About the best spin you can put on the Bears' Family Fest debacle Friday night at Soldier Field is that the Bears almost certainly had a much better practice in Bourbonnais than they would have had at Soldier Field.
Those "fan-appreciation" events are great for public relations and should definitely be held every year. But the downside is that the practice that usually goes along with those events usually isn't very good or substantive.
As it turned out the opposite likely was the case. The Bears practiced privately at Olivet Nazarene University -- no fans or media -- upon returning to Bourbonnais after the Bears Family Fest was cancelled because of the poor field conditions. It must have been heaven for Jay Cutler. If all NFL teams could practice privately all season and only engage the public on Sundays, the Bears would gain more than most.
That said, it would have been a nice touch if the Bears would have allowed Larry Mayer from the Bears' web site attend practice, talk to Lovie Smith and a player or two afterwards and file a pool report for the media. When 10,000 people go downtown on a Friday night during Lollapalooza and pay $8 to watch your team go through the motions at practice, there's obviously a lot of interest in your team. After Friday night's disaster, showing your fans you care that they care is just good business.