Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Daily Dose is Back

Of bile, that is.

And, yes. It's true. It's my fault.

The Sloth Returns!

Money Day

While the international media in Miami is focused on asking the Bears and Colts questions like:

"Peyton: Was it your idea to say, ''Moooover!'' in the commercial?"


"Brian, would you like to re-connect with Paris Hilton?"

Or:Oh. It's twue. It's twue. It's twue, it's twue!

"Aren't you a little too close to your mother, Mr. McCaskey?"

...we here at Ivy Chat are continually focused on all things financial. Crain's Chicago Business has a fine summary of how the Bears will profit from this week's game.

First of all, the Colts and Bears actually have to spend money to go to the game. The league pays airfare and hotel for each team for up to 100 players and staff, and 100 family members. Beyond that, it's on the team's checkbooks.

Players make $40,000 for being in the game. The winning team gets an additional $38,000 per player. It occurs to this writer that this is not exactly a huge incentive. Couldn't a severely underpaid player do something underhanded in an attempt to make even more money? Shouldn't the NFL compensate the players in such a way to disincentivise that?

Lastly, ticket prices can be expected to go up again. Success plus the limited seating capacity of the NFL's smallest stadium should equal a sharp rise in prices. But some fans should be able to profit as well due to a rise in the resale value of Soldier Field PSLs.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

As Superbowl Week Begins...

...let's take a last look at Jeff Joniak's final words from last week:

"Hear me now, believe me later. Bear Fans your dream is a reality. Begin the migration to Miami!"

Beyond this being nearly impossibly bad, it's also two blantant rip offs. This first portion is from a Saturday Night Live bit. Remember old Hanz and Franz? It seems that this was one of lesser known catch phrases (behind their signature lines of "Ve're going to pahmp... you aaahp!" and "Girlie man!" Some people were smart enough to recognize this last week. Ivy Chat is just cathing up to you now. And tipping our hat.

The second part, the "dream is reality," is an even worse rip off. Where does it come from? Let's turn to today's Chicago Tribune and Ed Sherman for the source:

Wayne Larrivee (is) the only Bears announcers to make the call for a Super Bowl winner. When the final seconds ticked off in New Orleans, Larrivee said, "The dream is reality. The Bears are the Super Bowl champions."

Where did Wayne get the idea?

Larrivee says he went into the Super Bowl with a line in mind.

"At the NFC championship game, I looked across the way and somebody held up a sheet that said, 'Dream is reality,'" Larrivee says. "I made a mental note to incorporate that if they won the Super Bowl."

So, Wayne got it from a fan and nicely incorporated it into his broadcast.

Joniak had 21 years to come up with something and his muse led him to the most obvious call and a nearly forgotten parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger?

And, unless you think irony is something we don't get here because people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony's not really a, a high priority. We haven't had any irony here since about, uh, '83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at...

Unless you think that, check out the TOPIC of Ed Sherman's column. Let's just say that the only thing that scares me about a Bear win is what Joniak might actually contribute to the commerative DVD.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Where Everyone Knows You Are a Doofus

Anyone here still watch Cheers? Along with M*A*S*H, it may still be the most quotable TV show in history. What's interesting is how certain episodes remind you of things that happen in the real world today. One of the more obscure episodes was from the third season. It was titled, "Bar Bet". The plot involved one Eddie Gordon, a guy who bet Sam Malone that Sam would marry Jacqueline Bisset within a year or Eddie would win the bar. It seems one year is up tomorrow and Eddie is here to collect on his bet and take the bar if Sam isn't married to Jacqueline Bisset by the end of the day tomorrow.

There are two things amusing about that episode. First, Eddie Gordon was played by Michael Richards, the future Cosmo Kramer who now is more famous for his "aggressive" reaction to hecklers of his stand up act.

But second, if you turn to the Sun Times today, you will read about one Bryan Lange. It seems Bryan (spelled that way because you can't have a brain without an "I") was able to get Bears safety Chris Harris to promise to give Lange Superbowl tickets if the Bears went to the Superbowl this year. Harris is on a video clip saying, "I will give you tickets."

Lange replies, "I'm going to hold you to it. I've got you on tape."

Harris, looking at the camera, then agrees: "It's on tape. If we win, he's going."

What we have here is a later-day Eddie Gordon trying to leech Chris Harris. Let's put aside for a second that Lange is trying to take advantage of what was, obviously, a very polite Chris Harris. Let's look at how Lange is harmed by Harris breaking a promise.

Lange got free publicity for himself and his web site in the Sun Times
Lange got free publicity for himself and his web site on Jonathan Brandmeier’s radio show this AM.
Lange is getting ripped on some fringe blogs for being a horse's patootie.

Let's venture that the free publicity far outweighed the negative blogospheric exposre. Lange makes out pretty well from all this.

Oh, you may be wondering, how did that Cheers episode end? Well, Carla realized that the bet does not state that Sam has to marry Jacqueline Bisset the actress. She guesses that there must be another Jacqueline Bisset somewhere in the U.S. All Sam ahs to do is charm her, get a quickie wedding and a quickie annulment. The gang eventually finds a young, unmarried Jackie Bisset in West Virginia. Cliff manages to convince her to come to Boston using the ploy of a radio prize giveaway. She comes to Boston, is charmed by Sam, decides that Sam is a nice guy and needs some help, so she agrees.

When Eddie comes back to the bar to collect, Sam introduces him to Jacqueline. Eddie panics and tries to negotiate a deal. He settles with Sam for a free olive (with stuffed pimento!).

A suggestion for Chris Harris. Stuff some pimentos in Bryan Lange.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Back To That Other Team For A Minute

Bruce Miles finishes his reporting on the Cubs Sloberation with an interesting article about the Cubs new attention to On Base Percentage:

The Cubs have gotten a well-deserved bad rap in recent years for their stance on the importance of walks on high on-base percentage. Former manager Dusty Baker drew constant ridicule for his repeated pronouncements that walks can be overrated because slow guys “clog the bases” for guys who can run.

This seemed to be Hendry’s philosophy, as well. However, the Cubs at least began to talk about the need for higher on-base percentage during last fall’s organization meetings.

Does this represent a serious and honest shift? The Cubs’ actions on the field this year will speak louder than any words at a wintertime convention.

There are a few quotes that follow. Jim Hendry still doesn't sound like he gets it:

"...you have to knock people in, knock the runs in the right way with two outs in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning. You can fluctuate the numbers a lot of different ways to create your own argument." - Jim Hendry

Uh, Jim? Part of the "OBP Method" (no Mark Prior jokes, please) is that RBIs happen automatically when OBP goes up. In fact, if you had a team that never got a base hit, but also never made an out and only walked, you'd have a ton of RBIs.

Lou Piniella sounds more like he gets it.

"On-base percentage is important. If you ask me, a team that has a good offense should have an on-base percentage of .345 or so. Do you tell a hitter who’s a good fastball hitter to take the fastball so you can see some pitches? It’s tough. Let me work on that, and I promise you, it’ll get better." - Lou Piniella

The proof in the pudding is in the tasting, they say. Lou's pudding starts being served in about 10 weeks.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bring On Da Bears!

While this page generally takes a forward view, allow us a moment to look back at some of the important moments from yesterday's 39-14 NFC Championship victory by the Chicago Bears over the New Orleans Saints.

- The steadiness of Robbie Gould. The Bears looked like a team ready to choke away a win because of lack of execution on offense. One can only imagine how the team would have reacted if Robbie had missed any one of his three field goals. Instead, he calmly and cooly staked the team to a 9-0 lead (that should have been more like 17-0).

- The accuracy of Brad Maynard. The biggest play of the game may have been the third quarter punt that backed the Saints up to their goal line for their second consecutive series. The first series ended with Reggie Bush's touchdown. After Maynard's punt, the second series ended with the safety.

- The wind. Clearly, Drew Brees was having trouble. A lot of his passes were off target, likely to do with the breeze. That prevented the unfavorable prospect of Deuce McCallister in the backfield and Reggie Bush split out. And that meant the Bears defense could stuff the box. Deuce went 6 carries, 18 yards. Game over.

- And speaking of game over, what the hell kind of shitty call did Jeff Joniak come up with to end the game?

"Hear me now, believe me later." - Jeff Joniak

This guy had four weeks to think of something. He says he gave it 15 minutes and that's what he came up with.

Pathetic. This man has no business broadcasting NFL football.

On the plus, on ESPN Radio this morning, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic played the clip a few times. And seemed to laugh mockingly (and quietly) each time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What a Long, Strange Night

When you go to the Cub Convention, you never know who you are going to run into. Knowing that, the convention was avoided and Kitty O'Sheas was the only place we frequented.

While we were there, in walked Len Kasper. And sat down with us for an hour and a half. Len asked for a coke because he was exhausted. The bartender gave him a pint. He drank two of them.

And for being such a mensch, what does he get? His face plasted on the internet with a bunch of drunkards.

At least with the picture posted on this site, he can be confident no one will ever see it.Could SOME of these guys take a shower?

Friday, January 19, 2007

It Won't Be Long Now

With the Trib sale not going as well as planned, new ownesr for the Cubs are lining up:

Tribune Co.'s inability to attract aggressive buyout offers has encouraged Chicagoans who are interested in snapping up one piece of the media conglomerate: the Chicago Cubs.

"I think they've got to go plan B, and plan B is to sell off some assets and that would include the Cubs," says industrialist Thomas Begel after Wednesday’s bidding deadline left Tribune with two tepid proposals.

These things happen fairly quickly. Expect new owners to be named by mid-season and new owners to take over after this year's World Series.

There's no way that, should the Cubs somehow manage to win this year, Denis FitzSimons would allow a sale to close before he could take credit for winning.

On January 12, 1986, the Chicago Bears hosted their second home playoff game of the season: The NFC Championship Game.

Later that afternoon, the New England Patriots played their third playoff game of the season, this one on the road: The AFC Championship Game.

NFL Films captured these two games in a classic piece of sports film making, produced as only NFL Films could.

As you watch you may notice:

"I'm too young to remember that anyway!"

"They don't deserve to represent us, man!"

"The Refrigerator!"

"Why don't they put a dome over this place?"

"Kick ass, let everything hang out!"

"4th quarter! 4th quarter! Can't no one beat us!"

"Way to fly that one in there, Jim!"

"New Orleans! New Orleans bound! Whoo! I love it! Bring on the Bears!"

"How better could you write a script, for cryin' out loud!"


From "World Champions: The Story of the 1985 Chicago Bears"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

You Are Looking At Video Tape

Back in the 1980's, before Fox Sports transitioned sports broadcasts into nearly unwatchable conglomerations of random noises, banal commentary, and horrid camera angles, CBS Sports set a gold standard for broadcasts. Each week NFL broadcasts would start with an intro segment that set the story for the game.

On January 12, 1986, here's how CBS started their broadcast:

It's hard to imagine that over 21 years have passed since that time. That's nearly as long as the last gap between title seasons. January 1986 marked 22 years and a few days after the Bears previous title, won on December 29, 1963 (the last World Title won by any professional team in Wrigley Field).

So, were we to get Pat Summerall to re-record the intro for the NFC Title Game this week, who would he say this game be for?

Part of the problem with coming up with names for the gap between 1985 and 2006 is that the Bears were not only pretty awful, but they had pretty awful players. There were no Dick Butkus and Gayle Sayers type players. But there were a few good players. Summerall might come up with this.

Sunday, January 21, 2007 is for Neal Anderson. His fleet feet ablely succeed Walter Payton with four Pro Bowls, three one thousand yard seasons. But hamstring injuries forced him to leave the game too soon to be remembered as the outstanding running back he was.

Sunday, January 21, 2007 is for Trace Armstrong. He tried to become the new face of the defense after the retirement of Dan Hampton. For many years, he tried to have fun on a team that saw fewer and fewer good times. Eventually, he was unceremoniously run out of town by Dave Wannstedt.

Sunday, January 21, 2007 is for Donnell Woolford. The only true lockdown cornerback the Bears have had since Leslie Frazier. He played in the early days of the "new breed" of trash talking cornerbacks with a quiet professionalism that many people have forgotten.

Among the current Bears, Sunday, January 21, 2007 is for Olin Kreutz, Brian Urlacher and Mike Brown. These players deserve the one more game that a Super Bowl berth would bring.

But Sunday, January 21, 2007 is mostly for Walter Payton. The man who was the most complete football player ever to lace up cleats in NFL history was taken at far too young of an age. While his career is unparalleled, Walter did have an open regret: That he did not have a great Super Bowl game. Walter wanted to get back to the Super Bowl. His last game, the 1987 Divisional Playoff loss to the Washington Redskins, ended with Walter on the bench, head in hands, reflecting in silence. He wanted to get back. To have one last game. As he told in an interview before that final game, Walter wanted to have the ball, down five points, time running out. He takes the ball, makes all kinds of crazy moves and jukes, barrels into the endzone, puts the ball down. And flies away.

Somewhere beyond the horizon of Lake Michigan, Walter Payton wants that one more game, too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


With the announcement by Barack Obama that he will run for the office of President of the United States, we can expect that he will become the meally mouthed, "don't insult anyone" type of politician we see all the time, right?

No chance.

"The Bears are going to the Super Bowl," a gleeful Obama told reporters Monday outside a church in suburban Chicago. "I am happy for New Orleans. I think it's a wonderful story for their city, but this fairy tale ends when they come to Chicago."

How nice to see a guy speak from the heart. I almost wish there was another person from Chicago who wanted to run for president. Say, one who said they grew up a Cub fan but, when politically expedient, claimed to be a "lifelong Yankees fan."

I wish.

There's No Need To Fear, the Chicago Bears are Here!

If you look and listen around, you'll find that the Bears are not exactly the darlings of the public this week. In the AFC, everyone is drooling over the matchup of Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady. The mouth frothing over Manning and the potential to become the "greatest quarterback of all time" with a Superbowl win is sickening enough. But when the frothing comes from the same people who said, JUST LAST WEEK, that Tom Brady already IS the "greatest quarterback of all time" it's time to head over to ratemyvomit.com.

In the NFC, the media is all over the Saints. They have the stylish offense. They have Reggie Bush, Deuce McCallister and Purdue's drew Brees. They've never been this far in the NFL playoffs before. They carry the hopes and dreams of a hurricane ravaged city upon their shoulders.

That leaves the Chicago Bears. Just this morning, Mike Greenberg said that, if the Bears lose, while it's a tremendous disappointment, the team's legacy is secure.

All of this is total crap.

So, why are the Bears not the media's favorites? Simple. This is a boring team.

Since the Arizona game, the only thing sexy about the Bears has been Devin Hester. Rex Grossman, while a decent quote, is still vegetable lasagna nationally. The defense has been lunch pail efficient. They don't have a devastating pass rush. They don't have dopes who think dancing is personality. The runningbacks are efficient, but never do anything spectacular. That's a combination for the media to ignore.

And, when you add in that the media is still stuck in 1985 (like many of the fans), on a team that had EVERYTHING that this team is missing, you see why the nation has relegated the Bears to fourth place.

One hopes that Lovie Smith makes use of this and makes his team understand that they are perceived as a bunch of Rodney Dangerfields. They also need to know that the secure legacy is that of Walter Payton, George Halas, Mike Ditka, Bill George and Red Grange. Their legacy is nothing at this point.

Perhaps Livie Smith will relish the underdog role. And tell his team to shove the reputation up everyone's collective tushes.

Monday, January 15, 2007


We will get to the Bears late today. But first, the Cubs Convention is this weekend. Once again, the Cubs have announced the schedule of events. Ivy Chat is pleased to provide this information to the attendees with some details on each event not included in the press release.

Can I wear this in CTU?Additionally, since the Convention is actually pointless, we bring you this picture of 24's new leading eye candy lady, Marisol Nichols because having the picture is also pointless. Why Marisol? Her role in 24 is pretty lousy and she was rather ignorable in Chevy Chase's Vegas Vacation (she was Audrey Griswold). But she is from Chicago and is probably a Cub fan. She also is nice to look at.

Friday, January 19
5:00pm-5:30pm Opening Ceremonies (Again, Rehearsal for 2016 Summer Olympics)
6:00pm-6:45pm Autograph Hunt Game (Find the one signed using Sammy Sosa’s syringe)
7:00pm-9:00pm SportsCentral Live (Accurately named due absence of David Kaplan and guest hosting by Milt Rosenberg)
7:00pm-8:30pm Cubs Bingo (Cover four corners of your card before the Cubs cover the four corners of their infield)

Saturday, January 20
9:00am-10:00am Meet Cubs Baseball Management (First Chance to say “Hello” since the purge and last chance to say “Good Bye” before the sale)
9:30am-10:30am The Evolution of Sports Medicine (aka Kerry Wood through the years)
9:30am-10:30am Cubs Jeopardy! (an in depth review of the Cubs double play combination of Mark DeRosa and Ceasar Izturis)
10:00am-11:00am Cubs Care Clinic (Comcast replays their videos of Juan Pierre and Ryan Dempster reading books to grade school kids)
10:30am-11:30am Not For Women Only (Mark Grace explains “Slumpbusting”)
11:00am-12:00noon Vine Line Line (meet the former editorial staff of Pravda)
11:30am-12:30pm Piniella 101 (Celebrate Lou’s upcoming birthday)
12:00noon-1:00pm "So You Wanna Be A Major Leaguer" (Tryouts for centerfielders)
12:30pm-1:30pm A New Beginning (View commercials from 1982 including the “coming out of hibernation” campaign)
1:30pm-2:30pm Tales From The Bullpen (Kyle Farnsworth details the best places to nap in Wrigley Field)
1:30pm-2:30pm The Boys of Zimmer... the Summer of '89 (
2:00pm-3:00pm It's A No-Hitter! 35th Anniversary Celebration (An Al Yellon sob story)
3:00pm-4:00pm For Kids Only Press Conference (Carol Slezak, Paul Sullivan and Carrie Muskat answer questions from people who read at their writing level)
3:00pm-4:00pm Stump The Hughes (Sponsored by Colon Blow)
3:00pm-4:00pm Wheelchair Cubs (Stumps the Santo)
3:30pm-4:30pm WGN-TV: Producing Cubs Baseball (How a shot of a 23 year old in a halter top every 4 minutes prevents ratings from falling)
4:30pm-5:30pm New Guys in Cubs Pinstripes (Meet the Cubs finance department)
4:30pm-5:30pm The Art of Pitching Clinic (Meet Mark Prior’s towel. Hosted by Doug Dascenzo)
8:00pm-Midnight Rock 'n' Roll Revue (Dance the night away drinking $6 beers and well drinks to make you forget how much you paid to revere a sixth place team)

Sunday, January 21
9:00am-10:00am Meet Cubs Business Management (Hosted by the California Avocado Growers Association).
10:30am-11:30am Down on the Farm (Jim Hendry explains why crops don’t grow in Iowa, Tennessee and Daytona)
11:30am-12:45pm "Hello Again Everybody" ... The Harry Caray Story (Remembering when broadcasters had the standing to express disgust with the product on the field)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Loving Lovie

Given the tone of the recent posts here, one might get the impression that this site thinks Lovie Smith is a bad NFL coach. Far from it. Smith is clearly a very good coach as the last few years have shown. He's been very good at devising game plans for the talent he has and he's been very good at getting the most out of his players.

But he's also shown a disturbing stubborn streak. Last year's playoff disaster was a result of some serious inflexibility. The same inflexibility has the team facing significant uncertainty at the quarterback position. The coaching staff should have played more of Brian Griese in these last few meaningless games so they could more properly evalute the position.

The stubborn streak of not wanting to appear to undercut Rex Grossman's status as the clear starter was behind the lack of playing time for Griese.

This stubborn streak is, in this opinion, one of the reasons the Bears have lost some big games under Lovie Smith. And one of the reasons there are still questions on the coaching abilities of Lovie.

Those that bash Lovie as being too unemotional to be a good coach are insane (Tom Landry was oh such a hot head). The issue is, can he adapt to what the best teams and coaches throw at him.

If he doesn't show that ability this weekend, the Bears need to re-evaluate if Lovie Smith is another Phil Jackson or Doug Collins.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Something Familiar

The hot rumor is that a loss by the San Diego Chargers to the New England Patriots this weekend could cost San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer his job. A portion of that reason is that the GM in San Diego, A.J. Smith and Marty hate each other’s guts. Another is that the owner of the Bolts, Alex Spanos, said that the team needed to show significant improvement in 2006.

That sounds very similar to what Chicago Bear President and Chief Stadium Finance Arranger Ted Phillips told NBC just before the Bear-Packer game nine days ago. So, why would until-we-hear-differently Bear Head Coach Lovie Smith get an automatic contract extension, regardless of playoff performance, while Marty gets a severance package?

As discussed in our comment section, Marty also has a poor historical record of playoff performance, John Elway being a big reason why.

But a loss on Sunday and Lovie Smith will be on his way to a lousy playoff record, too. With Lovie already under contract for 2007, there is no reason not to make him earn his money for 2008 with at least one win this year.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Stat of the Day

In Brian Urlacher's career, he's missed eight games. Those games were:

2004 - Game 3 vs. Minnesota
2004 - Game 4 vs. Philidelphia
2004 - Game 10 vs. Indianapolis
2004 - Game 11 vs. Dallas
2004 - Game 14 vs. Houston
2004 - Game 15 vs. Detroit
2004 - Game 16 vs. Green Bay
2004 - Game 16 vs. Minnesota

Those eight games all have two commonalities. First, the Bears lost each one of them.

Second, Mike Brown missed them, too.

Bear Week

There will be some subtle changes to this site this week in honor of the Bears trying to avoid being the only bye-week NFL team to lose three first round playoff games. That they already are teh only team to lose two is irrelevant.

The angst this week will be spilt over Rex Grossman and his ability to win a Super Bowl this year.

This bigger question to this writer is, "Why isn't there more angst being spilt over Lovie Smith, Ron Rivera and Ron Turner and their ability to win a Super Bowl this year?"

Let's stipulate that, for the past two months, Rex has made the 2005 Kyle Orton look like a Pro Bowl quarterback. What inquiring minds want to know is, if Rex is playing so poorly, why, on third down and twos, in a howling wind, does Ron Turner send down a play that calls for a long sideline pass? Why does the team call dangerous swing passes that can easily be picked off? Why does the defense play a lax zone?

If this team wants to win a Super Bowl, they need more than better play from Rex Grossman. They need smarter coaching.

It's too bad Jerry Angelo seems to have taken in-game performance off the table as a motivator for Lovie Smith getting his contact extension. Lovie did a piss poor job last January in being so inflexible in the defensive coverage on Steve Smith in the Bears' playoff loss to the Panthers. If Lovie shows his arrogance again, and another home loss occurs, he should not get an extension and have to live out his contract through the 2007 season.

Until you win a playoff game, you have very little to be arrogant about. Lovie needs to recall that Dave Wannstedt has more playoff wins as a Bear head coach than he has.

This is a franchise that has been an impotent home playoff team the last 20 years as the record shows:

1986 – First round (bye week) home loss to Washington
1987 – First round (bye week) home loss to Washington
1988 – First round (bye week) home win against Eagles; Home loss to San Francisco
1990 – First round home win against Saints
1991 – First round home loss to Dallas
2001 – First round (bye week) home Loss to Eagles
2005 – First round (bye week) home Loss to Carolina

That's 2 wins and 6 losses in a league that the home team wins over 50% of the time. Push that to 2 and 7 and a lot of people will question if Lovie Smith and his coaching staff are "Point C" kind of guys.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Maybe He Thinks He's Ethel Merman

A few day ago, a commenter suggested that Rex Grossman wasn't as bad as Erik Kramer was. Too bad you can't put them together. You'd get:

Do you know what its<br />like being a Bear fan?  It's like falling in the mud and getting kicked, in the head. With an iron boot.
Captain Rex Kramer

Rex was a pretty smart guy. If he's the quarterback, it would be his ship now, his command, he'd be in charge, he'd be the boss, head man, top dog, big cheese! He's said things like, "A Bear home playoff game is a God damn waste of time. There's no way Lovie Smith can win this game. He ought to play in Lake Michigan! At least we'll avoid killing innocent fans."

Well, at least we know he could beat the crap out of a team of religous freaks. I guess that makes him a great matchup against Bill Belachik.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Our Long National Nightmare May Be Returning

Big decisions are pending the outcome of the Bears' playoff game in two weeks. Ted Phillips leaked a rambling message on Sunday Night Football through Andrea Kremer. In a somewhat mixed message, Phillips said that he expects more from Lovie Smith in this years playoffs but that playoff success is not required for Lovie to earn a contract extension.

Well, with last years one-and-done, what the hell could "more" mean other than a win? At the least?

It's going to be very hard for the Bears to give Lovie a contract extension with another playoff meltdown on his resume. The Bears still have Lovie under contract for 2007 so thereis no burning need to get him extended now, is there?

Well, there is if you don't want to have a Lovie Baker situation in Lake Forest all next year. Even David Haugh was smart enough to see this brewing.

But there is another huge decision that will have to be made after next week. And that is the future of the Bears quarterback position. And THAT is going to be determined by people who have been arrogant in defending their past decisions.

Rex Grossman certainly looks like a guy you cannot count on from week to week. He's also approaching the end of his contract (it expires after next year). After Rex, the Bear QB cupboard is empty. Brian Griese is not a guy who you can plan an offense around and Kyle Orton is great if you need an upside down margarita at Iowa City's Sports Column.

If Rex lays a steamer on the Big Orange C in the middle of Soldier Field, the Bears are going to have to select a quarterback in the upcoming draft.

With the looming departure of Lance Briggs, the deterioration of Mike Brown, the uncertainty of Tommie Harris, and the aging of Brian Urlacher, 2006 looks to be the Bears last, best chance for a few years to do anything of note in the NFL.

Then again, the opposite occurs if Rex does well in two weeks. Good Rex means Lovie gets his dough. Rex gets an extension. The Bears plan for 2007 as a playoff year and not a transition. Briggs probably gets tagged. If not, Briggs goes. Rex starts while Troy Smith studies his playbook. And Lovie starts waxing rhapsodic about what he learned at Tulsa from Jim Finks and Bob St. Clair.

Anyone care to lay odds on which outcome will occur?

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