I don’t like talking too much about myself in these articles, because really who cares? This isn’t one of those cooking blogs where people tell a 500-word story about themselves and then tells you how to make “authentic” Thai Iced Tea or whatever (it’s not? – ED). With that said, I need to preface what I’m about to say by telling you a tiny bit about me.

The meagre five-figure salary that Fels pays me to write for FFUD only covers so much, so I moonlight as a high school teacher. I work with low-income, high-risk kids that have been expelled from their home schools for whatever reason. It’s been this way for the last five years. I love my job, and I’m good at it. In 2017, I won a “Heroes in the Classroom” award for my work, which was from some company called Symetra and sponsored by the Bears. I scored tickets to a game, got my dumb face on the jumbotron, got a signed football from Leonard Floyd, went to Halas Hall and got a custom jersey with my name on it. Pretty cool shit, all things considering. It’s one of the coolest moments of my life. The wonderful human being who nominated me for that award knew how much of a Bears fan I am.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about Jameis Winston. Not only is he a league-average quarterback at best, he’s an awful human being. So, imagine my disappointment seeing so many Bears or national blogs linking Winston to Chicago this upcoming offseason. There are a ton of things this team needs, but Jameis ain’t it, man.

(Side note: I like this Bears team. They’re scrappy, they like each other, and for the most part the team has good character guys on the roster now. For the most part over time up until the present day, I’ve had okay feelings about rooting for most players on the Bears, though some players have done some pretty rough stuff and still gotten money from the organization after.)

I’ve always wondered how Steelers fans still root for Ben Rothlisberger, or Chiefs fans root for Tyreek Hill, and I always feared this day would come- even if the Bears don’t sign Jameis, they are bound to sign someone who has been potentially involved with some publicly-known assault allegation. How does that make you feel? It leaves me feeling incredibly conflicted.

Goddammit I love football so much and it would be so… hopeless(?) to boycott the franchise. If they sign Jameis I couldn’t watch the Bears the way I always have, I’ll feel completely disconnected from the team I have grown to love football because of. I know, it’s so bleeding-heart and it doesn’t make any difference to their bottom line, but I can’t do what I do professionally and with my entire heart while also rooting for a team that employs someone who did what he did in Tallahassee in 2012, and then again to an Uber driver in 2016.

How could I go into my classroom on a Monday morning and try to empower young women to advocate for themselves knowing the day before I was cheering on a man who has repeatedly taken agency away from women? The short answer is I can’t. The long answer is I can sit on my couch at noon on Sundays and make excuses: maybe act like people are just making baseless accusations, or say that my boycott wouldn’t matter anyways so who cares, or even just say fuck it and watch it knowing I’m a hypocrite.

This article is my promise to myself that I won’t make any excuses. If the Bears sign Jameis, I’ll start writing about something else during the week. Maybe I’ll be the fantasy football guy, or I’ll write different reviews of the same Truckfighters album every week, whatever. I won’t make excuses. I’ll just watch RedZone instead. I won’t make excuses.

Look, I know I’ve lost 99% of you reading this by now, but if you’re still there: I’m not judging you. Football means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and your reasons to continue to watch people like Tyreek Hill or Ben Rothlisberger or Ezekiel Elliott are yours and not for me to critique. For me, though? I can’t be a “Hero in the Classroom” and also support the type of people that I want to protect my students from. If the Bears sign Jameis Winston, I can’t continue to hold onto that award.

That stupid certificate and jersey and football are the coolest things I own, but I don’t feel okay having them around if they evolve to be representations of an organization that gives millions of dollars to someone who has done what he has done.

I don’t know what I’ll do with that stuff if the Bears sign him. I won’t burn it like so many MAGA dorks and their Colin Kaepernick jerseys, because that’s so dramatic and silly. Maybe I’ll put it all in storage, or just throw it out. If I put it in storage, maybe I’ll revisit it someday. I don’t know how these things work, really. Do I like “get over it” when the Bears cut Jameis after he throws for 40 interceptions in 2021? Do I hold a grudge forever, and just cut off that part of me for good? I don’t know.

These questions are so big to me, this whole thing has me fucked up. I don’t know what to do or feel, and I just hope I don’t have to make that moral decision this spring. Since I know for a fact that Virginia reads my articles: Please don’t sign Jameis. Please.

I’d feel the same way if Jameis was the QB who would take the Bears to the Super Bowl, for what it’s worth. Winning is always “the most important thing” but employing people like that doesn’t feel like winning no matter what happens on the field. The game is all about winning, but life is bigger than the game. Showing people that the organization won’t give millions to people who have proven to be a danger to women is bigger than the game. Recognizing that people care who plays for the Bears is bigger than wins and losses, it’s bigger than the game.

You and me, as individuals, no matter who you are reading this- we’re bigger than the game. Our safety is bigger than the game. Respecting people’s bodily autonomy is bigger than the game, as is not rewarding those who don’t respect it.


Everything Else

Matt Nagy finally did it. They finally let Mitchell Trubisky run around and do what he loves, and guess what? It was all a  Borat voice GREAT SUCCESS as the Bears win their third straight to go over .500 for the first time in 10 weeks with a 31-24 victory.

Mitch ran for 64 yards (season high) and a touchdown to go along with a 23/31 line and 244 yards through the air with 3 more TDs in what feels like his best performance in a long, long time. David Montgomery added 86 yards on the ground, Allen Robinson accounted for 48 yards and two scores and the Tight End combo of Jesper Horsted and J.P. Holtz combined for a line of 7/92 to round everything out. Horsted and Holtz represent big time positives from a position that’s been a massive disappointment this season, if not the last few years. That impact was felt in the successful run game as well, with the tandem’s ability to seal off the edges and get to the second level.

The Cowboys started things off with a the longest TD drive of the NFL season in terms of time and plays, a 17 play, 8:57 minute drive that resulted in an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run and a 7-0 Dallas lead. A Trubisky INT at the goalline would give Dallas the ball back before the end of the first quarter, but from there the Bears would reel off 2 straight points and Dallas would not convert a third down until late in the fourth quarter.

Dallas would make things appear interesting with a few late TDs of their own, but the game was pretty well decided after a Trubisky TD pass to Allen Robinson to open the second half, capping an 11 play, 84 yard drive to put Chicago up 24-7 with Dallas reeling. A David Montgomery fumble (a play that arguably could/should’ve been stopped for progress, but whatever) late in the third quarter would help Dallas keep hope alive, but it would prove too little too late as Trubs led a three play, 60 yards TD capped by his rushing TD to ice the game.

The defense was frustrated on the opening drive, giving up swaths of yardage on the ground and unable to get off the field on third down, something they’re normally used to dealing with late in games. Pagano would tighten things up and make adjustments in the looks from his front seven, though, to stifle the Dallas offense of Dak Prescott and Elliott, and doing so mostly without Roquan Smith who left the game early during the second Dallas drive with a Pec injury.

If there was a negative for the Bears, it was injuries. Already without Prince Amukamara, Danny Trevathan and Akiem Hicks, the loss of Smith to what is likely a serious injury (you don’t get ruled out within minutes for a ‘minor’ pec injury) will make running the table in the final three games that much harder. Montgomery also went into the blue medical tent after a short carry with two and change left, again less than ideal. there was no immediate report on Montgomery, so we’ll all hold our breath until more news on Friday.

The Bears now have 10 days to heal up and game plan for Green Bay on the road. Things got closer than they needed to, but all in all a positive night that keeps the dream alive. Mitch was buzzing, Khalil Mack was alive (3 QB hits, 1 Sack, 1 TFL) and everyone went home happy…except for Jason Garrett, who might find himself without a job before he gets to the team plane.




Tony: Are the Bears cursed?

It’s a funny question, I know. Obviously sports curses aren’t real, except for the very real Curse of Colonel Sanders placed upon the Hanshin Tigers in (creepily) 1985. Yet every Bears team that has come close to the ’85 Bears have fallen short, for myriad reasons: QB injuries in the NFC Championship game, Danieal Manning forgetting that Peyton Manning can throw deep, the double doink… I could go on but I won’t. Could curses be real, and is the Bears franchise carrying some demons that need to be exorcised?

Today’s Matchup is going to look at the way the Chicago Bears franchise is haunted by the ghosts of the ’85 team, and why it’s time we forget those ghosts and stopped holding the current team up to that legendary group every year.

Every new coach says on day one that they need to beat the Packers first and foremost, a cute little throwback to the era before free agency when players stayed with one organization for their entire career and developed a passionate hatred for their division rivals, and not necessarily what I want to hear from a new coach. I will defend to my grave that if the Bears went 14-2 and won a Super Bowl but lost both games to the Packers, I’d be just as thrilled. This is totally a throwback to those 80s Bears/Packers bloodbaths that I wasn’t even alive for, so just drop it! I hate the Packers, sure, but I’d rather see the Bears win a Super Bowl.

The Bears franchise narrative has been rooted in the identity of the ’85 team for my entire life (I was born in ’86). They are supposed to have a handful of things, regardless of anything else:

-Bad QB play

-A stud RB

-Great defense

-Fantasy football irrelevance

As crazy as it sounds, I feel like the front office drafts to this identity either consciously or not. Mitchell Trubisky is the highest the Bears have taken a QB since 1951 when they took Bob Williams (and also in 1939 when they drafted the QB that most consider the best in Bears history- Sid Luckman). Considering they passed on two other signal callers who have much more success in the league thus far, it’s an interesting thought that maybe this was a concerted effort to trade up and explicitly break the narrative. However, Mitch is, well, Mitch, and the Bears are like the Weedians walking through the desert on the cover of Sleep’s “Dopesmoker,” wandering in a haze forever on a permanent search for the franchise’s first amazing QB.

Shitty QB play isn’t the be all end all: Tampa Bay, Baltimore (twice!), and the Giants (also twice!) have won with 1uarterbacks that are at or below The Dalton Line. It’s the defensive side of the ball that has to consistently be held up to the ’85 team in a totally unfair way. Offenses in 1985 were way more run-heavy: only two teams had over 4000 passing yards on the season, whereas 14 teams threw for over 4000 in 2018 (with two teams breaking 5000 yards). Buddy Ryan was a genius and that defense was stacked, but given the way the league was at the time, you could stack the box and force the issue like the 46 did. One of the two teams that threw for over 4000 yards that year was Miami, who as you surely know were the only team to beat the 46.

Let it be said that the current year and a half run of the Bears defense should be considered the best this team has ever looked. We are blessed, but nobody is going to do anything but compare this team to ’85, and the current defense is so much better. Over the last 28 games, they have totally dominated and are easily the best defense in the league. Argue with me about stats on this team all you want, but they haven’t gotten to play with a significant lead very often and usually spend 65% of their time on the field after multiple three-and-outs by the offense. The ’85 team used talent and a revolutionary scheme to field an absolute monster, but this incarnation of the defense beats an offense simply by being better. They might be better if Vic stayed, but they can still get after people.

Are Bears fans destined to spend the next 20 years making up “Buddy Ryan’s Curse” theories until the team finally wins a championship? Fuck, that’s depressing. The Bears need to win a Super Bowl soon, but I’ll be looking forward to it so we can forget 1985.


Wes: I can’t think that the Cowboys or any of their fans would say they’re cursed, but they definitely have the ghost of lofty expectations haunting them. 

Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Jimmy Johnson made up the NFL dynasty of the 1990’s in Big D and crazy asshole Jerrah Jones has been chasing that dragon for nearly 30 years. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Jason Garrett are the most recent trifecta looking to succeed where so many others have failed…but their window is closing quicker than Jones pal Papa John’s decline. 

While Chicago chases one title from over 30 years ago, Dallas is looking for a fix of 5+ years of dominance and three straight Super Bowl Titles from 1992-94. We could take it back to the 70’s too when the Cowboys went to five Super Bowls and won two with QB Roger Staubach and Legendary Head Coach Tom Landry. Cowboys fans were used to success, even if that success was every other decade. 

Well, the ‘boys are staring at 25 years since their last NFL title and almost as long since they appeared in the NFC Championship. Jones has burned through coaches like Bill Parcells and Wade Philips and quarterbacks like Tony Romo and…umm…Jon Kitna, winning plenty of Division titles, but watching the Giants and Eagles come out of the NFC East and win NFL titles (and do it over the current and possibly best NFL dynasty in history in the evil empire of the New England Patriots). 

Dallas and Chicago have actually had a sort of similar run since the late 90s, with Chicago arguably seeing better success having made it to a Super Bowl and a handful of deep runs through the NFC playoffs…albeit not recently. Similar QB issues, similar coaching issues, similar disappointed fans. 

Dak, Zeke and Garrett are the latest to take a stab at conquering the NFL and bringing glory back to big D, with Garrett currently holding on as one of the longest tenured HCs in the league despite a scant 2-3 record on three playoff appearances since 2010. Nine seasons, three NFC East titles and three playoff flame outs (including the infamous Dez Bryant non-TD catch being reversed on replay in Green Bay back in 2014). He’s probably gotten such a long leash because he took over a dumpster fire – points if you remember the Stephen McGee days – in 2010 and is working on a fourth NFC East title in six years. Garrett’s seat is seemingly forever hot, though, with Jones as a boss. He’s routinely discussed as finally losing his job, and failing to win a very disappointing 2019 NFC East and surprising in the playoffs will probably see his run come to an end. Maybe a fitting way to end the decade?

Dak Prescott rose from relative mediocrity as a mid-round draft pick to surprise as a very capable NFL QB, much like Romo before him, but even with Zeke and now Amari Cooper to help on offense the Cowboys haven’t been able to put enough competent performances together this season to make anyone believe they can upset the NFC hierarchy come January. Elliott has been good but not great on the ground; games the defense shows up the offense seems to lose it’s way and vice versa. Dallas has beaten every sub-.500 team on the schedule, save for a shameful loss at the Jets, but also haven’t been able to beat any team over .500. Sound like any team you’re used to seeing, dear reader?

Matching 6-6 records and an oddly similar two decade stretch culminates in a TNF matchup of mediocrity. Dallas has the luxury of still being very much alive regardless of the outcome, but in the grand scheme they’re still stuck in the NFL purgatory the Bears find themselves in. The NFL is so widely popular because worst to first is doable with a solid draft and some good signings and hires…but they don’t ever talk about how worst to first and back to worst is just as easily attainable. 

Chicago and Dallas are great examples of the latter, without either reaching the heights of the ghosts they’re stuck chasing.