On the John
2-0 and beyond the infinite
Originally completed September 20, 2010
Chicago Bears 2-0 starts in my lifetime (1981-present)
2006: 26-0 @ GB, 34-7 vs. Det… started 7-0, finished 13-3
2002: 27-23 vs. Min, 14-13 @ Atl… lost the next eight games, finished 4-12
1991: 10-6 vs. Min, 21-20 @ TB… started 4-0, finished 11-5
1990: 17-0 vs. Sea, 31-13 @ GB… started 3-0, finished 11-5
1989: 17-14 vs. Cin, 38-7 vs. Min… started 4-0, finished 6-10
1988: 34-7 vs. Mia, 17-13 @ Ind… lost next game, finished 12-4
1987: 34-19 vs. NYG, 20-3 vs. TB… started 4-0, finished 11-4 (strike)
1986: 41-31 vs. Cle, 13-10 vs. Phi… started 6-0, finished 14-2
1985: 38-28 vs. TB, 20-7 vs. NE… started 12-0, finished 15-1
1984: 34-14 vs. TB, 27-0 vs. Den… started 3-0, finished 10-6
Remember in 2001 when Dave disconnects/murders HAL? In his final moments of consciousness, HAL spouts off his earliest memories: his introductory speech (“Good afternoon, gentlemen…”) and the song “Daisy Bell.” In the speech, HAL tells Dave: “I became operational at the HAL plant in Urbana, Illinois, on the 12th of January 1992.”
HAL was not built in January ’92, of course. Though I do not know his backstory, it is fair to assume that those fine folks down in Urbana worked on the hardware of the HAL model for years before making him “real” by granting him consciousness.
The same goes for a sports fan. Because while my official start date may be November 6, 1981, I actually became operational during a three-month period from December 13, 1991 (the day Tecmo Super Bowl was released) to February 9, 1992 (the day of the 1992 NBA All-Star Game).
Interesting that HAL and I became operational in the same year, less than a month apart. Surely that is only a coincidence…
Either way, it is a good vehicle into this week’s Bears column, and the glorious news that for only the second time in my conscious sports fan life, the Bears are 2-0.
This is enormous. As you can see in the graphic above, 2-0 Bears starts were once as assumed as the season itself. It was not until 1999 that I first understood that, in the words of Homer Simpson, “Something’s wrong.”
Indeed. After we beat the Chiefs 20-17 to open 1999, the Tribune ran a blurb about how wonderful it would be if the Bears could start 2-0. It had not happened since 1991, and folks were getting antsy. I did not understand the severity of the Bears’ situation; yes, we’d just posted consecutive 4-12 seasons, but in my young mind, the Chicago Bears existed in a natural state of dominance. Fluky down seasons such as 1992 and 1997-’98 were only temporary displacements…
I turned 18 during that 1999 season, smack in my prime as a maniac sports fan and stat dork. And yet at that tender age, my pre-conscious sports years still outnumbered my conscious sports years ten to eight. I don’t think much about years 1 to 10 anymore. They just kinda happened, and then I began making decisions, and it is the result of those decisions that define the real me.
At the time, though, 1 to 10 carried weight. And with the Bears, that weight was joyful and dominant. Thus when 17-year-old Jack spoke about “the Bears in my lifetime,” he was including those 159 regular season games from 11-08-81 to 12-23-91.
Sadly, he was oblivious to the Actual Reality: a new Bears stretch had begun in 1992, and from that day through that 1999 win over the Chiefs, the Bears were 46-67 (40.7%) with only one playoff appearance.
He began internalizing this new reality the following week, when his beloved Bears blew a 13-0 4th quarter lead to the Seahawks and gave up the winning touchdown to former Bear Fabien Bownes. The 2-0 dream was dead as we trekked forward into gridiron oblivion.
We would not reach our “first 2-0 start since 1991” until 2002, when we fluked out two wins against Minnesota and Atlanta before blowing a 20-0 2nd quarter lead to the Saints in Week 3 en route to a 29-23 loss en route to eight straight L’s and a 4-12 finish…
Six and a half weeks after that loss to New Orleans, I turned 21. My conscious sports fan years now outnumbered my pre-conscious years 11 to 10. By season’s end, I could not fight it: after losing 15-zip to Tampa to end 2002, the Bears were 73-103 in my conscious sports fan life.
And now, two months away from my 29th birthday, the Bears’ JMSCSF record stands at 134 wins against 156 losses, four postseasons, and one Super Bowl appearance.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that for the first time since 2006 and only the third time since 1992, the Bears are 2-0! Next week: a Monday nighter against the Packers, also 2-0.
The even better news is that if you are a Bears fan born the day I turned ten, then these two season-opening victories just boosted your conscious Bears record to an even 65 and 65! Not bad, my fellow November 6er. Keep hope alive. Daisy.
Copyright 2010, jm silverstein
A few other notes…
* The Bears’ record during my pre-conscious sports fan life: 105-54 (66.0%), seven playoff appearances, one Super Bowl victory, one Greatest Team Ever.
* The Packers’ JMSCSF record is 180-110 with 12 playoff appearances and a Super Bowl victory. Yuck.
* If you are a Bears fan born November 6, 1991, you entered the world with a 34-17 road win over the Vikings, but you “celebrated” your 10th birthday with a 20-12 home loss to Green Bay… a game I attended, incidentally.
COME BACK THE DAY AFTER EVERY 2010 BEARS GAME for a new column from Jack M Silverstein, right here at readjack.com
WEEK 1: Once a Bears fan…
More Bears material from readjack.com
***COMING THIS FALL***
The sports fan book in print!
WHY WE ROOT: Mad obsessions of a Chicago Sports Fan
Look for it from Keylog Books