A Chicago Bears fans documentary? It sounds like a fascinating idea when first considered. There may not be a more passionate and colorful group in any sport. After all, they might be the most famous thanks to playful jabs from shows like Saturday Night Live over the years. “Da Bears” has become a phrase known all over the world. There may not be a continent on Earth that doesn’t have at least one Bears fan on it.
So why is it hard not to feel a bit queazy about what this documentary might actually be about?
A Bears fans documentary gets personal
The Chicago Tribune and other sources have revealed a plan by ESPN to continue their documentary work. Shortly following their highly successful work on the 1985 Bears season, they have shifted closer to present day. This time they wanted to chronicle what it’s like to be a fan of the team today, and so they followed an entire section of season ticket holders during the 2016 season.
Of course the company didn’t plan on the team going 3-13 and having one of its worst years of the Super Bowl era. That’s just the cherry on top of the Sunday (get it?). No, it won’t be the season itself that draws the interest of viewers. It will be the people of Section 250, season ticket holders who had their loyalties tested both in and out of Soldier Field that year.
Some of the stories from these everyday people cover the entire emotional spectrum from anger to fear, love, sadness and hope.
“We the Fans” follows the likes of Mike Schaefer, a 33-year-old lifelong Chicagoan, whose emotional investment in the Bears tests his relationship with his fiancée, Chivon. There’s Sylvia Giacomuzzi, who fought to retain her Bears season tickets in her divorce. There’s the Tounsel family, who turn just about every game into a family reunion, complete with dance party and cookout. Other folks feature, as well.”
GM Ryan Pace and the rest of the Bears hierarchy have given their solemn promise that what happened in 2016 will not happen again. Of course the proof is in the production. No doubt 2017 is shaping up as the most important for Chicago in a long time. Promises stopped meaning much to these fans after three decades of failure to win another Super Bowl. All the while watching hated rivals like the Packers continuously break their hearts.
The Bears organization is keenly aware of how dispirited the fans became towards the end of last year. Sellouts and a packed stadium used to be the norm. To see Soldier Field half empty in December was as depressing as it gets. No doubt ESPN is going to bring that emotional trauma front and center in the later episodes of this series. There will be eight in total with the first two airing Tuesday, April 11th at 9 p.m. The episode will appear two at a time through May 2nd, coinciding with the beginning and end of the NFL draft.
Here’s hoping the team can bring some closure with a strong performance during that event.