As I was preparing myself for the coming matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football, it struck me how different this game could have been had it not been for the monumental failings of the 2008 NFL history making 0-16 Lions team.
In truth not just this game but the whole complexion of the NFC North would be completely different. For one, I very much doubt the Lions organisation would be viewed in the same light as it is under the guidance of Jim Schwartz.
I very much doubt the sort of nonsense off the field actions the world has witnessed this offseason would have happened either.
Yet after the 2008 NFL regular season, Rod Marinelli received a massive kicking from the media in regards to his belief in the Cover-2 style of defense, as well as his motivational and philosophical musings.
“Everything you go through helps you in football. If you fail and you give up on something you believe in, that shows weakness. You really didn’t believe in it in the first place. If you kowtow to criticism, that’s weakness. If you really believe in how you do your business and you fail, you become more glued to it than ever before. Failure never made me doubt. I knew it was the right thing. That’s me. Believe in what we do.”
Life however is a funny thing, at the start of the 2012 NFL regular season just about everyone (myself included), where voicing their concerns about the aging Chicago Bears defense and its ability to get the job done.
That was then and this is now, with six weeks of hindsight the Bears defense is on the precipice of something truly special.
The mixture of old boys infused with youth has caused havoc to opposing offenses all season long and there is no reason to believe that Monday night will be any different.
Leading into week 7 the Bears are ranked joint first in takeaways with 17, they have a league high five interception returns for a touchdowns, have the best run defense and lie fourth in passing yards allowed.
To put in context how well the Marinelli run Bears defense is operating in 5 games they have only allowed opposing offense to score one more touchdown total, than they have scored themselves.
In a league where it is all to easy to ignore the unsung heroes of a team, I pay homage to Marinelli for not just having the strength of character to stick to his beliefs, but for also having the intelligence to develop and expand them in order to squeeze every ounce of potential out of the Bears defensive unit.