The Chicago Bears have been compared to the 2017 Los Angeles Rams all season long and it makes perfect sense. From the young quarterback in his second year in the NFL to a new coach in an exciting offense, the similarities are obvious.
The team that is most similar to the 2018 Bears is different, however.
A team that doesn’t even play in the NFL. In fact, it’s not even a football team at all.
The team that’s most similar to the Bears is … the 2015 Chicago Cubs.
While it’s hard to compare a baseball and football team, if you look at the teams, the similarities start to line up.
Before the 2015 season, manager Joe Maddon left the Tampa Bay Rays to join the Chicago Cubs and brought an immediate culture change.
Members of the Cubs were able to be themselves and play creative baseball with players being laid out across the field in positions they’re not comfortable playing with, they had themed road trips where everyone would dress up in hysterical costumes and there was always some sense of fun regardless of how the team was doing.
Before the 2018 season, Matt Nagy left Kansas City as an offensive coordinator and became the head coach for the Bears, bringing a similar change with him that Maddon brought to the Cubs.
Nagy didn’t try to turn Mitch Trubisky into a different kind of quarterback or stop Tarik Cohen from imitating Devin Hester every chance he got.
There’s even a clear note on his play-calling sheet that says “BE YOU.”
There are also team members in different roles than they’re used to with the Bears, as some hilarious play schemes in Sunday night’s victory over the Minnesota Vikings included defensive linemen, including 324-pound Akiem Hicks, lining up on offense for a 2-point conversion.
It’s clear that Nagy runs a very unorthodox team, just like Maddon does with the Cubs.
This isn’t even to mention the fact that the Bears have dance parties after every victory and have photoshoots in the end zone after a big play.
Both teams know how to have fun and make sure the pleasure is always there.
The Young Core
The Cubs saw many young players emerge into the league in 2015 and immediately made an impact including Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber.
Aside from these rookies in 2015, the Cubs had other young players in Javy Baez and Jorge Soler make impacts in their young careers in the MLB.
The Bears have seen great production from second-year players like Trubisky, Cohen and Eddie Jackson, as well as rookie Roquan Smith.
The Bears are surrounded by youth as there isn’t a starter on offense or defense in his 30s.
The Established Veterans
The Cubs already had talent on their roster in 2015 with All-Stars Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, as they were pieces that the front office believed the Cubs could build around.
The Bears had established players on their team as well, such as Danny Trevathan and Akiem Hicks on the defensive side of the ball, and they brought in veteran receiver Allen Robinson during the offseason.
While these players weren’t able to experience much team success in years prior, it was clear that they were a piece or two away from breaking through.
Which brings us to …
The Big Move
The Cubs brought in veteran left-handed pitcher Jon Lester on a six-year, $155-million deal before the 2015 season and that showed the rest of the league they were ready to compete now.
The Bears made a similar move late in the preseason to bring in Khalil Mack and gave him the largest contract for any defensive player in the history of the NFL.
This instantly turned the Bears into a contender overnight and showed that they were tired of being mediocre.
The Cubs were able to break a 108-year World Series drought in Lester’s second season with the team, and the Bears are hoping to break a 33-year Super Bowl drought.
Only time will tell if this becomes as successful of a deal as Lester to the Cubs was, but the Bears are currently 7-3 and you can guarantee they would be in a worse spot without Mack.
As to how the 2015 Cubs panned out, they didn’t win the World Series, but they did make it to the NLCS, the baseball equivalent of the NFC Championship game, before getting swept by the New York Mets.
The Cubs were not expected to make much noise before the 2015 season even with the addition of Lester, similarly to how the Bears were still picked to finish in the bottom half of the league before the season started.
The Bears may not make it to the NFC Championship game or win the Super Bowl this season, but they’re eerily similar to the 2015 Cubs and we all know what happened in 2016.
Whether this team makes a playoff run in 2018 or not, they have set themselves up for success by modeling another Chicago team’s roadmap towards it.