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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, July 18

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Bears in Five - Bear Down, Playoff Bears!
by Craig Aichele, Ramsin Canon and friends

The Chicago Bears are headed for the playoffs in fine fashion, at 11-5, as division champs and with a first-round bye. We at the Noble Street Headquarters didn't really bother watching the full game on Sunday, to be perfectly honest. There was a DeGrassi: The Next Generation marathon going on; also we were really hung over. So excuse us as we ignore that game, and focus on the next few weeks.

One: The NFC Play-Off Picture
The NFC play-off teams are the Washington Redskins, the Carolina Panthers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears. The Bears and Seattle have first-round byes, but Seattle is the number-one seed, which means they will have home-field advantage no matter who they play until the Super Bowl. The Bears will have home-field advantage against any team but the Seahawks. Because the Seahawks won the Conference, they will play the lowest seed to come out of the Wild Card game, and the Bears will play the highest seed. The Panthers play the Giants and the Redskins play the Buccaneers. If Carolina and Tampa both win, the Bears get Tampa. If Washington and Carolina win, they get Carolina. If Washington and New York win, they get New York; if New York and Tampa win, they get New York. Got it? Good.

Two: Lovie's First Mistake
Lovie has done an almost perfect coaching job this season, but not playing Rex Grossman at all this week may have been a major error. Sexy Rexy has only played 6 quarters this season, and he needs as much game-speed action as he can get going into the postseason. Rex got absolutely no playing time on Sunday, and although he's obviously got some injury issues, taking a few snaps against a desperate defense would have gone along way towards getting him ready. Now Rexy has two weeks off before his next game, and our offense is not necessarily potent enough to overcome mistakes early in the game.

Three: Coach Of The Freaking Year
With all due respect to Tony Dungy and the amazing job he's done at Indianapolis, not to mention his personal family tragedy, Lovie Smith has to be the consensus choice for Coach of the Year. Almost every major sports publication had the Bears picked for one of the four or five worst teams in the league, and only one had them at above .500 (the Sporting News). This was no 2001 fluke season. It wasn't a matter of some lucky breaks: the Bears game planning was excellent and compensated for their weakness at the quarterback position until their starter was ready to go, and Lovie put him in at the exact right moment. Here's hoping they make the right decision.

Four: Who We Want to Play
The Noble Street gang is split on the issue of our ideal opponent; the Redskins were the only NFC team our starters lost to all season. Be that as it may, they pose little threat to us. However, as the lowest seed in the playoffs, we can't play them until the NFC Championship game. We beat both Tampa and Carolina during the regular season, which bodes well for us, except when you figure that the likelihood of beating either of those well-coached, physically bruising teams twice in one season isn't great. Ramsin feels our biggest threat, though, comes from the New York Giants, whose style of offense is suited perfectly to beating teams that play the style of Cover-2 Defense the Bears play. Craig is of the opinion that Tampa, who we beat once and whose offense is in a similar situation to our with an inexperienced young quarterback, is our biggest threat. The Tampa defense is the second best in the NFC, and the Giants defense is in the bottom quarter. With Tampa, there is also a weather advantage. The consensus? Hey, Carolina, let's play two!

Five: Will We Lose Our Jobs After the Bears Win The Superbowl?
The members of the Noble Street League are all too young to really remember the last Bears Superbowl. I mean, we remember it, but we were to young to drink to celebrate, which is what matters. So when the Bears beat the Panthers and then the Seahawks to decimate the Patriots in the big game, how lenient will our employers be? Will they really expect us to show up for work the next day? Seriously? Because I'm expecting at least two days of continuous celebration. So, employers of Chicago, what we're trying to say is: Take It Easy.


Bulls in Five
by Jason Maslanka

...will return next week.

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About the Author(s)

Craig Aichele, Ramsin Canon and friends are not really friends but rather fierce competitors on the fantasy gridiron. They meet weekly to embarass each other with random football trivia at the Noble Street League HQ. This is where they write their column. Craig knows where every professional athlete went to college, and in some cases the names of their roommates. Creepy. Send comments to

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