The Chicago Bears don’t think they’ve been getting enough respect from the fans and media.
On the heels of his team’s extremely impressive, very meaningful 30-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, the only thing Bears head coach Lovie Smith and his guys could speak on was what they perceived to be folks not giving them due credit.
"We're a good football team," Smith said after the game. "Not getting a whole lot of respect. You know, when you go on the road, the Chicago Bears shouldn't be eight-point underdogs when we come and play a team. Our guys took notice of that."
Fair enough. Coming into this outing, the Bears were 4-3 and riding a two game winning streak. Despite their marshmallow soft offensive line, contractual issues and third place standing in the NFC North, they clearly should have gotten some measure of respect against the Eagles.
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Of course, just like the Bears, the Eagles rolled into this week's battle on a mild winning streak and looking to turn their season around so there was no reason to discount them going in either.
But Smith is right, all things considered, being eight point underdogs -- even if they were on the road -- was sort of ridiculous. And insulting, if you want to take it there – which the Chicago head coach obviously did.
"I know he really wanted this game," OLB Lance Briggs said of Smith after the game.
Not everyone took the spread so seriously, though. Or at least not everyone was willing to admit it if they had.
"I don't get involved in the spread or what the media says," said quarterback Jay Cutler.
"We're just lucky to get out of here with the victory."
Matt Forte, similarly, didn’t seem to much care that Vegas had slighted his squad.
"I do not think myself or the team were concerned about the point spreads and where someone has us favored," he said. "We knew we just needed to come out and play disciplined against a good team, and we could win."
So, bottom line – are the Bears not getting due respect from fans and media? Was that Vegas spread an indicator of something, or was it just another arbitrary figure set by folks who sometimes know what they’re doing?
Well, it largely depends on how much respect you think a team like this one deserves. They have a number of concerns both on and off the field as it relates to their players. They currently rank third in their division and have already lost to the two teams above them once. And, of course, they’re barely hanging on to their Wild Card spot with games against the Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers still on the agenda.
In terms of Monday’s point spread against Philly, yes, Chicago wasn’t given the appropriate amount of respect.
Generally, though, they’re right where they should be when it comes to public perception. The Bears are considered a mid-tier squad, and until they’re able to post some substantial win totals, that’s precisely where they belong.