At some point when we were sleeping or perhaps fixing dinner, the Chicago Bears became a juggernaut. Yes, it seems only five minutes ago that everyone was stunned Lovie Smith was still the coach and Jay Cutler was wandering around with a “Rex Grossman II” sign stuck on his back. Actually, the Bears have been quietly winning games without convincing anyone they’re any good until Sunday, when they beat the Eagles, Cutler outplayed Michael Vick — yes, you read that right — and the bluster is back in the Windy City.
Even if you want to disbelieve, the Bears are making it hard, , and that beating the Eagles was the turning point people were looking for. Cutler has been magnificent, and Smith has suddenly launched himself into coach of the year contention, . Chicago fans, though, are being uncharacteristically quiet about all of this, , as if petrified uttering the words Super Bowl contender will wake up the fates and turn them back into pumpkins.
In about that same span of time, the in the league, San Diego’s Vincent Jackson transformed from one of the league’s best receivers into and the Chargers have hoisted themselves back into relevance anyway, . The Broncos, meanwhile, have become a , thanks to losing 16 of their last 21 games, SpyGate II: The Sequel, and a laundry list of smaller implosions that have succeeded in making Coach Josh McDaniels one of the least popular men in Denver, .
Vying for least popular man in the N.F.L. is the Titans’ Cortland Finnegan, who finally annoyed someone bad enough to it looked like a hockey game had broken out. That it was the Texans’ normally mild-mannered Andre Johnson who snapped, , makes it a real eye-opener. Expect much handwringing this week to accompany fines and/or suspensions.
Unfortunately, young eyes are recording all such lessons, and not always in the ways we want. One New Jersey high school football team has absorbed the lessons of showboating and taunting, and — and 12 of them were suspended. how damaging taunting has become.
If you are looking toward college football for some sort of clarity, well, that’s your first mistake. sums up the wacky world of the Bowl Championship Series standings, is failing to make sense of it all and now we are fielding the news that the . T.C.U.? Big, not really. East, uh, no.
One thing in sports that hasn’t changed recently: the Miami Heat is still stumbling along, doing poorly enough that has called the combination of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade “terrible,” and people are parsing James’s possibly .
Stay tuned, though. Things change quickly around here.
Follow Leading Off on Twitter: