O'Donnell: Bears mistakes by the lake lead to some intense postgame radio
IF THERE WEREN'T MISHAPS, there wouldn't be gaper's blocks.
And there certainly was a mishap for Bears fans Thursday night.
Green Bay's 10-3 win over the sluggish homies left mouths agape, Super Bowl dreams vaporizing and postgame shows hummin'.
The farther a listener got from rights-holder WBBM-AM (780) and Entercom cluster mate WSCR-AM (670), the more slamming and top-spun the comments of "experts."
That meant WGN-AM (720) -- most notably the nostril-flaring tandem of Ed O'Bradovich and Dan Hampton -- led the most stake-oriented of the torch-bearing townsfolk.
"Our offense scored zero points in the preseason, so why should this be a mystery?" Hampton asked.
"The Packers put a boot in our ass!"
"Nagy, you should be run out of town!" O'Bradovich bellowed.
"We've got a huge problem, folks," the one-time Arlington Heights restaurateur added.
"You think it's gonna get cured overnight or in the next week or two?
"We haven't done a damned thing since the Philadelphia Eagles game!"
Over at WBBM, Jim Schwantz was equally pointed, just a bit less Patrick Henry-like:
"If you trust the reigning 'Coach of the Year' to get these guys ready for (opening night), you're trusting that these practices, where he's running his simulated games, that they're getting everything in.
"But you can't simulate playing against Aaron Rodgers."
Ranking the three hosts was easy:
• Ron Gleason, WBBM -- Classic facilitator … Smooth and stayed out of the way of Schwantz and Jay Hilgenberg;
• Mark Carman, WGN -- Has to understand that with O'Bradovich and Hampton, he's not the matador or the bull, not even second trumpet behind Herb Alpert … Say your piece and then leave the lanes open, especially with Glen Kozlowski firing from the fringe;
• Nick Shepkowski, WSCR -- Yikes … 1-877-Kars-4-Kids should send a limo to get this gabby green apple back to the fantasy draft … In the wake of a major civic catastrophe like Thursday evening's stunner, who cares that he met James "Big Cat" Williams at The Auto Show when he was 10 years old?
"The Score" had it roughest, especially the insightful Williams, who was stuck in iso with Shepkowski for what seemed like eternity while Hub Arkush completed a national radio assignment on Westwood One.
In the end, barring some major miracles in Denver by the defense and special teams next weekend, the Bears are quite likely looking at an 0-2 start.
At WBBM, as coverage passed from game team to postgame crew, that eerie probability wasn't lost on the eminently verbose Tom Thayer:
"When you look at the two defensive ends (Vic Fangio) has coming at you in (Bradley) Chubb and Von Miller, that's the type of game that in Jay and I's career, those two defensive ends would keep the offensive tackles up for a week.
"And when you think of the job the offensive line did tonight, which isn't a highlight reel for them, they have a lot of improvement to get through.
"And, they're not going to have any assistance (from) any snap count because Denver's got one of the most supportive home fields in the NFL."
Hampton set up O'Bradovich for an appropriate capper when he suggested that, in the wake of the debacle, the new statues of George Halas and Walter Payton outside of Soldier Field were being covered up.
"You wanna know who's covering 'em up?" O'B growled.
"They came alive for 10 seconds to pull the tarp over themselves!"
STREET-BEATIN': The Chicago market catches an enormous break when WBBM-Channel 2 airs Tennessee-Cleveland with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo calling the action (Sunday, noon). CBS almost opted for Atlanta-Minnesota. ("If there's an all-star team in the NFL right now," Cris Collinsworth said, "It's the Browns.") … Booger McFarland has tabbed Alvin Kamara to win NFL MVP. "Boogs" must have blindly opened a 2019 Pro Football Prospectus and pointed to a page; Joe Walsh -- the rock musician -- has a better chance to be the 2020 Republican presidential nominee. … Mike Tirico -- whose dice are about as hot as Jeff Bezos -- was the only "expert" at any level who could be found picking the Packers to beat the Bears. (It's a great tactic called "herd contrarianism.") … Groupon is offering White Sox tickets at $10, which still seems a little pricey. Maybe a pregame visit with snarly Ed Farmer could seal the September masochist's dream. … Orange Blossom Special: The line on favored Illinois at UConn Saturday opened at 17½ and was pushing 23 toward kickoff. (Lovie Smith may own Urbana before all is said and done.) ... Rich Roeper is pulling some extra duty for Vegas Stats and Info (vsin.com). The versatile Illinois State grad had his g-jones juiced when he cashed for $25K on the 2004 Belmont. … While Arlington Park wafts toward dust in the wind, Bill Carstanjen and his nimble highwaymen at Churchill Downs Inc. announced plans to invest "up to $200 million" in creaky New Latonia Racing and Gaming in northern Kentucky. … Bruce Wolf noted an absent friend when he tweeted: "The spirit of Chet Coppock just told me he expects Chester Marcol to win this game for the Packers on a blocked FG turned into a TD." A Bears home opener was without Coppock for the first time since 1953. … And Dave Chappelle -- in his marvelously brightening new Netflix Original "Sticks & Stones" -- waxed: "Say LeBron James changed his gender. Can he stay in the NBA? Or, because he's a woman, does he have to go to the WNBA, where he will score 840 points a game?"
• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.