Blocking, not singing, will beat Packers
Lee DeWyze was led to believe he would sing the national anthem at the Bears-Packers game Sunday.
Supposedly FOX wanted to use "American Idol" winner DeWyze for promotional purposes.
Public protests arose, and now Mount Prospect's very own DeWyze will perform at halftime. The Blackhawks' very own Jim Cornelison will sing the anthem.
All this means is the NFL postseason has become the silly season.
Maybe it's good that DeWyze was bumped from the "Star-Spangled Banner." If the Bears lost, some dizzies would have blamed him like some still blame Bartman.
Never mind that maybe Matt Forte didn't pick up a blitzing Clay Matthews or that Julius Peppers didn't sniff Aaron Rodgers all day.
It would be Lee DeWyze's fault just as, you know, Bruce Springsteen's last album caused the recession.
No offense, but this side of Benny the Bull, the national anthem is the most overrated motivational tool in the history of professional sports.
It's amusing — a nicer word than dumb — that fans objected to DeWyze like the outcome of the game was at stake.
Apparently they believe Cornelison's rousing rendition in Soldier Field last week enabled the Bears to beat the sub-.500 Seahawks.
By the way, we should point out that this mini-controversy was a sure sign that we in the media have run out of cute little angles surrounding the NFC championship game.
Managers of cheese stops across the border in Wisconsin have been used up. So have third-graders in Chicago's inner city.
Anyway, let's ponder the "Star-Spangled Banner" issue because, well, yes, I also am out of offbeat column ideas.
Even Washington Post columnist Cindy Boren wrote this week, "Whether there's such a thing as homefield advantage in the NFL playoffs may be debatable, but when Jim Cornelison sings, there's a national-anthem advantage in Soldier Field."
Maybe Boren attended a Hawks playoff game in the United Center last spring and fell under the spell of Cornelison's anthem.
He sang. The crowd roared. We got chills. The Hawks went on to win the Stanley Cup.
But some nights Cornelison sings, the crowd roars, we get chills, and the Hawks lose.
Listen, this is Chicago. Fans here are as enthusiastic and knowledgeable as any anywhere in the country regardless of who sings what.
All a Bears crowd needs to get jacked up at playoff time is a good team and smuggled brandy. Since October, the team has been good and Soldier Field has been loud.
Sure, the home crowd can help inspire players, make it hard for visiting teams to hear signals, and lend meaning to "Not in our house!"
But it doesn't matter who sings the anthem, or that Lovie Smith pleads with fans for support, or that a noise-o-meter shows up on the big screens.
Blocking, tackling and Soldier Field's loose turf are what's important.
Seriously, Chicago sports fans know when to create atmosphere, positively or negatively, the Bears now or Cubs last summer, whichever is appropriate.
The Bears didn't start winning because crowds were loud; crowds are loud because the Bears started winning.
OK, now that the anthem issue is resolved we can call everybody in the phone book named Halas or Lombardi to ask why they think the Bears or Packers will win.
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