Sports

You ever watch two teams try to lose?


The Vikings beat the Bears in a game of total incompetence and folly.

The Vikings beat the Bears in a game of total incompetence and folly.
Illustration: Getty Images

It used to be, long ago, when things made slightly more sense and RC Cola was a thing, that Monday Night Football was the premier game of the week. Which made it a great mystery why ABC would subject the nation to Dan Dierdorf blabbering about something at best tangentially connected to what went on on the field. There were some people who thought it was sad when the BIG GAME OF THE WEEK moved to Sunday, making Monday night an afterthought.

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Sometimes we all forget that leaving ESPN the table scraps could lead to some excellent comedy. ESPN still has to go through the motions of their hourlong pregame show, the mid-game graphics, the beefed-up storylines, and the presentation to make us all think this is a big deal, which only accentuates the punchline of the actual 60 minutes of football. It’s a great joke, even if ESPN isn’t in on it. They play their role well. Mean Gene Okerlund was a legend because he played it like a real journalist, after all.

So a lot of Monday Nights, you get an, “Oh right, we almost forgot these two,” kind of feel. That doesn’t always make for entertaining viewing, in terms of watching a kid fall off a bike entertainment (I don’t give a shit about your kids). But sometimes, everything comes together, and you see why the other networks left this game out in the cold and the league tried to sneak it by you hoping you wouldn’t notice. It’s like the middle act in the kids’ talent show where all the teachers know it’s going to be baked and uncomfortable and they just pray that no parent can bring themselves to point that out and their forced politeness will carry the day.

You can not try any harder to lose a football game than the Minnesota Vikings did last night. They threw for 87 yards. Dalvin Cook averaged 3.2 yards per carry. They went three-and-out four straight drives in the second half. They had one first down in the second half after their touchdown drive to start the third quarter. You really can’t provide the runway lights any brighter than the Vikings did for the Bears.

They were up two scores for almost the entirety of the second half except for a fuck-off, catch-up touchdown on the last play of the game that made it a 17-9 final. The Bears didn’t even get close to a team that was actively giving them the game. Minnesota wasn’t so much leaving crumbs back to their hideout for Chicago so much as lighting a gasoline trail on fire. You’d have to blind and missing legs to miss it.

Name a way the Bears could fuck it up, and they did. Turnovers? Sure, that’s the easy part. Dumb penalties? That’s a staple. Muffed punt? Sure, we’ll throw that in. Unfathomable play-calling? We got that, too. Guys not making plays? You betcha. This was the game of charades where one player could have three hours of clues and never get it, and just keeps saying, “Goodfellas!”

And it’s kind of only a microcosm. Because whereas the Bears couldn’t pick up the cues from the Vikings to do what was right, neither can Bears ownership when it comes to making changes. There can’t be any more flashing signs that major changes are past due–undisciplined play, poor development, plans that don’t make sense, guys in the wrong spot all the time–and yet the Bears haven’t done it because they don’t want to prove one reporter right.

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It could not be any simpler, Luanne…

So yeah, Monday Night Football isn’t what it was. It’s no longer the main course, but basically the ibuprofen for the hangover. But hey, sometimes it can be better in other ways.

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YEEEEEEER OOOOUT!

Let’s end on a lighter note.

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If you didn’t see the actual text on this tweet, you’d know something was up when the ump greets the official coming to tell him he’s got to fuck off. That’s how you greet the bartender at last call. “HEYYYY! It’s this guy!”

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