Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

10-7 Chicago Hopes to Bear Up vs. 49ers San Francisco Favored by 17 in Nfc Semifinal

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

10-7 Chicago Hopes to Bear Up vs. 49ers San Francisco Favored by 17 in Nfc Semifinal

Article excerpt

They are the ugly ducklings of this Super Bowl tournament, these Chicago Bears.

First, there's that pedestrian 10-7 record, further defaced by losses of 42-14 to Minnesota, 33-6 to Green Bay, and 40-3 to Green Bay.

Then, there's the dishonor of being the only club in the original playoff field of 12 that was outscored during the regular season. The tally was 271 to 307.

As for star quality, there are those zero (0) Bears who made the Pro Bowl.

Hardly the elements of a juggernaut, or a recipe for Super Bowl success.

"We kind of kid about the Bear factor," Chicago coach Dave Wannstedt said. "We can't throw the ball deep, we can't do this. I mean, everything is what we can't do. We have found a way."

Last Sunday, they found a way to defeat Minnesota for the first time in seven tries - in Minnesota no less - in their National Football League playoff opener.

So here they are, and as difficult as it is to explain their presence, we must deal with it. Actually, San Francisco must deal with it in today's NFC semifinal at Candlestick Park. Kickoff is 3 p.m. St. Louis time. (KDNL, Channel 30).

Talk to 49ers coach George Seifert, however, and he'll tell you that the Nutty Professor must have established the Bears as 17 1/2-point underdogs. Or perhaps, Wayne Newton.

"Look at the talent they have," Seifert said. "They beat Buffalo and Miami. A guy in Las Vegas having a couple of scotch-and-waters must have figured those odds.

"People can stop talking about them as a bunch of overachievers and start talking about them being a bona fide playoff club."

Nice try. But it's difficult even for some of the Bears to avoid being star-struck by a 49ers team that includes future Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Steve Young, not to mention Deion Sanders, Ken Norton and a cast of thousands.

"I've always wanted to meet Jerry Rice," young Chicago receiver Curtis Conway said. …

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