As a Sports fan you look forward to the new season with a sense of hope and excitement. However, as a fan of the Bears and Sunderland in the Premier League that has been quickly extinguished. Both sides are without a win and its looking like a tough year for both. So, why the Bears? It is a question I often get asked when asked who I support. Unlike the majority of Bears fans, it hasn’t been passed down through generations and I wasn’t brought up near Soldier Field or watching the Bears regularly on TV. I selected this franchise out of all 32. It has been a tough start to the season and some fans may be slowly becoming frustrated or disillusioned but take a few minutes to read why the Bears are my team and I hope it is acts a reminder of what is great about the Chicago Bears and why we all become Bears fans.

As a sports fan in the UK, the NFL is growing at such a rate that the thought of a franchise coming to the UK seems to be growing in expectation rather than just a pipe dream from across the pond and for fans new to the sport they have 32 franchises to choose. Some may choose based on location, others based on a favourite player, some may choose based on jerseys but for me it was something else.

The franchise struck me for the passion of the fans, the passion of a rivalry between the Bears and Packers goes back as far as the NFL itself. I’m a firm believer the support of any team is what makes the franchise. By combining the great support with history, I was hooked. The other thing which attracted me to the Bears is a similarity to my Soccer team Sunderland. A team that had historical success but were currently going through a barren period, a team who were not bringing the success their supporters deserved. The similarity struck me and I am a sucker for a sports side down on its luck and I follow with the hope it will turn around. I like to support a side at the bottom of the mountain working their way up rather than already at the summit.

In the early days, I knew nothing about the Bears or even the NFL but I slowly became engulfed watching the likes of Brandon Marshall and Julius Peppers play for Bears and developing my knowledge of my franchise became greater. I bought the book Monsters: The 1985 Bears and The Wild Heart of Football by Rich Cohen which I strongly recommend for anyone who hasn’t read it. I also saw the famous “Superbowl Shuffle” and just needed to know more. I spent days, weeks scouring the internet for more information. I just needed to know more I couldn’t wait. It was like falling in love that first time, you just want to know everything about them and spend more time with them.

The moment I realised there was no way back from my infatuation with the Bears was Thanksgiving 2015. In to the early hours in the UK an upset victory against the franchises greatest rival in their own stadium with the defence performing heroically to stop the Packers in the driving rain and to ruin the evening Brett Favre would see his number retired.

I may not have the decades of dedication that the majority of Chicago Bears have but in this corner of North East England there is a fan who celebrates as wildly as any fan in Soldier Field at each score or victory and gets as frustrated and deflated as any in the windy city with a disappointing loss or an interception but my passion for the franchise develops further, I become attached to the heroes of yesteryear such as Jim McMahon, William “The Fridge” Perry etc and make new heroes, I hope Alshon Jeffrey and Kevin White can become a deadly duo with Langford and Howard in the backfield. I may have only just begun my love affair with the Bears but it has got me hooked so much that I will be visiting the Windy City on my Honeymoon to finally see the Bears in Soldier Field. Until then, there will always be one man in the North of England willing them to FeedDaBears

Photo: (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

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