Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bears’

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

When the Bears shift location of their preseason practices and scrimmages, you truly know that autumn is near. On Thursday, the Bears broke Training Camp in Bourbonnais, and packed their bags for heading north to Halas Hall. It’s there, in the posh suburb of Lake Forest where the Bears will finish up the second half of their 2009 NFL preseason. The immediate focus will be on prepping for the preseason home opener versus the New York Giants on Saturday night.

This practice game will feature three Bears stars: Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, and Greg Olsen, who did not play in the preseason opener. “We want them to have a good series before they come out. Our history has been, for the most part, that in the second game the guys will play into the second quarter,” Lovie Smith told the media following the final practice session at Camp Bourbonnais.

The final session downstate featured a cutesy switcharoo. Many players switched jerseys with each other. Watching quarterback Jay Cutler dropping back and throwing passes while wearing Brian Urlacher’s number was a unique, if not bizarre experience. Usually #6 Cutler wearing Urlacher’s #54 was a great show of solidarity, and should make people forget what ex-teammate and current Minnesota Vikings receiver Bobby Wade claims Urlacher allegedly said about Cutler.

Lovie spoke about Cutler and Urlacher bonding through jersey sharing. “They kind of look alike, big stature, but that’s a tradition with our players right now, a lot of energy in camp. There’s nothing like the last day of training camp…I can still tell who Devin Hester is, some of the little skill guys even in a lineman number, you can still feel good about who he is,” Lovie said of the chicanery and tomfoolery.

So far this preseason has been industry standard. You’ve seen…

1. The multitude of really dumb fans reading too much into preseason gamesbears-logo.jpg (i.e. idiots who now think the Cutler deal was a waste just because he looked terrible during the glorified practice in Buffalo last week).
2. Desperate sportswriters hyping up anything at all in order to manufacture something to talk about out of a non-story (Cutler’s Saturday night comments about Devin Hester were still being discussed on sports talk radio today.)

3. Position battles that might not sort themselves out until when games actually have significance. (Other than Hester, who’s going to play Wide Receiver?)

Expect more of all three between now and when the season kicks off in northern Wisconsin September 13th.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times, Walter Football.com and The Sports Bank

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

White Sox centerfielders are like Bulls post-players or Bears QBs prior to the Jay Cutler signing — there’s nothing close to a blue chip stock in the portfolio, so all you can do is take the collection of junk bonds you have, and try to maximize your return.

Thirty-one-year-old DeWayne Wise was a career minor leaguer for a reason, and there’s no reason to expect his game will significantly improve when he returns in 6-8 weeks from injury. He earned the job coming out of spring training simply because, as the Dave Matthews Band once put it, “we’ll make the best of what’s around.” Of course, the criticism Wise received from White Sox Nation this April was grossly unfair, because he never possessed the talent and potential of the guy who’s now stepped into his place.

Click here to read the rest of this post on NBCChicago.com.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team When the downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade kicks off Saturday at noon, many Chicagoans will be reminded why this is a Bears town first. One place they’ll be sporting blue and orange in lieu of green is “Da Bus,” a renovated old school bus celebrating the Chicago Bears. I’ve been on Da Bus, which features a shrine to and autographs from pretty much every Bears Hall of Famer you can name. The tailgate surrounding it is THE place to be when pre-gaming for the Bears at Soldier Field.

Da Bus, kicking off its 20th season of tailgating with its annual placement in the parade, is proud to hook up with the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, a charity that takes care of underprivileged children. Da Bus, along with a float from country radio station US-99, will be joined by the kids from The Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in their march along the parade route.dabus

I’ll be hitching a ride as well and earlier this week I spoke with bus owner/developer and Bears superfan Tim Shanley. “Da Bus is float number 36 this year, which puts us back on television. Both WGN and ABC are covering this event, so don’t forget to hit the record button before you leave the house on Saturday,” Shanley said.

For those looking to get “Irish,” Shanley’s crew and I will be hitting a parade afterparty at a hotel bar downtown. “Da Bus will supply sandwiches, bottled water, Pepsi and 7-UP for the duration of the parade, and we will start to really celebrate when we park at the Hilton near Kitty O’Shea’s, which will be celebrating the day with Irish music and plenty of cold beer,” Shanley proclaimed.

This weekend go green and also GO BEARS!

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times and The Sports Bank

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank The Super Bowl is America’s unofficial national holiday. It’s the pinnacle for experiencing football, our nation’s most-watched and best loved sport and the holiday where the most consuming is done all across the USA. And don’t forget the commercials- this is when Madison Avenue’s best and most creative bring their A game, so you can’t miss it! And the best way to experience all that the Super Bowl is will happen at…

“Super Party” At Stardust: The Best Big Game Party in Chicagoland – Sponsored by Stardust and 220 Communications — Sunday, February 01, 2009 at 4:00 PM (CT). Stardust is located at 1211A Butterfield Rd – Downers Grove, IL 60515.

Fellow NBC 5 Street-teamer Glenn Murraychicagocardinals83 invited me to MC the event where I’ll be handing out prizes to a few lucky winning party attendees! I’ll also be giving away a few The Sports Bank.net t-shirts, which are blue and orange to match your Chicago Bears (and University of Illinois) gear. And this year’s NFL Championship features the Arizona Cardinals, who were Chicago’s second NFL team up until 1960…so there’s plenty of local flavor!

Get your tickets here!

These days we especially know that “cash rules everything around us” (as an MC…when I rock upon the mic I rock the mic right) and this upscale Super Bowl Buffett & drink package-for-MUCH-less-than-upscale-prices is about a great a deal as you will find in a sports crazy town like Chicago. All tickets will be $40 at the door, but you can save money by purchasing your tickets online to this event.

Click here for advance ticket packages starting at just $25. Can’t beat that!

Paul M. Banks is a contributor for The Washington Times and founder of the webzine The Sports Bank.net

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Chasity Chaos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Why bring in 2009 at a club when you can party with a purpose? This New Year’s Eve, the River East Art Center (435 E. Illinois) and Diageo Brands (Don Julio, Ciroc, Nuvo) are hosting a black tie gala in support of three athlete sponsored foundations. These foundations include: The Luol Deng Foundation, For the Good of the Neighborhood Foundation, and The 8 Foundation.

From 9pm to 2am, guests can indulge in a premium hosted bar, hors d’oeuvres provided by one of Chicago’s top catering companies, a surprise celebrity performance, and a silent auction featuring memorabilia from Chicago Bulls and Bears legends.

The countdown and balloon drop will begin promptly at 11:59:50pm and will be lead by a surprise celebrity host. Guests will not only have the opportunity to mix and mingle with Bears and Bulls players, but also with the leaders of some of Chicago’s most prominent organizations.

The lavish décor for the evening will be provided by Kehoe Designs.

There are limited advance tickets available for $75 or $120 for couples. Tickets at the door are $150 or $200 for couples.

To purchase tickets for the event and to gain additional information, visit TheArtofCelebration2009.com.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

The weather outside is frightful.  Everyone, including me, are day dreaming about an island vacation far away from the Windy City.  Hawaii, Mexico, or somewhere in the Caribbean are all acceptable destinations.  However, after a reality check, the best that we may be able to do is to indulge in cuisine that takes us to the place where we want to be.  Former Chicago Bears and All-Pro defensive back Jerry Azumah knows exactly where to find such a spot.  He introduces us to Ja Grill, the newest and hottest restaurant that brings Jamaican flavors to Lincoln Park.  Check out Jerry and Ja Grill on Fete Select TV below.  Also, watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net for a review of the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.


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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank All season long quarterback Kyle Orton and rookie tailback Matt Forte have carried the Chicago Bears offense. Given how the team’s wide receivers unit is arguably among the worst in league history, they’ve had to. Orton headed into Thursday a respectable seventh in the NFC in touchdown passes with about twice as many td tosses as interceptions. Overall he’s been a pleasant surprise; especially given how much the mistakes of his wide receivers have ruined his statistics. (One of his interceptions Thursday night came off the hands of Rashied Davis, who has struggled mightily with drops all season.) orton-beard

However, this game was one of Orton’s worst in 2008: he completed 24 of 40 for just 172 yards, no touchdowns, two picks and a 49.2 rating. For most of the season Orton has done a good job consistently finding Forte, the team’s leading receiver as well as tight ends Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark, the team’s third and fourth leading receivers. Versus New Orleans the trio had just 85 combined receiving yards averaging an awful 5 yards per catch. Matt Forte struggled on the ground too, accruing just 34 yards on 11 carries. He came in as the league’s 7th leading rusher and a league-leading 39% of his team’s offensive production.
The Bears compensated with defense as they harassed the league’s leading passer, Drew Brees into a first half with a QB rating as low as Orton’s. Chicago also lived on their special teams as Danieal Manning returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and set up the second with a 52-yarder early in the second quarter.

Forte was upstaged by Saints tailback Pierre Thomas. The University of Illinois and south suburban Lansing product had 22 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown- career long 42 yarder; also adding a TD catch and 59 yards receiving. Thomas loves playing near his roots- last year he became the first rookie ever to gain 100 yards both rushing and receiving in the same game against the Bears.For more Chicago Sports Analysis and discussion.

For my Washington Times.com blog “Chicago Blue State.”

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