One of my favorite post-Super Bowl #numbers has nothing to do with what happened on the field or even the television ratings, but instead, how much money was gambled on the game. The Las Vegas Journal-Review reports that Super Bowl LII took in $158.6 million (!) worth of wagers.
And yet, there is no bet like the one former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon suggests Mike Ditka had going into Super Bowl XX:
— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) February 12, 2018
“I think he might have bet,” McMahon said. “I’m not positive, but I know he likes to gamble. Everyone likes to gamble every once in a while. I’m sure he probably put some money down.”
Well, then, if anyone feels some type of way about the 2018 Bears’ future, they’re quite the long-shot as of right now.
- Bears fans have a lot to be excited about right now. They have a new offensive coaching staff ready to direct a developing quarterback into the future and a group of defensive coaches in place to keep the good times rolling on that side of the ball. Yet, the Bears enter the 2018 offseason with a bunch of needs (and even that might be an understatement).
- In a list compiled by SI.com’s Andy Benoit, the Bears rank as the fourth neediest team in the NFL right now. Benoit highlights the Bears’ primary need as wide receiver (duh doy), noting the Bears have three spots that need to be filled before the group is up to par by NFL standards. Matt Nagy’s passing game used multiple pass catchers, with running backs and tight ends chipping in with wide receivers. There isn’t a particular need for a type of receiver. Come one, come all. No, really. Please. Help wanted.
- One way the Bears could shore up their needs when it comes to skill position players is by hitting on picks early in the 2018 NFL Draft. In Dan Kadar’s most recent two-round mock draft at SB Nation, the Bears would do just that by selecting Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick with the eighth pick and Texas A&M Christian Kirk in Round 2. Fitzpatrick is one of those rare prospects who is polished, but has tremendous upside. He played all over the secondary for the Crimson Tide, but would slot in as a cornerback if he fell to the Bears. With three quarterbacks and Quenton Nelson off the board before the Bears get on the clock, Fitzpatrick would be a welcome addition via the draft. Meanwhile, Kirk is one of the best receiver prospects around, but there isn’t much of a consensus on where he’ll be picked. There wouldn’t be much of an argument if he came off the board with the Bears’ second-round choice.
- Matt Eurich of 247Sports offers up a potential trade option if the Bears decide to go in a different direction than free agency to fill a need at receiver. Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos is one of the league’s most reliable slot receivers, but could be on his way out as a cap casualty as the team attempts to better position itself for the future. Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post breaks down the Broncos’ salary cap situation and notes the team could put him on the trading block. If the Bears were to take on Sanders and his salary, it might not take much (sixth-round pick?) to pry him away from Denver.
- Wide receiver is a primary need, but isn’t the only position of perceived weakness in Chicago. The Bears’ list of needs could grow depending on what the team decides to do with Josh Sitton’s 2018 option. If Sitton returns to the mix, the Bears will be retaining a player on the cusp of being one of the league’s best. Pro Football Focus shared a list of 10 players who just missed landing on the top-101, which includes Sitton. Injuries caused Sitton to miss three games this season, but PFF believes he would have undoubtedly made the list if he was healthy.
- Speaking of players who are productive when healthy and play a position the Bears could use an upgrade at, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets former Colts cornerback Vontae Davis has been medically cleared and will have suitors before free agency hits in march. The University of Illinois product is a two-time Pro Bowler who will turn 30 in May, but is coming off a core surgical procedure that cut short his 2017 season in Indianapolis.
- The Bears’ 5-11 season in 2017 wasn’t without its share of highlights. The NFL shared its 100 best plays of the year and big-time efforts by the Bears were sprinkled throughout. Three of the four Bears plays to crack the top-100 happened in the same game with Adrian Amos’ first career interception coming in at 82, Tarik Cohen’s first career touchdown pass checking in at 78, and Jordan Howard’s bulldozing overtime run ranked 52nd. Cohen made a second appearance with his remarkable punt return touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers, which gets lost in the shuffle because the best special teams performance that day belonged to Robbie Gould. Sigh.
- The Indianapolis Colts have a new head coach. For real this time:
Since you guys got jokes! pic.twitter.com/qfA7muSwbx
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) February 11, 2018
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) February 11, 2018
- In the end, the Colts ended up with an offensive coordinator from one of the teams participating in the Super Bowl by hiring Frank Reich as the team’s new head coach. This is Reich’s second tour of duty with Indianapolis, where he served as an offensive assistant (2008), quarterbacks coach (2009-10), and wide receivers coach (2011). Considering that Reich once quarterbacked the largest comeback in NFL postseason history, righting the ship and getting Colts back into playoff contention should be a walk in the park.