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.
Have the Bears ever made the playoffs with a 9-7 record?
Yes, the Bears made the playoffs after finishing 9-7 in 1994. At that time, three division winners and three wild card teams qualified for the post-season in each conference. The Bears actually finished in fourth place in the NFC Central but reached the playoffs as the third and final wild card. They upset the division-champion Vikings 35-18 in the first round in Minnesota before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion 49ers 44-15 in the divisional round in San Francisco. The Bears failed to make the playoffs the two other times they have finished 9-7 since the NFL increased its schedule to 16 games in 1978, with those instances occurring in 1995 and 2008.
After watching the Steelers-Ravens game this week, I was wondering if the Bears have ever played a weekday afternoon game?
Yes, they have. According to my go-to Bears historian, team vice president Patrick McCaskey, the Bears have played 14 weekday afternoon games, mostly in the franchise's early years of existence: five in the 1920s, five in the 1930s, two in the 1940s and two in 1966. I'm not sure why, but nine of the Bears' last 10 weekday afternoon games were played on the road. The only home contest during that stretch was a 21-0 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday, Sept. 18, 1931 at Wrigley Field.
Are any Bears players leading their position groups in Pro Bowl voting?
Yes, there are two Bears players leading their respective position groups in NFC Pro Bowl voting: Outside linebacker Khalil Mack (76,684 votes) and kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson (116,620). Safety Eddie Jackson and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks are second at their positions, inside linebacker Roquan Smith is third and punter Pat O'Donnell is fourth. Fan voting will continue online and on web-enabled mobile phones at NFL.com/ProBowlVote through Dec. 17. Pro Bowl rosters are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches, with each group's vote counting one-third.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.