fate? It’s up to the Dallas Mavericks to keep that from coming to fruition.
Heading in Opposite Directions?
If you’re a Bulls fan, keep your head up. This team is young and their arrow is definitely pointing up. This is just the start. Rose is a superstar on the rise that needs a little help around him.
If you’re a Bears fan (and why wouldn’t you be if you’re reading this blog), the window of opportunity is closing. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers aren’t getting any younger and the Jay Cutler and the offense have yet to prove they can get it done consistently. That and oh by the way, the NFL champs are in their division and have you seen what the Lions are doing this offseason???
Feel free to vent on the Bulls or the Bears (if you’re still not over their NFC Championship game loss like me) or point out some more similarities between these 2 teams. Please wake me up when the lockout ends.
Check out our buddies over at Pippen Ain’t Easy for complete Bulls coverage.