For those who remember the bitter local rivalry that once existed between the Bears and Cardinals when both played in Chicago, Sunday's game in Glendale, Ariz., conjures up thoughts of what could have been a monumental civic clash.
With the Bears in must-win mode for their final two games this season, imagine the public upheaval if the erstwhile Chicago Cardinals were in position to oust their local nemesis from playoff contention.
The boos cascading from Soldier Field for such a Bears-Cardinals game would be so overwhelming that Brian Urlacher and his teammates would be hopelessly confused. Are Chicago fans booing the Bears or the Cardinals?
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In 1955, the Chicago Cardinals upset the Bears 53-14 at the old Comiskey Park during a snowstorm. As recalled in Joe Ziemba's book that details the history of the Cardinals ("When Football Was Football"), former Tribune sports editor George Strickler then wrote: "Being of sound and disposing mind and memory, I hereby make, publish and declare the following to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing if not astounding: The Chicago Cardinals, who a week ago could not get out of their own way against the Washington Redskins, yesterday whipped, humbled and humiliated the mighty Chicago Bears, 53-14!"
George Halas was wary of playing that 1955 game at Comiskey because of the field's condition.
"We sent our scout out there this morning," Halas said the week before that game. "He reported back that the condition of the field was disgraceful. Chicago fans are deserving of a better break."
As it stands today, the Bears view Sunday's 2012 version of the Cardinals (5-9) as just another obstacle in the way of trying to avoid an epic collapse.
"Any time you lose consecutive games, there's that doom that sets in of what we could have done differently and what we should have done," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. "That's anywhere in the league. You lose a couple of games here and there and it's the end of the world."
Actually the Bears have dropped five or their last six, but who's counting. And while it may not be the end of the world, if the Bears don't win their final two games and receive help from other teams to make it to the postseason, no doubt heads will roll on the roster and staff heading into next year.
"Once the season is over, this organization will let things settle down and figure (things) out," Cutler said. "But as players, we can't worry about that. We can only have one concern now and that's Arizona."
Even though the Cardinals have lost 9 of 10, the Bears haven't played well enough in the past month or so to beat anybody.
It has been impossible to camouflage the glaring weaknesses in the Bears offense — from the offensive line's poor blocking technique and lack of consistent focus, to the overall ineptness of the passing game other than the somewhat entertaining Cutler-Brandon Marshall sideshow of pass-and-catch.
The defense carried the Bears to seven victories in the first eight games. But it shouldn't be its responsibility to put points on the board every single week to win.
"Defensively, we have to get back to what we were doing weeks ago," defensive end Corey Wootton said. "We have to get the turnovers. And if (the opponents) don't score, they don't win. That's the mindset we have this week."