The 5-9 Chicago Bears will play the 3-11 Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field in a Week 16 matchup. Here’s what you need to know before kickoff (3:25 p.m., Fox-Ch. 32).
Ranking QB Justin Fields’ Bears starts
Here we are again, Chicago, in the home stretch of another losing Bears season with quarterback uncertainty swirling. Justin Fields has three games remaining in his third season and, quite possibly, in his time with the organization.
Jaylon Johnson bet on himself — and it paid off
Credit Jaylon Johnson for acknowledging the elephant in the room — and finding a way to use it as motivation from the beginning.
Johnson is the rare NFL player who will emerge a big winner for betting on himself and playing out his contract. He’s not alone, but in an era when teams are motivated to give early extensions with the idea of saving a little money and players love to cash in as soon as possible, Johnson is three games from completing the four-year, $6.46 million contract he signed after being drafted in the second round in 2020.
What’s next for Johnson? Read more here.
Drive for new stadium stalled — but options remain open
Another Bears season is drawing to a close with no breakthroughs in sight for a new stadium — but those involved on all sides say they’re working on it. And a new draft document among the team and Arlington Heights officials suggests potential progress.
Last month, the village held an online meeting with the Bears to discuss a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, according to documents the Tribune obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
The online gathering included invitations to Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren and general counsel Cliff Stein, along with Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes and other village officials. Read more here.
Ho ho ho
Playing on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day has been a possibility for the Chicago Bears only since the 1980s.
Why? From the league’s start in 1920, the NFL season consisted of fewer regular-season games and its championship usually concluded before or avoided altogether the December holidays.
That changed in April 1971, when it was announced four playoff games would take place on Dec. 25-26. This arrangement — with two games each day — meant all four games could be broadcast nationally. As the holidays drew nearer, however, fans became vocal.
“I enjoy football, but is it really necessary to play on Christmas Day?” an angry caller told Joe McGuff, then the sports editor for the Kansas City Star. “This is a religious day, a family day. But apparently it makes no difference to the people who run professional football.”
The Bears played on Christmas Eve for the first time in 1989 and Christmas Day in 2005. Read more here.
Catch up on the news before kickoff
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