For Bears fans, there was the exhilarating comeback victory over the Detroit Lions that was tempered by the loss of Kyle Orton.
For me, there was the oddly awkward match-up between the team I grew up with and the team I'd like to adopt. Okay, maybe it's not so hard to bail on the Detroit Lions, one of the most embarassing franchises sports has ever tried to hide from its new girlfriend. Still, manning our wildy entertaining live chat this afternoon, I couldn't help but get that awkward feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Sure, the Bears have ingratiated themselves into my heart with their dramatic ways this season. But they'll never occupy that special place reserved for the Lions. Growing up, I got to watch Barry Sanders every Sunday. This undoubtedly fueled my passion for sports in the same way Michael Jordan ignited the fury here in Chicago. Sanders is hands-down the most entertaining athlete to watch I've ever seen.
Not so spectacular.
Still, I stuck with them through the cartoonish antics of Wayne Fontes, the fumble stylings of Dave Kreig and the pseudo-fued between Johnny Morton and Jay Leno. I stuck with them when they selected wide receivers in the first round of the 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007 NFL drafts. I stuck with them when Marty Mornhinweg opted to kickoff instead of take the ball in an overtime loss to the Bears.
Most disturbingly, I've stuck with them while they've gone 31-87 since Matt Millen took over in 2001.
Today, however, I really contemplated what I'm getting out of this relationship. Their games are rarely televised in Chicago, they'll be lucky to win three games this year and there's a perfectly viable football team in the city I call home. So, wouldn't it make more sense for me to switch my allegiances to the Bears?
When Bill Simmons published his rules for being a fan, the one I felt most strongly about was the sham that is team polygamy. But, like Peyton Manning approaching the line of scrimmage, I'm calling an audible.
I wish to be a Bears fan now, if they'll have me. If I need to prove myself, I will.
I've always liked Soldier Field. Obviously more before it mated with a spaceship, but still now. On trips down here as a child I realized what a beautiful setting it made, one that was in stark contrast to the Pontiac Silverdome.
I know your quarterbacking pain. Every now and again there will be a list of Bears quarterbacks during the past 15 years that makes the rounds and you'll invariably hear your co-workers laughing about the obscure names on it. I know this game, Chicago. The Lions have employed an unremarkable stable of quarterbacks that includes names like Andre Ware, Ty Detmer and the aforementioned Dave Krieg during the same time period.
I love teams that have stout defense and a reliable running game as the foundation on which they are built. Or, I think I would -- if given the chance to enjoy it. The Lance Briggs' led defensive unit and Matt Forte powered ground attack may not completely qualify, but it's a start.
I love Devin Hester, or maybe just the idea of Devin Hester. One unquantifiable game changer that has the capacity to do things you've never seen before every time he touches the ball. I love Kyle Orton, an oft-maligned game manager that has quietly led a team with low preseason expectations into first place in the NFC North halfway through the year.
Most importantly, I see what it means to be a Bears fan. To honor Ditka. To always believe you have it bad, when a team in your own division self-destructs to levels rarely reached. To refuse to admit Brett Favre's existence. To drink on the El at 9 a.m. on the way to the game. Or to wear your brand new Matt Forte jersey to work on casual Friday, and a million other nuances I haven't learned yet.
And I've seen what it's like when a whole city gets behind a team, putting baseball ties aside to back a storied franchise through thick and thin.
It's not like that for the Lions, at least it hasn't been for awhile. The Lions are the butt of every joke, a three-hour comedy of errors to be ignored Sunday afternoon while you do something else. My own father only watches just to see what new lowlight they can add to their already full reel. When combing through newspaper Web sites to glean my Detroit news, it's impossible to ignore the swell of negativity that's overtaken the team and everyone who pulls for them.
What I'm saying is that I want out. My Sundays have been void of excitement for too long and I want to feel like a real Chicagoan. I want to be a Bears fan.
Is there room for one more on that bandwagon?