The Chicago Bears face a fate worse than just losing; they’re facing fan apathy.
The Chicago Bears are staring down the barrel of yet another lost season. After another 0-3 start, the postseason is a longshot at best. But it’s not another losing season that’s scary for the Bears organization and ownership. The sad fact is, a lot of fans have stopped caring. Apathy is the worst thing a sports franchise can face, when people just stop caring.
Old dinosaurs like me who still vividly remember the 1985 season are dying out. Even fewer remember the NFL championship they won in 1963 before the Super Bowl era. Heck, a lot of you reading this post probably were just kids when the Bears made their last trip to the Super Bowl in 2006.
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Since the Bears won their last Super Bowl, the Chicago Bulls have won six NBA Championships, the Chicago Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups and even the Chicago White Sox won a World Series. The Cubs, well, here’s to hoping that next year is finally here. Meanwhile, the Bears, who seemed to be on the precipice of a dynasty when they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy on January 26, 1986, have won a TOTAL of six playoff games in the 30 years since!
The old adage used to be that Chicago was always a Bears town. The Bulls and Blackhawks were small potatoes, Cubs and Sox fans were divided, but everyone in town was a Bears fan. Bears fans seemed to be immune to failures on the field; they were diehards through and through. That’s not exactly the case anymore.
People are fed up with the losing, and they’re changing the channel. They’re not angry like the good old days. I’m a die-hard sports radio listener and you don’t hear the same anger and frustration as you used to after a Bears loss. Ratings are down. Fans aren’t buying Bears gear and jerseys. In fact, most of the jerseys you see in the stands against the Lions will be former players.
It used to be that you hoped the Cubs or White Sox could be relevant long enough into their season to “build a bridge” to Bears training camp. Now, you’re hoping the Bears can “build a bridge” to the Cubs postseason or Blackhawks preseason games. This season, they failed miserably.
Besides the losing, the Bears just aren’t all that interesting. Most fans are fed up with Jay Cutler and his tenure as Bears quarterback. The last two regimes ushered out fan favorites like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Robbie Gould. The players who’ve replaced them haven’t exactly connected with the fans nor have they produced on the field.
If the Chicago Bears can’t right the ship and soon, they face the possibility of becoming irrelevant in the Chicago sports landscape.