Imagine being a kid and your parents hype Christmas. They set up a tree, tell you about Santa and you make your list. You wake up Christmas morning and ... nothing.
No gifts. No stocking stuffers. No festivities.
Your parents tell you, “Maybe next year.”
A few months later, your parents now start raving about the Easter Bunny. Gifts! Candy! Eggs!
You shake off your Christmas loss and think about a new day.
Easter Sunday arrives and ... nothing. Again.
No eggs. No candy. Not even a lonely jelly bean in sight.
Defeated, you look to your parents for guidance and they simply shrug again and repeat, “Maybe next year.”
This happens year after year, the kid gets older but not wiser. He continues to think this is the year the gifts will arrive. Maybe once every seven years, they do, but then Santa and the Easter Bunny continue to do their infamous no-show routine.
Yet, the kid, now an adult, still believes.
This is a true story.
That kid is all Bears fans living during the Favre and Rodgers era.
The holidays are the two times a year the Bears and Packers play.
We hype Bears/Packers week like a holiday, and yet we continue to take our lumps. We shake it off and think the next matchup will be different.
And here we are again.
Eight straight losses to the cheeseheads.
Thirteen losses in the past 14 games.
Twenty-five losses in the past 29 games to the neighbors to the north!
And yet, we can’t wait for Sunday once again.
What is wrong with us?
The answer, of course, is nothing is wrong with us.
This is what fans do.
Get drunk on the Bears Kool-Aid.
Believe there will be gifts.
And this year there HAS to be gifts.
The Grinch is gone with his discount double-checking ways.
I’ve actually argued that while Aaron Rodgers is unquestionably one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he didn’t really “own” Bears fans as he shouted at the Soldier Field crowd. The Bears owned the Bears. You don’t go 4-25 against a team without YOU being your No. 1 enemy. Did you know that in the NFC championship game that Rodgers had a passer rating of 55 and didn’t throw a single touchdown? Not exactly the double nickel MJ put up in the Garden.
Rodgers was great, but the Bears have brought a pencil to a gunfight for many years.
Sunday begins a new era, and it’s why I believe it’s more than just one game.
The Bears must land the first punch on Jordan Love. Do not let him connect like Jose Ramirez.
As a coach with a defensive background, Matt Eberflus must create doubt in Love’s mind and not let him think this is the same old rivalry. You don’t face the Packers again until Week 18. Set the tone now.
You also must end your losing streaks. As I mentioned above, the Bears have lost eight straight to the Packers.
And, by the way, Eberflus and crew ended last season losing their last 10 games.
The Bears also went 0-6 in the division last year and have lost nine straight division games dating to 2021. The quickest path to improvement is winning games in the north, a division that isn’t exactly stacked. I have the Bears going 3-3 in the division this year.
That brings me to my predictions.
The boy is back waiting for Christmas.
I’ve got the Bears winning 19-17 on four Cairo Santos field goals and a Justin Fields rushing touchdown.
The defense will force two Packers fumbles.
We’ll have questions about the interior of the offensive line and an uneven passing attack, but the Bears will be 1-0 on their way to an 8-9 season.
Say “cheese” and smile, Bears fans. It’s time to celebrate a holiday and make Bears vs. Packers a rivalry again.
• Marc Silverman shares his opinions on the Bears weekly for Shaw Local. Tune in and listen to the “Waddle & Silvy” show weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. on ESPN 1000.