Today's take: Packers bye week gives chance to savor some fair-weather fans

Oct. 2, 2013
Doug Schneider
Doug Schneider

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A bye week in the National Football League isn’t just a break for the teams not playing that Sunday. It’s a respite for the team’s supporters, as well.

A fan without a game to watch has time to tackle the “honey-do” list. Or to get an early start on Christmas shopping. Or maybe reconnect with non-football friends who were forsaken once the season started.

If it’s a week like last week, however, and the Green Bay Packers are off, there’s a better option: Hustle down to Chicagoland and observe fans of the arch-rival Bears. The drive is affordable — gas is about $3.25 a gallon south of Milwaukee — and the entertainment value is immeasurable after a loss like the Bears experienced Sunday at the hands of the Detroit Lions.

You don’t have to actually watch the Bears play, just listen to the post-game comments.

“I can say Jay (Cutler, Bears quarterback) sucked,” former Chicago linebacker Doug Buffone proclaimed inside a watering hole in west suburban Countryside. “I can say our offensive line sucked. But I can’t say our defensive line sucked.”

It should be noted that Buffone made his comments on a post-game radio show beamed over North America. Who knows what he would have said if he hadn’t had to worry about the guy bleeping the show back in the WBBM studio. Or if the Bears hadn’t fallen by a mere eight points — the first time they had lost all season.

Sound familiar, Green Bay fans?

“Jay had plenty of time to throw,” a caller told Buffone. “He just threw it to the wrong people.”


Disclosure time: I was raised deep in the heart of Bears country. Some of my favorite people bleed orange and blue — my dad, my childhood best friend from across the street, half my Facebook friends. (Social networking is not pleasant after a Packers loss.)

Post-loss irrationality isn’t the sole property of Bears fans, of course. My buddy Michael, who follows the 1-3 Redskins, seems suddenly re-interested in baseball. Western New York friends Eric and Nicole, who support the Buffalo Bills, already are talking about hockey season. And the Bills are 2-2, for Pete’s sake.

But hell seemingly hath no fury like a Bears fan disappointed.

“Jay gives us a couple terrible games a year,” declared a caller from Toronto, sounding like he might have fled the U.S. to distance himself from the loss. A guy from Michigan suggested that Cutler, who has diabetes, had suffered some sort of medical breakdown when one of the passes he’d thrown in the direction of teammate Brandon Marshall ended up in the arms of a Lions defender.

At that point, I couldn’t stand talk radio anymore so I switched to TV — just in time to hear the commentator say “Later, Brandon joins us to explain what went wrong in the Motor City.” and follow him on Twitter @PGDougSchneider

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports