Monday, December 22, 2008

Bears Playoff Scenarios

With a week to go before the Alamo Bowl and amid depressing speculation that Corey Wootton could leave a year early for the NFL, it's time to relax and focus on the Bears' inevitable letdown tonight against Green Bay.

Yesterday, every team that needed to lose for the Bears lost, which means that their playoff hopes are still alive in the same sense that Al Davis is still technically alive after being trapped in a painting for several millenia under a curse applied via the sinister art of Hoodoo. Incidentally, in case you were wondering, the consistently humorless people at Wikipedia have compiled a case-by-case guide to references to Hoodoo in popular music for you, matter-of-factly noting that "In addition to the expected terms hoodoo and mojo, other conjure words in blues songs include Jinx, goofer dust, nation sack, black cat bone, "jolly cockaroo," graveyard dirt, and black spider dumplings."

You are like the buzzing of flies to him


The NFL playoff scenarios are complex with an elaborate series of tie breakers which include head to head records, divisional records, and a vagary of unspeakable acts perpetrated in the relative security of international waters. Essentially, the Bears need to win out and have the Vikings lose in order to secure the NFC North title; otherwise the Bears are left waffling around waiting for other teams to lose, much like Italy in the lead-up to the First World War.

Antonio Salandra attempts to put Italy in
the post-war Versailles bracket to land
Tyrol, Trieste, Gorzia, protectorate over
Albania, other territories, and a bearded
general to be named later

The best player on the Bears (besides Nick Roach) is obviously Kyle Orton, most famous for his horrifying beard, which places him just below Jake Plummer on the Macho Scale for NFL-related facial hair.

The macho scale of NFL facial hair from
Brett Favre to Andy Reid

Orton in fact discusses his beard in this fascinating interview with Mouthpiece Sports. I love Mouthpiece Sports because they promise to finally give professional athletes in Chicago a place to have their voice heard, other than the hundreds of microphones pointed at them after every game. Don't worry, though, because Mouthpiece Sports will not distort their bland pro-athlete platitudes into something that might be vaguely interesting. The Orton interview is most notable for Orton's astounding Prince Valiant hair cut, showing us a side of him that we've never seen before.

Kyle Orton leads the Bears to a 9-6 record in the NFC North


The NFL playoff system has many exciting implications for fans across the country, its influence on the Pope is shockingly negligible. The Welsh Rugby team, however, may be the worst thing to happen to the papacy since France's Phillip IV. According to Dr. Gareth Payne of the University of Wales, ""Every time Wales win the rugby grand slam, a Pope dies – except for 1978, when Wales were really good and two died." Dr. Payne notes, however, that "the special theory of papal rugby is nothing more than an urban myth."

If Pope Benedict XVI makes it through, he could get together with George W. Bush to discuss escaping bizarre coincidental death patterns. Bush has scant days to successfully avoid falling victim to the Curse of Tippecanoe, in which presidents who have been elected in a year ending in zero have been assassinated or died in office, dating back to William Henry Harrison, whose aversion to overcoats overcame him shortly after his inauguration. Like all good death theories, there are some key exceptions to note: Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley, and Kennedy were properly assassinated after being elected in 1860, 1880, 1900, and 1960, respectively, and Warren G. Harding died in office under the stress of the Teapot Dome Scandal, the first of many "-dome" scandals in the U.S.

The U.S.'s raft of "-dome" scandals. Not pictured: Operation Plunderdome

The key stumbling block was Reagan's assassination attempt in 1980. Reagan's wounds were apparently worse than Garfield's, but modern medical science allowed Reagan to thwart the curse. Bush, of course, has yet to be assassinated, unless the curse has been narrowed to allow ineffectual shoe assaults (the most underappreciated aspect of that whole thing has to be Bush's incredulous "So what if the guy threw his shoe at me?" line). Perhaps, by the end of the year, the Pope and Bush can celebrate avoiding history's curses and watch Kyle Orton lead the Bears to another Super Bowl berth.

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