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Monday, May 20

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Bears in Five - Packing Up for Christmas
by Craig Aichele, Ramsin Canon and friends

The Noble Street Headquarters temporary relocated for the Sunday Night Game against the Atlanta Falcons. We traveled over to Billy Goat, bellied up to the bar, and took in the game munching on delicious burgers and sipping adequate whiskey. When we first got there, we where the only people in the joint, but as the night wore on passerby saw signs of life inside and began to come in, until by the mid second quarter, the bar was full and those at it drunk. When the Bears yanked Orton at half time and Sexy Rexy trotted onto the field, a furor swept across the Billy Goat, with a camp of pro-Rexes (e.g., me) and an anti-Rex contingent (everybody else). Also, there was the annoyed staff waiting for us to pay our tabs and leave. Just as I predicted on our 4th show on Bearscast.com, Grossman came in in the third quarter and provided the spark the team needed, forcing the Falcons linebackers to respect the pass, freeing up the running game a bit; it is no coincidence that most of Thomas Jones' yards came in the second half. Welcome back, Rex. We look forward to continuing the Grossman Era of Chicago Football (the Shane Matthews Era can finally be laid to rest).

One: Was it actually cold out Sunday night or was it just Kyle Orton?
Welcome back, Rex Grossman. We didn't realize just how much we missed you. And how much we enjoyed watching completed passes. While Grossman wasn't overly impressive, Kyle Orton was just terrible. As much as we like the guy, it has become far too difficult to defend him and say that he deserves to keep his starting job. Orton has regressed over the past few games and looks worse than he did in the pre-season. A 2 for 10 performance is not something you want out of your starting quarterback. If Grossman is named the starter this week, as he probably should/will, the Bears instantly become a more exciting offensive team. And if he beats the Packers on Christmas to clinch the NFC North title, he could find himself the next mayor of Chicago.

Two: You forgot to punish him with your weight Tank.
Yes, Tank Johnson sacked Mike Vick on Sunday night. Yes, that Mike Vick. The Bears defense rebounded nicely from a poor game against Pittsburgh and dominated the Atlanta Falcons. Alex Brown got a "sort-of" sack when he batted a pass back into Vick's hands, and then tackled him. Technically it was a reception for Vick and just a normal tackle for Brown, but the effect was that of a big sack. The Falcons needed to run the football in order to win. They couldn't. The passing game became one dimensional as Vick's favorite target, TE Alge Crumpler, was shut down. Why did the Falcons appear to be so out of their element? That's an easy one. The Bears have the best linebackers in the NFL. And if anyone tells you otherwise, you have our permission to tackle that person. The worries we had about injured starters seem foolish as we look back. Even Mike Green played like a professional football player. Didn't see that coming. Neither did Atlanta.

Three: Finally, a little respect. But more would be nice.
Fan voting for the Pro Bowl concluded recently and the teams will be named later on this week. People are starting to notice. Brian Urlacher led all defensive players in the NFL with well over 400,000 votes from the fans. Olin Kruetz is leading all other NFC centers with Brendon Ayanbadejo topping the list for special teams players. Rumor has it that Nathan Vasher is second in votes for cornerback. All of this is nice, lets just hope that when the votes from the players and coaches are tallied a few more of our Bears are rewarded with a trip to Hawaii.

Four: The best Christmas gift ever.
Bears 147, Packers 0. That would be nice. Of course that won't be the final score. But the Bears will win this Christmas Sunday. And that would mean they clinch not only a playoff spot but the NFC North title as well. So there it is, all we want for Christmas is another W. If the Bears fail to lose (pshaw), they can still clinch if the Vikings lose. Check this out, though: if the Bears win their final two games and the Seahawks lose their final two games, we could clinch the top spot in the NFC. If the Bears win their last two, they would clinch a first-round bye and home field advantage in at least one game.

Five: Hey Brett Favre, retire already.
Hey Brett Favre, retire already. Just in case you missed our column a few weeks ago, our thoughts on this subject haven't changed. But not before our rejuvenated defense gets another 60 minutes of smacking you around, of course. We'll always respect Brett Favre, but we'll never like him. By the way, did you know Rex Grossman has never lost at Lambeau? (He's 1-0).

 

Sox in Five - Dreaming of a White Sox Christmas
by Steve Gozdecki

The sun is hiding
The grass is gone
The barren leafless trees shudder.
I've never seen such a frozen clutter
In Chicago, oh brother.
But it's December the 24th
And I am glad not to be up North.

I'm dreaming of a White Sox Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where the ribbon boards glisten,
And children listen
To hear fireworks while the Sox go go go.
I'm dreaming of a White Sox Christmas
With every World Series DVD in sight.
May the Cell be merry and bright.
And may all your stockings be White.

Go youuuuuu Whiiiiiiite Sooooooxxxxxxx. (And apologies to Irving Berlin.)

 

Bulls in Five
by Jason Maslanka

...is on hiatus until after mid-January.

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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 bears@gapersblock.com.

Steve Gozdecki has been a White Sox fan his entire life, with the exception of an ill-advised flirtation with the 1984 Cubs. Because he swears by the work of the "baseball outsiders," who believe that statistic analysis trumps things like subjective evaluations and team chemistry, he finds himself baffled by the success his team is having in this 2005 season. Each week through the end of the Sox's playoff run — which will hopefully end around Halloween — Steve will bring you five crucial talking points you can use the next time someone says, "Hey, how 'bout them Sox?" Send comments to sox@gapersblock.com.

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