Comparing Bears' 2020 season to Six Flags rides with Kyle Brandt

Alex Shapiro
·4 min read

Kyle Brandt compares Bears' 2020 to Six Flags rides; it's perfect originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Football and metaphors have always gone hand-in-hand, from simple terms like “Hail Mary” to phrases that have worked their way into everyday speech, like “calling an audible.” One of the most used metaphors perfectly describes the Bears 2020 campaign: “a roller coaster ride of a season.” On The Hoge & Jahns Podcast (part of NBC Sports Chicago’s “Countdown to Kickoff” this week) Good Morning Football host, and proud Chicagoan, Kyle Brandt brought that metaphor closer to home when describing his thoughts on the Bears. Specifically, to Gurnee.

“Hallowed ground of Six Flags Great America,” Brandt said. “Where I spent a lot of time during my childhood. Sometimes I would even go and get what was called a ‘twicket’ where you could come back the next day for like $1.”

For those really in the know, you couldn’t go to Six Flags without a Coke can coupon— but that’s neither here nor there.

“If I was to describe, off the top of my head, the Bears season to a classic Six Flags Great America roller coaster, it would be the Shockwave. I don’t know if that’s still there.”

For what it’s worth, it’s not. Shockwave was torn down in 2002, and replaced with the Superman ride the next year. For the Gen Z readers who never experienced the pleasure of riding Shockwave, Brandt broke it down while explaining how it was similar to the Bears’ 2020 season.

“Shockwave was one of the estate pieces of Great America. It was right up front, prime real estate. Here’s the thing though, it would go up, and up, and up. At the beginning it’s this incredible climb. It’s five wins in the first couple months of the season. We’re all doing ‘Boom!’ in Club Dub, and everything. But holy crap, then it goes down fast. Then it comes back for some loops, I think there’s some consecutive loops over the parking lot. That would be the description for the Bears’ season.”

What Brandt didn’t mention was how bumpy of a ride Shockwave was after that initial drop. The herky-jerky track was enough to give you whiplash. After the late-season push, then the Wild Card loss to the Saints, Bears fans could probably relate to anyone who had just gotten off of the coaster.

But for Brandt the Six Flags-Bears comparisons don’t end there.

“I feel like the first Nagy year, the 2018 year, was like your starter roller coaster. There’s one called ‘The Demon,’ where it was for like 12 year olds. You’re on a roller coaster, you’re gonna do some scary stuff, but it’s not like gonna blow you away. It’s not Batman. It’s not Iron Wolf. That was that pleasant 2018 season. Didn’t rattle your neck, but a fun ride. Positive things to come.

“Well they never got on Iron Wolf, and they stepped backwards. They were on The Zipper, or whatever it was called, in 2019.”

Pretty sure Brandt means “The Whizzer,” another low-key coaster geared towards smaller kids. However, The Whizzer is at least fun, if not thrilling. That’s more than the Bears offense could say in 2020.

“I hate talking negatively about the Bears,” Brandt said. “I don’t like doing it about any team, but especially the Bears. I’m proud I grew up with Walter Payton bed sheets and the Super Bowl Shuffle cassette tape. I love that stuff. Yet, all this year when they would come up with all the stuff that we would do [on Good Morning Football] it was an exercise in agility in not talking negative.

“It was a really, really weird, unique season that inexplicably ended, you know, the Bears went to the playoffs! And you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s a success!’ And I feel like it almost would’ve been better if they didn’t make it, in a weird way. It’s a strange description, but man it was a strange season.”

So where does that leave the team now?

“They’re on that thing that rises up and goes 360 so you can see the whole park,” Brandt said.

Ah yes, Sky Trek Tower, the observation deck.

“It’s not really a roller coaster, it’s more ‘There’s this, there’s that,’ because they’re evaluating. They’re saying, ‘What is the landscape of this Bears team and organization?’ So they’re on that thing right now, and when they come down, I hope they have answers.”

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