LAKE FOREST – It’s safe to say that most people haven’t thought about the prospect of the Bears in the playoffs for most of the 2022 season.
That’s especially been the case over the last month-and-a-half as a six-game losing streak has sunk the team to the bottom of the NFL.
Still, there had to be an official elimination of the Bears from the playoffs this season, and that happened on Sunday.
With a loss to the Packers at Soldier Field to move to 3-10 on the season, the Bears cannot qualify for the 2022 NFL postseason. They along with the Texans are the only two teams in the NFL that are officially out of contention for a playoff spot.
Currently, the Bears are the second-worst team in the league behind Houston and would hold the second-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which is a big deal considering the team is rebuilding this season.
But for die-hard fans, this bad year continues a trend for the team that has been the norm since the last time they played for a league championship nearly 17 years ago.
Since Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007 in Miami Gardens, Florida, where they lost 29-17 to the Colts, the Bears have endured a rough stretch where they’ve mostly been on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Over the next 16 seasons, including 2022, the team has only qualified for the playoffs three times:
- 2010 – 10-6 – NFC North Champions
- 2018 – 12-4 – NFC North Champions
- 2020 – 8-8 – NFC Wild Card (#7 seed)
During those playoff appearances, the Bears only have one victory to show for it as they defeated the Seahawks 35-24 in the NFC Divisional round on January 16, 2011 at Soldier Field. The Packers would beat the Bears in the NFC Championship the next week 21-14.
A No. 3 seed in 2018, the Bears lost to the Eagles 16-15 in the NFC Wild Card game at home that featured the infamous Cody Parkey “double-doink” ending.
After sneaking into the playoffs at 8-8, the Bears were a seventh-seed in the 2020 playoffs and were quickly bounced by the Saints in the Wild Card round 21-9 in New Orleans on January 10, 2021.
Outside of those years, the Bears have been watching the playoffs instead of taking part in them. During the 13 seasons without a playoff appearance, the Bears have only been over .500 twice:
- 2008 – 9-7
- 2012 – 10-6
They’ve been at the .500 mark (8-8) three times in those playoff-less seasons.
Meanwhile, the team has been under .500 eight times, including the last two seasons.
- 2007 – 7-9
- 2009 – 7-9
- 2014 – 5-11
- 2015 – 6-10
- 2016 – 3-13
- 2017 – 5-11
- 2021 – 6-11
- 2022 – 3-10 (Four games to play)
Perhaps the team will “Take the North and not give it back” as general manager Ryan Poles promised at his introductory news conference in January. But for now, a trend for the franchise continues as the Bears will watch the playoffs at home.