I saw the goofs on Chicago Tribune Live debating this topic and thought it might make for some good discussion here – which Chicago Bears team is better, the 2006 Super Bowl XLI team or the current 2012 Bears? It’s not as cut and dried as you’d think. First, let’s see their arguments:
Let’s compare and contract after the jump.
2006: Rex Grossman
2012: Jay Cutler
This appears like a slam dunk in favor of Jay Cutler and the 2012 squad, but consider this – in 2006, Grossman was about as good as anyone his his first 5 games. When Grossman was bad, he was absolutely putrid, posting Quarterback Ratings of 10.2 (@ Arizona W), 36.8 (vs Miami L), 23.6 (@NE L), 1.3 (vs Minnesota W) and 0.0 (@ Green Bay L). In that same season, Rexy put up QBR’s of more than 1o0 seven times.
Cutler is by far the more talented, but he’s been know to post a few low ratings himself when he gets careless with the football. In limited action last season, Cutler posted a QBR of 100 or more just twice in seven games.
Who am I kidding, trying to make an arugment for Grossman over Cutler.
2006: Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson
2012: Matt Forte and Michael Bush
Thomas Jones was the man in 2006. He had a stellar year, rushing for over 1200 yards and scoring 6 touchdowns. Second year back Cedric Benson finally started to break into the rotation after a largely wasted rookie year. Benson added over 600 yards and 6 touchdowns of his own.
By all accounts, Forte and Bush should be a formidable duo, especially if Forte mans up and gets to camp on time. I really like the addition of Bush and believe that he’ll finally be the answer for short yardage and goal line, an area where Forte has struggled.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
2006: Muhsin Muhammed, Bernard Berrian, Rashied Davis, Mark Bradly, Dez Clark
2012: Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Kellen Davis
This should be a complete no-brainer off the top of my head; the 2012 Bears have way more talent at the position and should win this running away. Then I checked the numbers. Moose had 863 yards and 5 touchdowns while Berrian added 775 yards and 6 touchdowns of his own. Desmond Clark added 626 yards and 6 TD’s from the TE position. Not word beating numbers, but not awful either. Marshall and whoever turns out to be #2 (and my money is on Jeffery by season’s end), will have a decent bar set to match.
Edge: 2012 on talent alone
2006: Jon Tait, Ruben Brown, Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, Fred Miller
2012*: Chris Williams, Lance Louis, Roberto Garza, Chris Spencer, Gabe Carimi
The 2006 group was a pretty cohesive unit top to bottom. The 2012 group is still a work in progress and has a long way to go just get to serviceable.
2006: Adewale Ogunleye, Tommie Harris, Ian Scott, Alex Brown
2012: Julius Peppers, Henry Melton, Matt Toeiana, Israel Idonije
I am not accounting for rookies Mark Anderson from 2006 and Shea McClellin from 2012. If McClellin can get anywhere near the production that Anderson achieved as a rookie in ‘o6, the Bears will be in great shape this season. Peppers is a beast and gets the edge over Wale all day any day. Melton had a nice year last year but Harris was a killer back then. I like AB, but he doesn’t get a big edge over Izzy and Toe and Ian Scott are about a wash too. This is a tough call.
2006: Briggs, Urlacher, Hillenmeyer
2012: Briggs, Urlacher, Roach
Urlacher and Briggs 6 years ago? Yes please. No need to waste a lot of time on this one.
Edge: 2006 running away
2006: Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher, Mike Brown, Chris Harris
2012: Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Major Wright, Chris Conte
I think 2006 Tillman and 2009 Tillman are about even, though I worry about what the current model has left in the tank. Even though Mike Brown missed the majority of the season (what else is new, right?) he was still the anchor of that back end of the defense and the 2006 safeties were better than what we have going right now. I like what Conte has shown so far and think his arrow is pointing up. Don’t be surprised if rookie Brandon Hardin makes an impact as a rookie.
I’m not going to list the line by line comparisons between 2006 and 2012. Just know that Hester as a rookie, getting to sneak up on teams, gets the edge over Hester today. Plus, the kickoff rules in 2012 but this team at a disadvantage. Gould now gets a sight edge over the 2006 version because he’s got some much needed experience and his long kicks have improved over his early days.
Lovie is in charge and purged a couple of offensive coordinators (Ron Turner and Mike Martz) and a couple of defensive coordinators (Ron Rivera and Bob Babich, though Babich is still around as LB coach) in the process of keeping himself in charge. I think with a few years under his belt, he’s improved. I’m not sure what we’ll get out of Tice as OC, but he’ll be an improvement over Martz. Even though Lovie is still essentially in charge of the defense, I like Rivera over Marinelli since Chico challenge Lovie where I don’t think Rod really does.
So after all that, what do you think? Which team gets the edge? Does the 2012 team have enough to get to the Super Bowl, like the 2006 team did? Vote in our poll below and post your comments. Let your voice be heard!