Chicago Bears Fans, Chill! Sweetness Book is Fair and Even-Handed

Jeff Pearlman‘s new book Sweetness: the Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton is a complete biography; not a hagiography. It paints the greatest runner in Chicago Bears, possibly NFL history as a human being, not a saint.

Because that’s who Walter Payton was- a person with many virtues and faults, character concerns and contradictions, just like you or I. Payton was my favorite athlete as a kid (replaced by Deion Sanders as Payton retired and I went from childhood to my teen years), and as a seven year old I thought #34 walked on water.

As an adult I know better. So should you. So should the book’s detractors.

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New Walter Payton Book Claims Drug Abuse, Adultery, Suicidal Thoughts

payton hall of fame

As this story revolves around my favorite player as a child, Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton, who once held every major NFL rushing record, I post this with a heavy heart.

Not only did I look up to #34 as a kid, I had lunch with him and spent a day with him as a teen, and he was the nicest guy in the world. That fall day in 1999 when he passed away was very tough for me, because Payton died so young. And today we learn from a new Jeff Pearlman book entitled “Sweetness: the Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton” that Payton not only died young, but had a pretty troubled life that we didn’t previously know about.

And he wasn’t exactly the nicest person in the world while he was alive either.

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Bears Offensive Line Needs Immediate and Drastic Change

If the Chicago Bears front office isn’t going to invest in an offensive lineman to protect Jay Cutler, it ought to spend its money on a stretcher.

A year ago, Cutler became the prized possession of Chicago. The Bears had finally invested in a competent quarterback who could lead the team into the modern era of the NFL, a trigger-happy league with less emphasis on the ground-and-pound running attack that was defined by Jim Brown, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders.

But luring their star signal caller to Chicago came at a high price. In agreeing to send two first-round picks and former Chicago quarterback Kyle Orton, he of the neck beard extraordinaire, to Denver, the Bears bet the house that Cutler was the team’s future.

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Sports Mt. Rushmore

By the TSB Staff

This Sports Bank collaboration is pretty self-explanatory. You’ve probably seen the bit on SportsCenter

PAUL M. BANKS

RED GRANGE: The Babe Ruth of football, along with Papa Bear Halas pretty much invented the NFL- America’s best loved league. He was so big he had two nicknames “Wheaton Iceman” and “Galloping Ghost” en route to becoming professional football’s first megastar; nothing more blue and orange than this Bears and University of Illinois legend.

WALTER PAYTON: I once got to have lunch with Sweetness back in 1994…perhaps the best day of my life during the mid-90s. There is only one true NFL’s all-time leading rusher and it’s not the guy who over extended his career as a re-tread in Arizona.

DERON WILLIAMS: Check out my exclusive with D. Will for an explanation of why my man-crush made it to my sports paragon.

OZZIE GUILLEN: I take pride in the fact that pro sports’ biggest nut-job leads my favorite all-time team and resides right here in Chicago. In a world filed with “we’re just taking it one game at a time,” “you dont want to get too high after the wins or too low after the losses,” and “somebody needs to step up,” a man who makes jokes to reporters about beating his wife, getting high at Allman Brothers concerts and destroying the contents of his office (all with a few @#$% and %&&* throw in for good measure) is a welcome departure. Anyone who Mad TV tries to parody, but can’t because the real thing is way more outrageous and absurd sounding than any possible spoof is legendary. Then there’s his record as a player and manager. We’ll never @#$ing forget 2000 and %^&in 2005!

Honorable mentions:
Deion $anders, Rashard Mendenhall, Frank Thomas, Papa Bear Halas, Bruce Weber, Pat Fitzgerald, Rocky Wirtz, Ryne Sandberg and Kendall Gill

PETER CHRISTIAN

Kirby Puckett– post career scandals notwithstanding, he is the reason I am the sports fan I am today.

Randy Moss– The greatest individual Viking player I’ve ever seen in person. Love me some Randy.

Kevin Garnett– He was to Minnesota Basketball what Michael Jordan was to the NBA.

Lou Nanne– The man has devoted his life to Minnesota hockey since he was 21, he is the greatest advocate for the sport in the state.


DAVID K.

Brett Favre- His head should really be three or four times bigger than the others.  Nobody will ever replace Favre as my favorite athlete of all time.  Although I would really be okay if someone called Tommy Lee Jones and he brought that mind eraser thingy from Men In Black and zapped this past season out of my memory bank.

Dwyane Wade- Words cannot express how fun my senior year of college was because of Wade.  His triple-double against Kentucky in the Elite Eight will go down as the single greatest performance I have ever seen at a live sporting event.  He has already won an NBA Title, NBA Finals MVP Award, an Olympic Gold Medal, and on top of all that, he’s from SICA!

Ernie Banks-
Since I need a Cubs representative on my Mount Rushmore, it has got to be Mr. Cub.  Mark Grace is my favorite Cubby of all time, but just does not seem Mt. Rushmore-worthy.  Banks does.

Dominique Wilkins- I would insist the sculptor give Nique the high fade from the late 80’s to make my Rushmore look that much sweeter.  The Human Highlight Film is probably the most innovative dunker not named Dr. J. and was my favorite basketball player prior to the arrival of D-Wade.  I cried when he was traded to the Clippers.  True story.

Honorable Mentions: Eric Davis (the former Reds OF, not 49ers CB), Grace, Wayne Chism (just because his yamika-style headband would look awesome in chiseled rock form.)

MELISSA S. WOLLERING

Sports Mt. Rushmore = Jim Brown, Babe Ruth, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Tiger Woods

Reason – To become forever immortalized in stone on a mountain, you must make a significant contribution to both sports and the world at-large for years to come.  Otherwise, you get no bling on a geographic marker in the States.

honorable mention: Jack Nicklaus, Jim Thorpe, Carl Lewis, Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron.  Seriously, if Mt. Rushmore could fit 5 heads, Thorpe or Lewis get a spot.