ESPN Inexplicably Disses Chicago Bears in Newest Power Rankings
Anyone who follows the Chicago Bears knows that this is a team on the rise. With John Fox and Ryan Pace making decisions and the team putting together a youthful, talented roster, this is a team going places and ready to make strides in 2016. Do objective Bears fans think Chicago is Super Bowl-bound this upcoming season? No, absolutely not. However, with the young players having another year of development and with the Bears excellent additions in free agency, building off a 6-10 record and improving to 8-8 or 9-7 is well within reach.
Someone should tell ESPN.
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ESPN released their newest power rankings, rankings they have dubbed their “post free agency edition,” and the Bears are ranked pretty darn low. ESPN has placed the Bears 24th in their latest rankings. Given some of the teams that are ranked ahead of the Bears, like the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, the list is just plain confusing. ESPN gives a ‘take’ as to why the team is ranked where it is and here is what they say about Chicago:
"Jay Cutler had a career 76.2 completion percentage targeting Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett combined. Both players now call the AFC East home."
While I understand the sentiment — you can’t overlook the loss of Forte or Bennett — the statistic is laughable. Cutler’s completion percentage to those two is 76.2? Why exactly are we supposed to be impressed by that stat? Does ESPN realize that 90% of those passes were dump offs no more than five to 10 yards off the line of scrimmage? There weren’t exactly too many low percentage pass plays of Martellus Bennett streaking down the sidelines or Matt Forte battling a double team 20 yards down the field. How is that statistic supposed to show the importance of Bennett and Forte?
I’m not saying the Bears should be ranked in the top 10 or even the top 15, but they are easily a top 20 team and I would think they should be ranked near 15. Clearly ESPN didn’t notice that Bennett wasn’t even involved in the offense last season and have ignored the fact that the Bears have now put together one of the more talented linebacking corps in all of the NFL.
Does it really matter where ESPN ranks the Bears? Of course not. It’s a meaningless list of teams. It’s just curious that the Worldwide Leader would think the Bears, who finished, in essence, 21st in the NFL would drop to 24th despite improving the team. But hey, logic doesn’t always prevail. The Bears are headed in the right direction and if ESPN is late to the party, so be it. When they begrudgingly are forced to move the Bears up their rankings throughout the season that will be plenty to make a Bears fan smile.
Bill Zimmerman is an editor and featured writer for FanSided‘s BearGogglesOn. Like his Facebook page or follow him onTwitter for more news and interaction.