Archive for Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Bears take pass on parade

Chicago not in much of a party mood, anyway, after Super Bowl loss

February 6, 2007


— When the Seattle Seahawks lost last year's Super Bowl, the team thanked thousands of fans by hosting a boisterous rally on its home turf.

Following the first of four consecutive Super Bowls defeats, 30,000 fans rallied to cheer the Buffalo Bills, the loudest applause coming for the kicker who missed a potential game-winning boot.

What losers.

While cities of less-storied sports histories have gladly celebrated being No. 2, the Bears said Monday they wanted no part of such festivity. After getting thumped in the Super Bowl Sunday night, the team declined the city's offer to stage a welcome-home event, choosing instead to quietly deplane at O'Hare International Airport and begin its off season.

Bears team spokesman Scott Hagel chose his words carefully, but he said parades and rallies honoring Chicago sports teams had typically been reserved for winners.

"If we had won, we would have liked to have a parade," Hagel said. "We hope to have one soon."

He declined to say exactly who within the Bears opposed throwing what would have been the city's biggest sports party since the White Sox won the World Series in 2005.

"It's an organizational decision," he said. "There's really nothing more to say."

The city would have been willing to honor the Bears, but it respected the team's wishes not to do so, said Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Special Events.

"They are a very competitive group, and they want to be rewarded when they bring that championship to Chicago," Gatziolis said. "We certainly understand that desire."

The Bears already had planned a victory parade Tuesday beginning at Soldier Field and winding up at Daley Plaza. Instead, the victory parade was in Indianapolis, where the Colts later were cheered by 40,000 fans at a rally in the RCA Dome.

There wasn't much of a party mood in Chicago anyway.

Roy Taylor, of Yorkville, said he would have attended a Bears rally, but with a heavy heart. The measuring stick is the parade for the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears, who were greeted by 500,000 fans and 10 tons of ticker tape.

"That parade was a celebration of just about the greatest team in history," said Taylor, who founded the Web site "You only do that when you dominate, not when you lose the Super Bowl."

In another era, the parade route might well have been put to use-or at least some sort of rally been held-for being second-best, said sports sociologist Jay Coakley, a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

"To get together with fans and celebrate a pretty darn successful season is a reasonable thing to do," Coakley said. "The Bears were better than 30 teams this year and not quite as good as one."


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