Warning to Bears: The Packers are coming’
In the interest of keeping perspective relevant, it’s important to remember that it’s just a football game.
Continue to remind yourself of that as the diversionary world encroaches on real everyday matters this week.
Otherwise, howl the howl, whenever the need arises, that will rattle windows on the 99th floor of John Hancock Center tower all the way from the righteous side of the border.
The unwashed horde on the other side will need to hear that every now and again, just as an early distant warning of what’s headed their way.
“The Packers are coming,” Charles Woodson told the network boys from Fox on Sunday afternoon.
Yes, Mama and Papa Bear, the Packers are coming, but not in the semi-neighborly way that has accompanied their arrival in Chicago for the better part of a century.
The Packers are coming for the playoffs, but not like the last and only time they met the Bears in the postseason. That was in a national climate tempered by Pearl Harbor and at a time when round-the-clock coverage meant putting the big grandfather ticker in front of a plaster crack.
The Packers are coming for the NFC Championship Game, and while they’re at it, they intend on extracting that orange-and-blue horseshoe the Bears have been playing with up their hides all season.
So, yeah, it’s just a football game.
But it’s also for the tollbooths.
And for the Flatlanders who ride your bumper so closely that Lincoln’s head on their vanity plates disappears in the rear-view mirror.
And for the way they turn Sister Bay into the Kennedy Express on what had been a nice summer weekend.
And for how they expect a month’s mortgage in return for 20 minutes on a parking meter that Cool Hand Luke would’ve personally taken care of had he only known what kind of arrogance they were warehousing along a street that only Chicagoans would call the Miracle Mile.
And for that blight on Lake Michigan, the football stadium that looks like The Jetsons got in a little too close during a day trip to the Parthenon. For half the price, we got twice the building, plus we got to keep intact all the bones in our thumbs.
And for that wise-acre punk, Ferris Bueller. Just let him try getting away with that stuff in Sheboygan.
So, yes, it’s just a football game, but it’s also as close to a cultural referendum on the light and the dark as these things usually go without having to make a choice between “Masterpiece Theatre” and “American Idol.”
Which is kind of like making a call between Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler.
Give it up to Rush Street Jay after he won a division and his first playoff game. Give it up to him for working an entire season with Mike Martz and not going off the deep end of Navy Pier. Give it to him for showing an 8-9 Seattle team what was what after a week to heal up all those players who never got hurt.
That was fairly impressive, but the team from the virtuous side of the state line has been, for all practical purposes, at this playoff thing ever since it temporarily misplaced its offense in Detroit.
It wasn’t necessarily there in the regular-season finale, but that’s because the team from the dark side knew this day was going to come again, and come real soon.
The Packers are coming to Chicago for the Super Bowl, and while they’re at it, for a whole lot more.