A Bear becomes a goat, in an ‘epic fail’ against the Broncos.

December 12, 2011

Marion Barber leaves the field after losing to the Broncos.

Having lost a third game in a row, in overtime to the Tebow-lead Denver Broncos, the Chicago Bears are done. At 7-6, they trail the undefeated Green Bay Packers by a million games. One could argue their season was over when quarterback, Jay Cutler broke his finger three weeks ago. That the Bear’s overachieving running back, Matt Forte got injured the following week only added injury to insult. Marion Barber became the featured running back, and he is subject of this story…

For Marion Barber was featured in a fashion few of us will ever experience. Barber single-handedly lost the game to the Denver Broncos. Twice. First by inexplicably running out of bounds, thereby stopping the clock from running out on the opposition. Second by fumbling the ball on his way to an open field and the game-winning touchdown. In this way, the Bears lost an un-losable game.

To use a cruel cliché, if you look up “Epic Fail” in the dictionary you’ll see a picture of Marion Barber.

This evening, as I was decorating our family’s Christmas tree, I felt sorry for Marion Barber. I knew as I was stretching to put a star atop the tree, Barber was sitting on a brutally quiet airplane, staring out into a darkened sky, alone. If any of his teammates tried to commiserate with him, which is doubtful, he could only tell them he was sorry once or twice before even that became unbearable. Bears like Barber aren’t used to being the goat. No professional ball player is. The worst guy on the worst team in the NFL is infinitely better at his craft than most everyone else in the world. When one of these men shoulders the entire weight of a team loss, I can’t imagine the pain.

And it is a pain that won’t go away anytime soon. For tomorrow and the next day and the days after that, the media will crucify him. From the gaudy sportscasters on his favorite news channel to the paralyzing over-analysis on ESPN, his inability to stay inbounds will be EVERYWHERE. He’ll want to stay off Twitter as well.

Facing his family will bring no relief. They will coddle him and that will only make it worse. He will want to crawl into a hole until next Sunday when, God willing, he can somehow be a hero. It’s unlikely. Frankly, it’s unlikely the Bears will win another game.

Yes, a lot of other Bears screwed up plays, including the coaches. But Barber’s was by far the worst. Men like Barber are filthy rich. But I bet he’d give a million dollars to have either one of his mistakes against Denver reversed. In his cleats, wouldn’t you? I know I would.


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