Chicago Bears, weather have collided for supernatural games

Do you have moments when you expect a public outcry but nothing happens? It happened to me last Sunday when fans were evacuated in the first quarter of a Soldier Field game between home Chicago Bears and visiting Baltimore Ravens. The important words in that last sentence are "evacuated" and "first quarter." That did not bother anyone but me?

If you empty a stadium minutes after it began, you must have known the risk of tornadoes long before that. A clue was that the evacuation instructions were posted on the stadium scoreboard long before the game began. So why not just announce the 1 p.m. game is being delayed until 4:15, the other Sunday afternoon game time? Why not? Well, it would be irritating and expensive.

So the league gambled that letting folks in for a 1 p.m. start would be OK. It worked but consider what could have been lost? And nobody cared enough to even talk about it?

We don't love our football, we are addicted to it.

But I'm addicted too, so I'll use the tornado warning in Chicago as an excuse to recall a classic Chicago "weather game" I witnessed that had no warning: The Fog Bowl.

The Bears' Mike Singletary called it "a supernatural experience." Officially, the league called it a divisional playoff game between Mike Ditkas' Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles, coached by former Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Putting them on the same field should have been grounds for a tornado warning itself.

But there was nothing like a tornado.

Just fog. Fog that once prompted Carl Sandburg to write:

"The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on."

The day had begun cold but clear and was fine late in the second quarter when I looked to the end zone on my right from my toasty press box seat. Something gray was creeping over the end zone wall and quietly sliding to the ground.

Aliens!

I really thought we were being attacked by either a poisonous gas or, yes, aliens. I've always been a sci-fi nut and preferred aliens over poison anyway. But it was a tidal wave of fog rising off Lake Michigan. And 15 minutes later we could not see the field from the press box. Forget about seeing players, we couldn't see the field.

So the entire press corps gathered in the end zone where we caught glimpses of shadowy movements. Eventually they said it was over and that Chicago had won 20-12. Far as I know, that was probably the score.

Eagles QB Randall Cunningham said, years later, that his team made a tactical error: "We could probably have had the whole team on field and people wouldn't have known."

Would have fooled me.

Tough town, Chicago.

PS: There was a "small" earthquake (no earthquakes are small) in Ohio on Wednesday. I'm just sayin'.

The day JFK died

A private in the army (yes, ours), somehow I was at Fort Campbell, Ky., teaching fifth grade math and English to soldiers who were a little behind in their studies. Somebody stuck his head into our classroom and said something like "Somebody shot the President and they think he's dead." And I said "Class dismissed." As for the NFL playing two days later, there seems to be more criticism now than then. And five of the seven games were sellouts. If some comparable judgment had to be made today, you would have the option America had 50 years ago — don't go.

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