Wednesday, November 01, 2006


It was one of the most egregious violations of human rights ever reported - and the whole thing was captured on tape. Just this past weekend, at least 40 Americans were forced to endure hours of degrading, humiliating, and painful treatment at the hands of fellow American citizens in an episode that many international watch groups are calling a senseless tragedy. Perhaps you saw the footage on the Sunday evening news, or heard it discussed around the water cooler on Monday morning. Yes, I am talking about the Chicago Bears publicly flogging the San Francisco 49ers in front of a nationally televised crowd.

I am almost ashamed to admit that I was on hand to witness the event in person - and did nothing to prevent it. Nor did the other 60,000+ screaming fans who encouraged the Bears to pour on the punishment play after play after play. In case you do not follow football, the Bears scored early and often against the hapless Niners...mounting an almost unfathomable 41-0 FIRST HALF lead. If you left your seat for any reason at any point during the first half, you missed a Bears score. It was a remarkably dominating performance that saw the Bears covering a 16.5 point spread in the first 8 minutes of play.

The highlight for me was the singing. The folks at Soldier Field cue up the Chicago Bears fight song every time they put points on the board. So after every field goal and following every extra point, the loudspeakers start crackling and buzzing and 60,000 drunk people start singing, "Bear Down...Chicago Bears...put up a fight with a might so fearlessly...Bear Down..." It's enough to produce chills, even if your officially-licensed down jacket is doing its job. We sang that damn song 7 times in the first half, roughly every 11 minutes. I am certain the Niners had it stuck in their heads the whole flight back to San Francisco. I honestly started feeling bad for them and wondered why football doesn't have a slaughter rule.

Fortunately, the Bears took pity on their prey - letting them fly back with a small bit of esteem: The Niners salvaged the second half of the game, winning 10-0 and preventing the Bears from completely trouncing them into oblivion. Next victim: the Miami Dolphins.


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