My Day At The 2009 Bears Expo

Today, the Chicago Bears held their annual Fanfest at Soldier Field. I had never been to Soldier Field and I thought this would be a cool experience. I paid 35 bucks to go get some autographs, listen to some players/coaches/front office speak, and experience Soldier Field for all its grandeur. Boy was I wrong.

First, the autographs. In order to get Jay Cutler's, Brian Urlacher's, Matt Forte's, Orlando Pace's, Chris William's, or Greg Olson's autograph. You had to be one of the first 4,000 people in attendance at Soldier Field (SF from now on). If you were in the first 4,000 you received a scratch off card with ONE of those players names on it. You got to wait in line to get only that ONE player's autograph. Seeing as how I did not want to wake up at 6:00 to catch a 7:00 am train to make it to SF when the doors opened, I was not one of the first 4,000. Thus I had to settle to waiting half an hour (each) for the great talents such as Rasheed Davis, Anthony Adams, Mike Roach, Patrick Mannelly, Kevin Jones, Trumaine McBride and Brandon Rideau. As for all you avid Bears fans you thought those names were obscure, I won't bore you with the other 10 or so names of players you could have gotten autographs from.

I waited in line to get Anthony Adams autograph (it was either that or wait twice as long to get Rasheed Davis') and before I got to Adams' table there was another player signing. After I got both players' autographs I asked the Security Guard there to "protect" both players (for all those Anthony Adams fans out there literally dying to see him) who the other player was. He just shrugged his shoulders. If the people paid to protect you don't know who you are- your signature just devalued my football designed to get autographs that I got at Wal-Mart the day before.

Lance Briggs, Devin Hester, Peanut Tillman, Nathan Vasher, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Mark Anderson, Wale, Alex Brown, Roberto Garza, Olin Kruetz, Brad Maynard, and Robbie Gould all felt that a day dedicated to their fans was above them or realized it wasn't in their contract to do so and thus were unavailable to get autographs from in any way shape or form. The only players that you would have wanted to get autographs from/ players who have fans that actually buy their jerseys were also essentially off limits. I think the policy the Bears organization said to their players was: if you're borderline for making this team, you better show up to the Bears Expo to sign autographs to keep your roster spot- at least for another week.

Secondly, the interviews. I stayed and watched three interviews/ press conferences. One with coach Lovie Smith, GM Jerry Angelo, and CEO something or other. The second one was with the assistant coaches- offensive coordinator Ron Turner, newly acquired D-line coach Rod Marinelli, defensive coordinator Bob Babich, and special teams coach Not Important Enough Person to Care About. The third interviews was with Jay Cutler, Orlando Pace, Matt Forte, and Greg Olson. These were kind of cool and I got to stand about a foot away from all of these people which I have to admit was almost worth the price of admission. But the problem was that these people never give you straightforward answers. This was the same bullshit you hear at every single interview. The same bullshit that spews "Rex Grossman is our Quarterback" then "Brian Griese is our Quarterback" then "Kyle Orton is our Quarterback". Now I know they probably can't answer to the public to same as how they answer these questions in private, but I mean come on guys, a little SOMETHING would be nice.

I got to ask a question during the second interview with the coordinators- something I admit I enjoyed heavily. I going going to apologize to Maranelli for being the coach of a Matt Millen 0-16 team or yell at Ron Turner for being shitty and pray to him that he doesn't ruin Jay Cutler. But surprisingly, I had more class than that. I was going to ask "Last year we were pretty bad at sacking the quarterback even though we were first in blitzing. In fact, we let Brian Greise get 65+ attempts without a single sack. How do you go about fixing this?" But then some douche two spots ahead of me asked something similar and Babich and Marinelli spent five minutes preaching the "fundamentals" and "doing better" and more bullshit. So then I decided to ask Ron Turner about Brandon Lloyd and about Illinois and about giving Lloyd more playing time. But then I turned to the guy standing behind me and realized Lloyd got cut. So I eventually did ask them this question: "So many teams are using the 3-4 defensive schemes and in fact the Green Bay Packers recently switched. Do guys see yourself doing the same and why?" I got a vehement "NO". You know guys, your defense sucked balls last year and now essentially this same team is one year older and that much crappier. The D-Line can't rush the passer for shit, Brain Urlacher can't do shit now in the middle of the field, and that secondary is great and run prevention but shitty at pass prevention- you know the main job of a secondary. And you're going to look me in the eyes and adamantly reject a defense that essentially has been successful everywhere it's implemented? OK, Bob Babich, have fun looking for a new job next year...

While writing this I probably appear to you as just being vengeful at the way the coaches answered my question which I assure was not the case. However, I am upset that this staff can't take fault in the fact that they put a shitty product out on the field week in and week out in 2008. It was refreshing to hear Bob Babich say he took full responsibility for that Atlanta loss last year, but as a whole, really generic and inane answers from people who owe us better. And getting Jay Cutler- which was a unanimously great decisions by all fans and one in which I also now applaud despite public criticism- does not excuse you all for the bullshit you fed me for two and half hours.

Lastly, the days events. I got to kick a 10 yard field goal- or attempted to (fuck, that's harder than it looks, I swear), take a tour of the Bears actual locker room, and had the ability to buy Rex Grossman's old jock strap (I shit you not. There was this event sponsored by the Chicago Tribune where you could buy all old clothes and apparel and shit from former players. Some like 8 year old bought a giant box of old Under Armors. My buddy I went with bought a former facemask- not the helmet but that little guard part- for two bucks because the guy said it was formerly Matt Forte's. Sure it was only two bucks and still kinda of cool to have weather or not it really was Forte's- which it probably wasn't. Point is, crappy waste of my two minutes.) And I will admit, seeing as how I have never been to SF it was pretty sweet to stand on that grass or turf or whatever. But there were only three minor "events" for me to do. This was supposed to be a day dedicated to treating the fans and this is the shit I get to "enjoy".

So good job Chicago Bears. That CEO guy I mentioned earlier I think had a big part in planning this Expo and the dude's a really cool, down-to-earth guy. But his event sucked. Now maybe if I was with a family (which I know the like four + readers of this blog are not) or with a bigger group of friends it would have appeared better than it was, but overall, sort of a disappointment. However, if you go with a bigger group and extremely low expectations, you can have a great time for the 2010 Expo.


The 'Bright' One said...

1) Bears need to hire John McDonough
2) I would kill for patrick mannelly's autograph
3) I didn't realize Rideau was still on the bears. maybe he's on the practice squad
4) So you bought a piece of plastic for 2 dollars? Great
5) I am so for the 3-4 defense it's not even funny. Doing the 4-3 should be as outdated as sac bunts
6) You should have asked your original question about the sacs. Make then stumble through that question for a second time.
7) I guarantee graduation was more fun then bears fest. Suzy Orman was the shiznit

Sexy Rexy said...

You know what stupid me didn't want to wait the extra 15 minutes for Mannelly's autograph so I got like a CB barely on the practice squad and some old dude named Ronnie Bill- although that did free up time for me to get Nick Roach's autograph...

Yeah the 3-4 defense as FAAAAAARRRR better than the 4-3. The coaches practically threw a shit fit when I suggested it.

Apparently Angelo is really high on Rideau so hopefully he'll see some playing time but yeah Im sure he's on the practice squad and will get cut soon

I have pics on facebook if you guys REALLY REALLY REALLY wanna see them haha

The 'Bright' One said...

the best thing about the 3-4 is that it can turn into the 4-3 in a second, but there is no way to go from a 4-3 into a 3-4 pre-snap. Instead the bears have urlacher fake to blitz and then have him drop back and be completely out of position to do anything. I think urlacher has been more of a safety the last 2 years. errrrrrrrr