Tag Archives: Chicago Bears

Who’s the more aggrieved Bay Area athlete – Alex Smith or Brian Wilson?

There’s nothing “tender” in the dispensing of major league contracts to baseball players. San Francisco last week declined to offer a contract to Brian Wilson, the fierce and funky closer who in 2010 helped the Giants win their first World Series since the franchise bolted New York for the West Coast.

Wilson has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.  He was grounded for the season after two early appearances in 2012, a year in which the Giants would again be champions. Although he wasn’t on the mound after April, he remained a spirited force in the dugout and clubhouse the entire season. His full bearded, goofy antics — playing organ on a teammate’s cap — were an integral part of the Giants’ personality for several seasons.

In the end, that meant bupkis.

Wilson reportedly is angry and ready to sign with another team, and who can blame him?

But is Wilson the most aggrieved athlete in the Bay Area? Consider Alex Smith, the 49ers quarterback who’s been benched after sustaining a concussion and having to watch Colin Kaepernick step in and lead the team to consecutive victories.

Wilson’s arm injury was serious and a second go-round, keeping him out of play essentially for a full season while Sergio Romo eventually took over as closer, was tested for weeks during the season and playoffs and was nearly flawless as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

Not to diminish the impact of his injury, but Smith suffered a concussion and wasn’t able to play for just two games.

Kaepernick, in his second season, stepped in. He took the snaps in a game when the Rams and 49ers tied, then performed phenomenally as the 49ers stomped the Bears on Monday Night Football. He did well again last weekend against the Saints.

It’s Coach Jim Harbaugh’s call to make, but I think he owes Smith better treatment.

Under Harbaugh’s direction, Smith emerged as an excellent quarterback in the 2011 season, taking the team to the NFC championship game. The game was lost in overtime when an inexperienced 49ers player botched a punt return in overtime; the Giants got the ball and kicked the winning field goal.

The 49ers have treated Smith shabbily over the years, and demoting him is just another kick in the pants. I actually think he’s getting a rawer deal than Wilson is. Wilson’s situation evolved; Smith’s changed suddenly.

Either way, I wish both players nothing but success in 2013, when they’ll both be wearing new uniforms.

Try as I might, I can’t get behind the Green Bay Packers

You’d think someone who spent a significant chunk of his life in Wisconsin, met his wife there and has two cheesehead children would be backing the Green Bay Packers in the NFL playoffs. But that’s not the case with me.

I tried to like the Packers when I lived in Milwaukee in the late 70s and early 80s. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do so. My allegiance to the Browns was still strong then, and the Packers under coach Bart Starr stunk.

I’d prefer that the Packers beat Atlanta today, my only connection to the Falcons being that I played on a grade school flag football team named for the 1966 expansion franchise. If the Packers lose, I’ll be a bit disappointed but won’t really care.

So who will I back? Certainly not the hated Steelers or ex-Browns Ravens. I tilted toward the Giants when I worked in New York, so forget the Jets and the Patriots. I had Seahawks’ season tickets for four seasons but today’s team leaves me cold.

Which leaves the Packers’ ancient rivals, the Chicago Bears. And I’m hoping they win it all.

The Bears have every bit as great a tradition as the Packers, and Chicago is a manly city full of passionate fans.  For this batch of playoffs, Da Bears are my team.

Don’t bother Tiger Woods, officer. He’s sleeping.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Tiger+Woods&iid=7029112″ src=”9/9/1/c/2009_Australian_Masters_8b90.jpg?adImageId=7920619&imageId=7029112″ width=”234″ height=”150″ /]Before the Tiger Woods story erupted this Thanksgiving weekend, I’d been ruminating on the differences between elite athletes and us mere men and women. Highly paid pro athletes like Woods in golf or Alex Rodriguez in baseball or LeBron James in basketball exist on a plane at which most of us mortals can only gawk or to which at best we can only aspire.

Hardly a week goes by when some pro isn’t whining about his wretched lot and demanding to be traded from a team that doesn’t sufficiently suck up to his skills and whims. Last year Jay Cutler could no longer stomach the Denver Broncos and by continual harangues orchestrated his way to the Chicago Bears.

Whining about your misfortune seems almost a requirement in the NBA, where a decade ago we had the famous case of Latrell Sprewell trying to strangle coach P.J. Carlissimo of the Golden State Warriors. Sprewell was dealt to the New York Knicks and kept playing. The Warriors, in fact, seem to have more than their share of the tempermental. Chris Webber famously bullied his way off the team in the mid-90s, and this year Stephen Jackson wanted out and got it.

It’s the same in baseball and football, where top college players have turned up their noses at some NFL franchises even before the draft.

Could any of us get away with this kind of behavior in our workplaces or communities?

“Sorry, boss, I don’t want to work evenings.”

“Either I decide my own assignments or you’re going to have to put me in a better job at a better location.”

“I’m sorry, officer, but my husband is asleep and isn’t available to answer your questions about how at 2:30 in the morning he ran over the fire hydrant and crashed into the neighbors’ tree.”

This is the point at which I’d normally conclude by saying “Give me a break.” But I’m not eligible for such. I don’t make enough money.

The NFL goes ‘pink’ to fight breast cancer

Bears wear pinkA tip of the cap to the National Football League, which is raising awareness about breast cancer this week with its “Crucial Catch” campaign. In partnership with the American Cancer Society, the league is encouraging women – especially those over the age of 40 – to get yearly screenings to detect breast cancer as early as possible. As part of the campaign, NFL coaches are wearing caps with pink bills (as shown by Bears coach Lovie Smith in this Chicago Tribune photo) and the players are wearing pink gloves. I thought I saw a few pink shoes flashing by in the Oakland-Houston game, at least on the Texans. The Raiders weren’t moving very fast.

The Oakland Raiders cap: Nothing underneath

If I had an Oakland Raiders cap, I sure wouldn’t wear it today. This once proud AFL and NFL franchise has fallen about as low as it can go. Today, the team got drubbed 24-0 by the Atlanta Falcons, hardly the Monsters of the Midway.

Where have you gone, Daryle Lamonica?