Fall is bittersweet. On one hand summer and everything great about it is over, but on the other hand autumn marks the beginning of football season! With its great fans and history Chicago is the perfect place to celebrate the first weekend of NFL football.
The Chicago Bears are one of only two surviving franchises that date back to the founding of the NFL and that heritage is evident in their loyal fan base. The Bears have some of the most passionate fans in the NFL.
This year the Bears begin the regular season at home against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday September eighth at noon. If you’re planning on going to the game, or simply want to impress Chicago natives with your knowledge of their team, here’s a quick run-down on everything you need to know about the Bears.
Despite finishing with a respectable 10-6 record, the Bears failed to make the playoffs and finished third in the NFC North, behind the Packers and Vikings.
The 2012 Bears had a strong defense and ranked third in the NFL in fewest points allowed. They were the only team ranked in the top five of that category that did not make the playoffs.
A few Bears players had breakout years including Brandon Marshall who established himself as one of the best receivers in the league. Marshall tied for 2nd in receptions and 3rd in receiving yards in the NFL. Cornerback Tim Jennings had an even more impressive season on defense. He led the league in interceptions with 9.
Key Offseason Moves
The biggest off-season change for the Bears was the firing of head-coach Lovie Smith and hiring of Marc Trestman, a former Canadian Football League coach, along with new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.
Multiple Pro-Bowler and franchise legend Brian Urlacher retired to end a 12 year playing career. Losing Urlacher represented the end of an era and the Bears face a challenge in replacing him.
The Bears also signed Martellus Bennett at tight end which should give Q.B. Jay Cutler another quality passing target.
The NFC north is once again poised to be one of the toughest divisions in football. Green bay won the division last year and Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is as dangerous as ever. Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson is coming off the best season of this career where he rushed for over 2,000 yards. Detroit has struggled for a long time, but the addition of running back Reggie Bush should give them a chance at being a legitimate contender in 2013.
Overall, the Bears have their work cut out for them, they were on the cusp of making the playoffs last year and with new coaches taking the team in a different direction they have a great chance to make it this year.
Even if you’re not a huge football fan experiencing the excitement of a Bears home opener is a can’t miss event in Chicago.
Date: September 8th
Time: 9am (pre-game tailgate) Noon (game time)
Location: Soldier Field
WHERE TO STAY
City Suites Hotel
A sleek, retro property characterized by its unique Art Deco style. Offers complimentary breakfast and afternoon cookies. 933 West Belmont, Chicago, IL, 60657. 773.404.3400
This hotel has lots of charm with its comfortable, delightful atmosphere of an upscale English manor, amidst the energetic city life of the bustling Lakeview neighborhood. 528 West Brompton, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.404.3499.
The Willows Hotel
The moment you arrive, you’ll feel the effortless charm of a French country home, accented by our 19th century-style furnishings and the warm welcome of our friendly staff. 555 West Surf, Chicago, IL 60657. 888.779.1904.