It's the worst time of year right now, Bears fans. You got past the February-May lull where the only football news is draft conjecture that (as we especially have seen) is largely completely goddamned worthless. But now what to look forward to? We have May, June, July, and half of August to sit here and think about football without actually seeing any. And you know what that does to people?:
Yeah. So instead of that, most people just start reading the ESPN NFL tab for offseason news. This, my friends, believe it or not, is even MORE dangerous than taking care of a cavernous hotel, infested with ghosts, cut off from civilization, being directed by Stanley Kubrick. Lucky for you, I'm here to attempt to steer you clear of the many Second Dead Period pitfalls. Without further ado:
1. The "I saw this in practice and it is sure to be a focal point!" wave.
Remember every article you ever read about how Devin Hester "finally got it" and he was going to be a "big part" of the offense? File that here! The most important thing to note about this category is that Michael C. Wright and the rest of the guys who watch practices open to the media have exactly as much evidence and insight into the Bears this upcoming season as we do, they just get paid to write about it.
Consider this: You are coaching a football team. You have hundreds of people surrounding you with high-tech video and audio equipment. These people's jobs are quite literally to lay bare your entire operation. Are you going to give anything away? Yes?... should I bring out more Shining videos to show you what you turn me into?
An interesting note: last season before the preseason Michael C. Wright hosted a chat. He had just reported that Hester would be the #2 receiver, with Alshon in the slot and BBE presumably eating Skittles. I asked, why, why would the Bears do that? It makes no sense! His reply: "I don't know, but that's what I saw!"
So, case closed.
2. Much ado about signings
Hopefully you had to read this play in high school and understand what word "signings" is replacing there. This is the time of year where undrafted rookies get signed, people "look good" in camp, and veterans are picked up to fill in practice squad holes. This means nothing! Anyone being signed from now to then will have minimal impact on this season, and if they DO have a considerable impact, there will be plenty more to talk about than signing them (so, yeah, Urlacher... maybe next time you take the 2 million).
3. NFL TMZ
As if we don't have to deal with this enough during the season, just wait for the deluge of non-football information you are about to receive. TMZ was founded on one basic principal: "If there is no news, make it seem like stupid shit is BIG news!", and boy has it worked for them! Sadly, the same theory is ascribed to by almost all sports writers as well. Remember that the Tellanders of the world have to make a living too, and in the absence of anything interesting they will attempt to convince you that Jay Cutler wearing a hat with the John Deere symbol on it means he is thinking about antelopes, which means he is distracted, and therefore he should be burned at the stake. Also remember that this is not actually news! Or sensible!
4. BS Trade Scenarios
Be prepared to hear that people are "in talks". If there is one thing everyone loves, it is the possibility that someone is being traded for that could represent a huge win for the franchise! Unfortunately for you, it is not happening. The Bears will not be trading anyone of note, they will not trade FOR anyone of note, and in the end that Cutler for two first rounders, Aaron Rodgers, and a bag of Laffy Taffy deal will "fall through". (HINT: it never existed to begin with!)
5. Locker Room Tension!
The next level of lazy sportswriting! If there isn't any news, just make it up! Any time a local sportswriter cites "unnamed sources" that is code for I AM MAKING THIS UP PLEASE DON'T TELL MY EDITOR I WAS OUT DRINKING FOR THE LAST 48 HOURS. Really, if you insert that into every article where it appears, things get really funny... then really sad, really quickly.
Nobody in the locker room is fighting, and if they were, it would be with fists! We would hear about it from them. So do not fret, my children!
People will try to tell you some sport wherein men swing pieces of wood at a tiny ball and run in a square is being played, but no proof exists, and honestly it sounds so stupid and outlandish I shouldn't even have to tell you it's just a rumor. Baseball is just like the Slender Man: we got bored and made something up to talk about when football wasn't happening.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.