A Shared Spotlight: Bears and Cubs take part in an epic Monday
CHICAGO – It certainly is a fun day and, in some ways, a unique one as well.
But this is not the first time that a Cubs’ team in the playoffs has played on the same day as the Bears.
Today will be the 11th time that Chicago’s NFL squad shares the spotlight with the North Siders’ postseason contest. The Cubs take on the Nationals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at 3 PM on Monday with the Bears facing the Vikings at 7:30 PM at Soldier Field as Mitchell Trubisky makes his first start at quarterback.
Frankly, when the teams have played in this situation, it hasn’t fared too well. The Cubs are 2-8 in their playoff games and were eliminated from the postseason 3 times. Meanwhile the Bears haven’t been much better, going 2-7-1 in those games.
Here’s a look back on the previous days that the teams intersected in the month of October – with one team in the postseason and another entering the second month of the regular season.
The Early Days
During the early days of the NFL and when there were only two MLB playoff teams, the postseason Cubs and the Bears played on the same day three times. It didn’t go well for the either one of the teams, with neither team ever picking up a win.
October 2, 1932 – Yankees beat the Cubs 13-6 in Game 4 of the World Series at Wrigley Field, eliminated from World Series. Bears tie the Staten Island Stapletons 0-0 on the road.
October 9, 1938 – Cubs lose to the Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series in New York, eliminated from World Series. Bears lose to the Cleveland Rams at Shaw Stadium 14-7.
October 7, 1945 – Cubs Lose to the Tigers in Game 5 of the World Series at Wrigley Field. Bears lose to the Cleveland Rams on the road 17-0.
1984: History Made, History Missed
This may very well go down as the most epic of the Bears and playoff Cubs intersections.
At Soldier Field, Walter Payton made NFL history when he surpassed Jim Brown by rushing for 154 yards in a 20-7 Bears win over the Saints at Soldier Field. The moment is one of the most famous in Chicago sports history and the game was stopped for a few minutes in salute to Payton’s record-breaking rush.
Yet the record was overshadowed by one of the many Cubs’ epic collapses that they endured in the 108 years between World Series titles.
Already having blown a 2-0 lead in the Best-of-Five National League Championship Series, blew a three-run lead in the deciding Game 5 against the Padres in San Diego with the red-hot Rick Sutcliffe on the mound to protect the lead.
You know the rest – the Cy Young winner tired, the ball went through Durham’s legs and off Sandberg’s glove. The Padres scored six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Cubs 6-3.
1989: A Double Downer
This was one of those truly downer days when both teams played on the same day this year on October 8th.
Earlier in the day the Bears were upset victims at the hands of then NFC Central rival Buccaneers 42-35. The defeat against Tampa Bay was the Bears’ first of the season after a 4-0 start and signaled a downturn for the team. After the loss, the Bears won just two games the rest of the year as their five-year streak of division championships came to an end.
Meanwhile the Cubs’ bad luck in San Francisco continued that night as they lost to the Giants 6-4 in Game 4 of the NLCS at Candlestick Park. It put them behind in the series 3-1 and their season ended with a 3-2 loss the next day.
2003: A Twice Share Spotlight
This season brought not one but two spotlights shared by the playoff Cubs and the Bears.
The first came on October 5th – and it was a great day for both teams. Early in the day, the Bears knocked off the Raiders on a late Paul Edinger field goal for their first win of the year and in the newly renovated Soldier Field.
Later that night, the Cubs snapped a 95-year drought in Atlanta as Kerry Wood led the team to an NLDS win by defeating the Braves 5-1 in the Game 5 in Atlanta. It was their first postseason series victory since the 1908 World Series.
A week later, the Cubs had the chance to win their first NL pennant in 58 years down in Florida but it didn’t work out as well. Josh Beckett shut the Cubs down in a 4-0 defeat in Miami while the Bears had similar luck in New Orleans, losing 20-13 to fall to 1-4 on the season.
2015: Road Blues
October 18th brought disappointment for both fan bases as both teams dropped contests on the road.
The Bears started the day with a wild and ultimately disappointing 37-34 overtime loss to the Lions in which they led in the closing minutes of regulation.
At least the Bears had some offense, because the Cubs had none. Against the Mets in Game 2 of the NLCS, the Cubs managed just a single run at Citi Field in a 4-1 loss to New York that was part of a four-game sweep out of the postseason.
2016: Even On A Weekday
During the Cubs’ run to the 2016 World Series title, the Bears played on the same day twice. That included the only time the teams played a game on a weeknight in this situation.
The first shared day was on a Sunday – and it wasn’t good. In one of the contests which the Bears were favored to win, the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the hosts at Soldier Field 17-16 to drop the Bears to 1-5 on the season. Meanwhile the Cubs were shutout 1-0 by Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers at Wrigley Field as a second inning homer by Adrian Gonzalez proved to be the difference.
Luck didn’t change for the Bears when they hit the road to face the Packers that Thursday as they easily defeated the Bears 26-10. But the Cubs’ fortunes were much better as they beat the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS 8-4 in Los Angeles to take a 3-2 series lead.