The Bears game went almost exactly as I had thought it would, except I thought some receiver would catch the ball. As it was, I still cleaned up a $100 from a co-worker who shall remain nameless, who gave me +9 and the Bears. That’s how bad it’s been to be a Bears fan the last several years. This guy goes to all the fan conventions for almost every team … and he gave me 9 points. That’s a lot of anger and frustration. I felt his pain when we made the bet after the Bears first pre-season game, when Glennon threw pick number 1. You remember, that goose that got shot at the Bears thirty yard line on the first play of the game against the Broncos. But I was still more than happy to take the 9, cause I’ve been on the wrong side of that over the years.
So driving home from work today and had to immediately flip the station. See, in the morning I listen to Mully and Hanley on the Score 670, instead of Mike and Mike on ESPN 1000. Can’t stand Mike Golic. So after work when I get into my car, the Score is on and it’s Bernstein and Goff. Never thought in a million years I would miss Terry Boers, who has retired recently and been replaced by Jason Goff. But, Terry would have an interesting or funny thought once in a while, that made the commute easier to swallow. Bernstein, on the other hand, is beyond arrogant and has always been tough to take and paired with Goff, their show is almost un-listenable.
Guests like Hub Arkush and Brian Billick are why I listen to the Score, they have some intelligence to them without being very insulting. They bring professionalism to the Score that is sorely lacking. Other guests like Rich Campbell of the Tribune, kind of feed into Bernstein and Goff’s smarter-than-thou bullshit. The Score ought to give Bears beat reporter Zach Zaidman his own show, with say, former Bear Olin Kreutz. The dynamic of a professional politically correct reporter like Zaidman, paired with Kreutz, who is intelligent and very out-spoken, would be Bears coverage dynamite in the afternoons. And the Score should just clean house on the weekends, Steve Rosenbloom has been fired everywhere he has been for a reason. All media outlets around Chicago should focus on getting some young or new talent into their midst. Retreading old talent and perspectives does nothing for the bottom line of these media outlets.
That’s why I believe the Waddle and Silvy show on ESPN 1000 in the afternoon drive is gaining in popularity. Listening to former Bear receiver Tom Waddle is a breath of fresh air on sports radio. Marc Silverman his partner, I could leave, but Waddle is easy to listen to and is respectful of sports and all its’ imperfections and personalities. The production of the show seems professional and the games they play, like Florida versus Ohio, are fun and break up the monotony of talking about the Bears quarterback situation.
It doesn’t hurt that one of their regular contributors is Mike Wilbon from ESPN’s Pardon the Interuption. He is without a doubt, one of the most intelligent and thoughtful commentators on sports going right now. The fact that he is a former Chicagoan, a Northwestern alumnus, Bears and Cubs fan, is really a plus for the listener. He is very diverse in his tastes and attitudes about pop culture and sports. On my most recent drive home, he commented about being in town for the BMW Golf Championship and listening to the other sports radio in Chicago during his drive to the golf tournament. He said exactly what I have been thinking all week about the media masses in town who have been trying to argue, like Adam Jahns from the Sun-Times, that the Bears could’ve won on Sunday with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback.
I am paraphrasing, but Wilbon said, anyone who thinks a rookie quarterback like Trubisky, can come in and win a game in his debut in the NFL, against the NFC Champ, after starting only 13 games in college, is a complete idiot, a moron! He backed this up by saying, you think Peyton Manning could come in after starting 4 years at Tennessee and win, well he didn’t (he went 3-13). Troy Aikman went 1-15. He went on to say that the Bears coaching staff has just a little more experience than the rest of us, when it comes time to evaluate when a player is ready, like Bears running back Tarik Cohen, and when they are not, like rookie tight end Adam Shaheen, 9 snaps Sunday.
The guy tells it like it is, and is always using past history of great teams and players as an indicator for future results. Wilbon and Waddle, also tend to give coaches the benefit of the doubt, before criticizing. These hosts choose instead, to try and put themselves in the coaches shoes, to dissect their decision making process before being overly critical. It also doesn’t hurt to have two outstanding reporters in Jeff Dickerson with the Bears beat and Jesse Rogers, on the Cubs beat. And I almost forgot to mention the contributions of ABC TV’s Mark Giangreco, who comes by the studio before and after his shift on television. It’s lighthearted, informative and entertaining to hear these people, instead of the seemingly endless drone of caller after caller complaining about this, that and the other. It’s like you never left work, but you did. Leave the drama and the Score behind, at least until they move Mike Mulligan.
Mike Wilbon is and has become one of the best in the business by being a common sense reporter for the common man, he is also seemingly one of the friendliest. He always talks about his visits to Chicago, which are many and the people be bumps into, especially at Wrigley Field. Even though I am personally not a fan of the Cubs, he is. When he comes on the show, I have to admit, I enjoy hearing him talk about the Cubs. Which is a lot more than I can say for the Cubs TV crew of Jim Deshaies and Len Kasper, dreadful and boring. I thought nothing would make me miss Ron Santo. Here’s hoping that Wilbon can end his career back in Chicago, maybe in the Cubs booth. Because listening to him, with Silvy and Waddle on the radio, it’s like eavesdropping at a bar on a conversation that is joyful, entertaining and above all, enthusiastic. This isn’t waiting for the shoe to drop. This isn’t dour and complaining, this is just think about the possibilities, because that’s what sports is supposed to be about… is fun!