TELANDER: Now is perfect time for Bears to pursue hosting Super Bowl
The Bears never have applied for the Super Bowl. No, not to play in it. To host it. Crazy, you say. Why would Chicago want or need a Super Bowl? I’ll tell you why: Because the Super Bowl is big-time. Because the mammoth, over-the-top, advertising-saturated, midwinter party has been held in every godforsaken wannabe city, not just semitropical beach or desert towns. It has been awarded to franchises that build new stadiums, that make nice pitches, that nag and goose and work the room. The Super Bowl has been held in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla., and — this is mind-blowing — Detroit. Twice. Next year, it will be held in East Rutherford, N.J. A note here: I was at both the Super Bowls in Detroit (January 1982 and February 2005). I will describe them as worse and worser. A blizzard, then a glimpse of urban Armageddon. At the latter, a cop, who finally admitted he was tired, angry and ‘‘having a bad day,’’ tried to arrest me simply for crossing a street. Nice. As a city, Chicago dwarfs those other Super Bowl towns the way the Jolly Green Giant dwarfs Gumby. Chicago is an authentic, vibrant, huge, proud, beautiful, historic place. It could — and should — be the best at everything, including sports. This is a moment in time for the Bears. Right here. Right now. General manger Phil Emery just fired a respected coach who took the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006 and went 10-6 this season. What’s he gonna do about that? Chairman George McCaskey is only 56, and he is without question the last of the McCaskeys who can correct the ship vectors, who can steer the Bears toward Chicago greatness, innovation and consistency. What’s he gonna do about that? Chicago can be weighed down by nostalgia. It has so much architectural, cultural and ethnic history that it is easy to get lost in the past. We hear as much about ‘‘Papa Bear’’ Halas, Dick Butkus, Walter Payton and the 1985 Bears today as we did a quarter-century ago. Mike Ditka might as well still be playing tight end. But things move fast now. This isn’t your grandpa’s, your father’s or even your older brother’s NFL. This is tomorrow already. What worked last season — heck, last week or even yesterday — is old. Google chairman Eric Schmidt has estimated humans now create in two days the same amount of data they did from the beginning of mankind until 2003. Huh? It means the Bears are lagging behind their proud city by a quarter-century or so. We all chuckle at Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ ego and hubris, at his massive Jumbotron-laden stadium that has a retractable roof and seats 100,000, standing room. Too much? No. You can argue taste, but you can’t argue Jones’ self-created, pressure-filled maxim: We had better sell out this joint. We had better win. The Bears? They have the smallest stadium in the NFL. Capacity: 61,500. That’s 5,000 fewer seats than ‘‘old’’ Soldier Field. Pitiful. ‘‘New’’ Soldier Field is a 10-pound toilet seat dropped on a five-pound box. It is at once ugly and nostalgic, a toxic mix. Build a new stadium! Think super, not antique. ‘‘The general specs are that a Super Bowl stadium should have a minimum of 70,000 seats,’’ NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. ‘‘But that doesn’t mean issues can’t be addressed.’’ Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, for instance, seated only 67,500 for the Super Bowl last year. But it was new. It had a roof. The NFL rewards good boys. ‘‘The site has to be looked at in its totality,’’ Aiello said. ‘‘Chicago, obviously, is a great place. It would have to make a pitch for why it would be a great place for a Super Bowl.’’ For God’s sake, Jacksonville had 400 cabs; Chicago has 7,000. Forget old crap such as, ‘‘Establish the run first.’’ Defense alone doesn’t win Super Bowls anymore. Have you noticed? Great offenses, quarterbacks and schemes do. Think big, Bears. Right now. Become a dynasty like the old 49ers, like the current Patriots. Like the hated Packers are trying to do. Hire a great coach. Build a great stadium. Get the Super Bowl. Play in the damn thing and win it.