As baseball finishes its week of stars, it means that the NFL season is much closer. The training camp will open in less than two weeks and you will feel the excitement in the air.
For Chicago sports fans, the Cubs and White Sox will pass behind the Chicago Bears after July 27, at the start of the training camp. After July 27, the way Bears fans look at their team will be different for the first time in nine years.
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The Bears begin their season of 12 wins and a winning division for the 2018 season and will have greater aspirations. For the first time since the start of the 2011 season, the team will be considered a powerful Super Bowl contender. Fans will watch and analyze every little aspect of the Bears during the season, from the first training camp snap to the end of their last game in 2019 and, hopefully, to 2020.
At the training camp, fans will watch all shots of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to determine if he has already taken this step and can lead this team to the promised land. There will be a small group of fans who will claim their seat with a training interception or a missed target in any pre-season match. Similarly, any third or fourth string player who plays big in consecutive pre-season games, these same fans will require that player to be promoted to the starting player.
Watching the Bears games will become an event not to be missed, rather than a novelty or a charge for Sunday afternoon. Primetime games will close the city of Chicago with NBC, ESPN or Fox on more than half of the Chicago TVs. The Bears will be in downtown Chicago on Sunday this fall, with the majority of Chicagoers sporting the Bears' colors and commercial ventures empty during the three hours of play.
While a great game of offense or defense had sparked shock and excitement last season, supporters now expect these games to be a reality this season. If the Bears defense does not force more than two turnovers or three sacks, the fans will be left on the ground and will question the new defense coordinator, Chuck Pagano. Fans will also interview head coach Matt Nagy and the offensive game plan if the team does not win more than a touchdown against a lower opponent. Trubisky will attract the most warmth when he has multi-turn games or he fails to score multiple touchdowns.
The team will have to win every match, regardless of the quality of their opponent. Last year, against the Rams, the Patriots, Vikings and Packers, the fans were hoping for a win but were expecting a defeat. This year, against the Chiefs, Chargers, Saints, Rams and Cowboys, fans expect these games to be won without exception.
It's one thing when the Bears are surprisingly good mid-season, it's quite another thing when expectations are high at the beginning of the season. The 2019 Bears season is in full swing and fans are driving with such intensity. A few weeks from the training camp, fans should take advantage of the time they have before the return of the Bears madness.