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Posts Tagged ‘John Madden’

Chicago Bears Find Yet Another Way To Embarrass Themselves On National Television

Posted by sportsmaven on October 19, 2009

The optimistic Chicago Bears fans will say the bounces just didn’t go the Bears way in tonight’s Sunday night nationally televised game against the Atlanta Falcons.  The realist will look at the same game and say that the Bears found yet another way to themselves in front of a nationwide audience, losing on the road to the Falcons 21-14.  The Bears treat nationally televised games like a child’s trip to the dentist.  Lots of fumbling, mental and physical mistakes and stupid penalties marred tonight’s latest sub-par prime time performance.  Once again, there is a big question mark hanging over the head of Bears head coach Lovie Smith when it comes to the quality of weekly game-time preparation.

 (AP Photo/John Amis)

(AP Photo/John Amis)

The Bears looked rusty from the outset of tonight’s game, treating the red zone more like a demilitarized zone on the offensive side of the ball.  Execution in the red zone, offensively, hurt the Bears tremendously.  Bears RB Matt Forte’s two fumbles in a row inside the 5-yard line was the missed opportunity that was the difference maker.  Forte began his careers with an amazing 2 fumbles in 480 touches before those 2 consecutive fumbles on the goal line.  Defensively, the Bears started strong, with 3 straight three-and-outs to start the game…..until the no-huddle neutralized the Bears defense.  Combined with the untimely turnovers, the Bears continued to not just shoot themselves in the foot, but empty the entire clip along the way.

Huge penalties by OT Orlando Pace and OG Frank Omiyale on the final drive of the game killed a promising charge led by QB Jay Cutler and various Bear receivers who are improving with each passing week.  Cutler didn’t walk away without his small share of blame, with his 2 ill-timed interceptions and more than a couple of balls thrown behind or overthrown to receivers.  At this moment, the Bears offensive line is the glaring weak point of the team.  The lack of successful run blocking has stuck out like a sore thumb this season.

At any rate, all the Bears demons came out tonight.  Two Sunday night, NBC prime time games, two embarrassing, bone headed performances.  Listening to NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth describe the play of the Bears is like listening to a sadistic parent criticize the performance of a shell-shocked, underachieving child.  The contrast between his analysis of the Bears and the Falcons was virtually night and day.  It’s almost as bad as listening to former analyst John Madden’s love for anything Brett Favre.  Something about NBC Sunday Night Football brings out the dark side of once promising, talented analysts.  Mr. Collinsworth, if you want to see a top notch analyst in action, tune in to ESPN’s Ron Jaworski for a lesson in expert analysis.

Upon further examination of the remaining Chicago Bears schedule for 2009, there are 3 more nationally televised games left on the schedule, plus the NBC Sunday night flex schedule that could potentially add additional prime time opportunities for the Bears.  At this rate, the Bears could be flexed out of the playoffs by NBC and Cris Collinsworth, or their unmitigated, performance anxiety brought about by prime-time television.

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The Chicago Blackhawks Are Now Scotty Bowman’s Team

Posted by sportsmaven on September 16, 2009

At the beginning of the week, the Chicago Blackhawks opened their fall training camp with some new faces in key places.  The most prominent new face is that of newly installed General Manager Stan Bowman.  Behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows is the true architect and face of the organization, the stature of William Scott Bowman, or “Scotty” as he’s affectionately known.  The senior Bowman was hired in July, 2008 as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks.  Since that day, owner Rocky Wirtz and team president John McDonough have wisely, but not always smoothly, turned the reins of the hockey operations over to the 9-time Stanley Cup champion coach.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

The first big move was a somewhat awkward firing of then-Coach Denis Savard and subsequential hiring of current Coach Joel Quenneville just four games into the 2008-2009 season.  It was a move that had to be made, but it certainly wasn’t made with grace nor good timing.  The last move?  The “re-assignment” of former GM Dale Tallon coupled with the promotion of  Stan to General Manager on July 14th, another move that was a correct move to make, but another  plagued with awkwardness and questionable timing.  Bowman has molded this young Blackhawks team much in the same mold as his Stanley Cup winning teams in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Montreal.  In his brief tenure in Chicago, the elder Bowman has displayed his biggest asset — being able to adapt to the needs of the game today and fit personnel and coaching to those needs.

With his replacement of Tallon with his son, Stan, Bowman has again brought in new wave thinking to an organization that is desperately trying to escape it’s tractor beam-like grip of the glory days of it’s past.  The younger Bowman ushers in a new, modern era in Blackhawks lore, a man whose off-ice managmement, negotiating, and analytic skills more than make up for lack of hockey playing experience. Tallon’s apparent administrative miscues were the final nails in his coffin, closing his tenure as Blackhawks GM.

The elder Bowman has filled in the hockey part of the equation, engineering the signing of  RW Marian Hossa to a 12-year free agent deal, as well as the signings of C Tomas Kopecky from the Detroit Red Wings and C John Madden from the New Jersey Devils.  Bowman has worked to install his winning philosophy of big, skilled two-way players that can stretch the ice and play his aggressive, pounding style of play and infusing the talent base with Stanley Cup winning players to round out the up and coming Blackhawks team.

As the Blackhawks finish day 3 of training camp, the team carries the stamp and personal marks of Scotty Bowman, from top to bottom.  Wirtz, McDonough and Bowman have shown that throughout the awkwardness of their moves, they are indeed dedicated and focused on bringing a Stanley Cup Championship to Chicago as soon as humanly possible.  By hiring a 9-time Stanley Cup winning coach to architect that championship, the Blackhawks mean business.  If Bowman is half as good an architect as he is a coach, the Chicago Blackhawks are in for a Stanley Cup type treat.

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