Imrem: More no-shows could facilitate real change
Thursday was no night to count no-shows in Soldier Field.
The skies were dark. The seats were dark. The future was dark. The present was dark. The mood was dark.
Distinguishing whether seats were full or empty was a difficult assignment.
Still, what else was there to do? Watch the Bears lose again, this time 41-28 to Dallas? Watch them not even be competitive again?
(Spoiler alert: There were 6,293 no-shows ... not nearly enough.)
The game was interesting until the Cowboys decided to be interested. Then they scored a touchdown with eight seconds left in the first half, then 2 more TDs during the first seven minutes of the second half.
Then … oh, forget it.
All you need to know is that the Bears went from a 7-7 tie to giving up the next 4 touchdowns.
However, the Bears didn't quit, essentially because they didn't have to. They could rally all they wanted until an obligatory Jay Cutler interception would end the threat.
"This team competes hard every day," head coach Marc Trestman said.
This team also is so overmatched when confronted by any sign of NFL competence that it can play its cleats off and still be crushed.
General manager Phil Emery didn't provide Trestman with enough good players. Even if he had, indications are that Trestman wouldn't know what to do with them.
"We're making too many mistakes, too many penalties, in all three phases," Trestman said.
Realistically, nothing in a Bears game has been all that meaningful since they gave up a combined 106 points in consecutive games at midseason.
Before the game, the Bears had less than a 1 percent chance to make the playoffs. Afterward, they might be eliminated from next season's playoffs.
Now the number of fans in the stands is more important than the points on the scoreboard. The only positive that could come of this would be that no-shows are higher Dec. 15 against the Saints and highest Dec. 21 against the Lions.
That'll make three straight home games, in the cold, with people having better things to do as the holidays approach.
The number of fans at these three games is important because if nothing else, the McCaskey ownership is sensitive to how disgusted the Bears' following is.
It's not lost money, what with all the tickets already sold. It's the embarrassment.
No business owner wants to know that the product is so bad that people will refuse to use it even after paying for it.
There have been other Decembers when the Bears were futile, the crowds were dwindling and the McCaskeys were steaming.
This is a gentle family -- too gentle for professional football -- but even they can be pushed over the edge toward dramatic changes.
The only element missing this year is that the Bears are done playing Green Bay. The McCaskeys hate being clobbered at home by the Packers, especially with more Green and Gold than Orange and Blue in the crowd.
The Bears are 5-8 now and only victories in the final three games will enable them to match last season's 8-8 record.
"I'm still kind of surprised we're in this situation," Cutler said. "It didn't happen by mistake, that's for sure."
As much as the McCaskeys are irritated by losing, a sparsely attended Soldier Field game is itchy rash.
So, you see, no-shows can be bright spots even on a dark and gloomy night.
Hopefully more are on the way for the next two games.