Imrem: Chicago Bears' season has a familiar feel

  • Chicago Bears head coach John Fox, left, talks to running back Matt Forte on the sideline before a game earlier this season.

    Chicago Bears head coach John Fox, left, talks to running back Matt Forte on the sideline before a game earlier this season. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/30/2015 7:18 PM

While the Chicago area remains giddy over the Bears' victory over the Packers, let's seize the opportunity to get carried away.

Who knows how long this will last? The Bears could be exposed as playoff pretenders rather than contenders by the end of this sentence.

 

No, the Bears still are OK and autumn leaves still are being blown around by a summer breeze.

Translated, the Bears are resembling the Cubs' run into the playoffs, which didn't gain momentum until August.

Sure, it must be pointed out that the Bears' total rebuild is in its infancy while the Cubs' rebuild was primed to produce.

Sure, as improved as he reputedly is, Jay Cutler still doesn't figure to be as unbeatable down the stretch as Jake Arrieta was.

Sure, nobody on the Bears' defense hits ball carriers as hard as Kyle Schwarber hits baseballs.

Please Bear with me anyway as I draw some parallels.

The Cubs ebbed and flowed through the first two-thirds of the baseball season, just as the Bears have through the first two-thirds of the football season.

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The Cubs benefited from a new, experienced, previously successful manager in Joe Maddon, a description that fits Bears head coach John Fox.

Each arrived in town with no interest in conceding the 2015 season, intent instead on winning sooner than later.

Each was assigned to catch up to his team's traditional rival, Maddon the Cardinals (whom the Cubs beat in the playoffs) and Fox the Packers (whom the Bears beat last week in Lambeau Field).

Maddon coaxed the Cubs into a wild-card playoff berth and Fox is seriously pursuing one.

A major difference between the two is that Maddon is generally open, seducing the media in the process, while Fox is generally closed, frustrating the media in the process.

Their personalities matter only if they're losing. While winning, nobody would mind if they were as appealing as politicians.

Now for the manner in which Fox's and Maddon's initial seasons in town unfolded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Cubs were just meandering along, a few games over .500, unable to gain traction toward the postseason.

Then the Cubs swept a four-game series from the fellow wild-card contending Giants and took off from there.

The Cubs grew up the final two months of the regular season and qualified for the playoffs with relative ease.

The Bears enjoyed a similar Giant -- uh, giant -- moment last week by upsetting the Packers and approaching a .500 record again.

So that's where we are, with the Bears positioned in early December where the Cubs were in early August.

After the sweep of the Giants the Cubs embarked on a softer segment of their schedule. After the victory in Green Bay, the Bears play only one team that is over .500 the remaining five weeks.

Now all the Bears have to do is complete the comparison, which is much easier imagined than accomplished.

The Bears aren't nearly as good at football right now as the Cubs were at baseball back then.

Regardless, there is another significant similarity: This is fun.

The Cubs' season was one big old good time and so too has been the Bears', all the more so because each was an unexpected pleasure.

After the Cubs' young players saved the summer, the Bears' have been doing likewise in autumn.

To this point they have, which is longer than most analysts thought possible.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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