Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Do London games help or hurt?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

How frequently have teams that played games in London made the playoffs that same season?

Matt K.
Lake Forest, Illinois

There have been 24 NFL regular-season games played in London over the past 12 seasons (from 2007-18), and 16 teams have qualified for the playoffs—eight as division champions and eight as wild cards. There’s never been a London game in which both teams went on to make the postseason. In all seven games played in London over the past two seasons, one team has earned a playoff berth. The Jaguars, Saints, Rams and Vikings all played in London and won division titles in 2017, while the Seahawks, Chargers and Eagles all played in London and earned wild card berths in 2018. The only team that has won the Super Bowl the same season in which it played in London remains the 2007 Giants. Here’s hoping the Bears—who are scheduled to face the Raiders in London Oct. 6—double that total.

Why isn’t there a long-snapper on the Bears’ all-time team? Surely Patrick Mannelly deserves to be on it.

Wayne
Scotland

Thank you for your question, Patrick! (Just kidding.) First, let me say that I think that Dan Pompei and Don Pierson did an excellent job of selecting the Bears’ all-time team in the Bears Centennial Scrapbook. They chose 11 starters on offense and defense along with a punt returner, kick returner, punter and kicker. They did not include a long-snapper simply because it’s more of a specialty position like a nickel back, holder or gunner. (They didn’t select anyone at those spots either.) But Pompei and Pierson did include Patrick Mannelly as the 100th best player in Bears history, the highest spot for a long-snapper, and Dan assured me that if they had included a long-snapper on the team it would have been Mannelly. Let me also add, though, that long-snapping specialists didn’t really exist in the NFL until the early 1990s. For instance, center Jay Hilgenberg also snapped for kicks and punts when he played for the Bears in the 1980s.

Are there any special events planned on the day or day before the Bears-Packers season opener on Sept. 5? I’m traveling in from out of town and don’t want to miss anything special either day before the game.

Dan M.

I’m not aware of anything happening on the day before the game, but the NFL is planning to host a free fan event at Grant Park on the afternoon and evening of the Thursday night opener. I don’t believe that details have been released, but I believe that it will include a pre-game concert and appearances by former Bears players. Fans will then have the chance to remain at Grant Park to watch the Bears-Packers game on video screens. Not sure when you’re arriving in town, but the Bears will host a block party on the Saturday prior to the season in Logan Square. Details will be announced sometime this summer.

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