As you may have read, Peter King is ranking the Chicago Bears number 4 on the before training camp power rankings. I for one, was shocked. I don’t often see national writers showing our team any respect. To see Peter King put us this high has a been a surprise. I began to get worried though. I remember in 2002, the Bears were supposed to win the division with ease with a bruising defense. Instead we went 4-12. I began to look back at the Bears expectations and then reality. This is what I found in the Lovie Smith era.
The Bears were predicted to be 21st in the league by ESPN and 23rd by SI.com’s Dr. Z. They ended up with the 26th best record. The writers were close. The prediction was fairly easy with Lovie Smith trying to turn a less than stellar team over.
ESPN had us at 26th, mostly because no one saw that our defense was going to be as dominant as it was and we were going into the season with a 4th round rookie QB at the helm. As you know, we finished with an 11-5 record (after a 1-3 start) and finished with the 6th best record total.
The Bears were coming back with a great defense but writers worried about Rex Grossman’s history of injuries and a lack of a second wide receiver (sound familiar?). So they ranked the Bears in the middle of the pack with ESPN saying 13th and Footballlock.com saying 14th. As we all know the Bears went 13-3 and were 2nd in standings and in playoff order.
With mostly the same team that were Super Bowl runner ups the year before USA Today ranked The Bears at #6 and Peter King of SI.com said they were at #5. The Bears went 7-9 that year with the 20th best record.
ESPN had the Bears ranked 25th, the reasoning of course was that the defense was getting old, and that Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman were fighting it out. The phrase 2 good QBs does not make 1 great one was heard often. And surprisingly to some, the Bears missed the playoffs by losing to the Texans and had the 13th best record in the NFL.
Peter King has the Bears at #4, the highest I’ve ever seen them preseason.
The important thing to note is that these power rankings are almost always wrong. Obviously the acquistion of Mr. Cutler has everyone talking about the Bears. My hopes are high for this season, but the important thing is that until the first snap of the 2009 NFL season, we will have no idea how well we will do. There are injuries, rookies, veterans that step up, luck and more. It is what makes the NFL so exciting, and what makes it’s offseason so frustrating and unpredictable.