Chicago ‘bears down’ for 100th season, despite losing to Packers

By Katherine Savage, News Editor

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  • Eric Passini of Midlothian gives his best game face Sept. 5 outside Soldier Field.

  • Greg Evans of Oak Lawn grills outside "Da Coach" bus Sept. 5 to celebrate the Chicago Bears home opener.

  • Sergio Cabada of Midway is the owner of "Da Coach" bus which pays tribute to Mike Ditka.

  • Bears legend Mike Ditka scowls at passersby from the side of "Da Coach" bus Sept. 5.

  • The inside of "Da Coach" bus is decked out with various Bears gear and features a variety of autographs on the walls.

  • Bears merchandise being sold in Loop Auto Parks, 524 S Wabash Ave, Sep 5.

  • David Garcia of Bryant Park prepares for the first NFL game of the season Sept. 5.

  • Bradley Plascencia of Cicero chows down on a taco while tailgating near the intersection of Harrison Street and Wabash Avenue Sept. 5.

  • Byron Smith of Maple Park listens to music on his motorcycle along Wabash Avenue Sept. 5.

  • The NFL Kickoff Experience in Grant Park celebrated the 100th NFL season with celebrity appearances and activities for fans.

  • The NFL hosted the first watch party for the matchup between the Parckers and the Bears on Sept. 5 at Grant Park.

  • Pop artist Meghan Trainor performs at the NFL Kickoff Experience in Grant Park Sept. 5.

  • Members of the "Monster Squad" Chris Malabann, Gabriel Lozano and Levi Villanueva dance in front of Buckingham Fountain at the NFL Kickoff Experience Sept. 5.

  • Philadephia-born rapper Meek Mill performs Sept. 5 at the NFL Kickoff Experience in Grant Park.

  • Rudy Romo, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, celebrates the NFL Kickoff Experience.

  • Fans of all ages gathered around the Walter Payton statue to take photos.

  • Fans cheer on the Bears as they take on the Green Bay Packers Sept. 5.

  • The family of Akiem Hicks takes in the first Bears game of the season Sept. 5 at Soldier Field.

  • Two Bears fans strike a pose at Soldier Field Sept. 5.

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Cheering Chicago Bears fans gathered in Grant Park Thursday to celebrate the National Football League’s 100th season kickoff.

Fans were able to run plays in the training camp, throw long distance passes into the net, play “Madden”—a video game by EA Sports, a division of Electronic Artswith former Bears players and visit the traveling NFL Museum, which displayed all 53 Super Bowl rings and the Vince Lombardi trophy. The celebration featured performances by Rapsody, Meghan Trainor and Meek Mill. Fans were urged to stay and watch the game at the NFL’s first-ever viewing party.

Even though the first game of the season was a loss for the Bears with the Green Bay Packers taking a 10-3 win, fans were still optimistic about the upcoming season.

“The Bears—it’s like Green Bay in a lot of ways—win or lose, the fans are going to be there for them,” said Sandra Edwards, a Woodlawn resident. “For the most part, the city is always behind them.”

Season ticket holders Sandy and Jim Frederick said despite a tough game schedule, they think the Bears can still triumph this season.

“We always say, when we have dismal seasons, we go, ‘Man it’s tough to be a Bears fan,’ but then we always think, ‘At least we’re not [Detroit Lions] fans,” Jim Frederick said.

At the celebration, Bears legends including running back Matt Forte and cornerback Charles Tillman signed autographs for eager fans.

Summit resident Ozzie Leyva patiently waited in line for an autograph from Forte for his father’s 50th birthday.

Leyva said he is looking forward to seeing a dominant season from the Bears.

“I’m here for a great narrative. [There have] been plenty of seasons where we’ve had one missing piece that makes the whole thing fall apart,” Leyva said. “While I’m a south sider and a [White] Sox fan, I know how the Cubs feel with being good but just never good enough, but I’m hoping to witness that this year.”

Joliet resident Rico Cervantes said he is remaining loyal to the Bears.

“It’s been a rough 33 years since the last Super Bowl but Chicago Bears stand for prestige in the NFL and we’re here to continue that legacy,” Cervantes said.

Former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs spoke with fans at Grant Park about his thoughts on the upcoming season.

“This defense is just getting started. Give them time to complete what they are trying to do,” Briggs said. “Last year they put together a heck of a year, let them come in and do that again.”

South Bend, Indiana, resident Doug Yocun said he is looking out for all of the new Bears players to shape the team.

“I’m looking forward to the young guys we got. We got a lot of new talent, a lot of fresh legs coming on to the field,” Yocun said. “I’m looking to see what all we could do as a team and what they’re going to be capable of.”

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