Bears’ secretive preseason spurs soaring expectations for grand reveal

Overreaction beats no reaction any day, and the Bears have the city on the edge of its seat for the upcoming season.

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The wait is almost over for the Bears, who open Sept. 5 against the Packers.

AP

The Bears’ refusal to play their starters much in the preseason has annoyed some, but they should take that as a compliment.

People can’t wait.

How many years has it been since there was this level of anticipation at the start of a football season in Chicago?

The last time was more than a decade ago. Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, the Bears were aiming for a return trip going into the 2007 season.

So every morsel this August — a tweet about Mitch Trubisky throwing interceptions in seven-on-seven drills; a field goal, made or missed, in a preseason game; coach Matt Nagy merely musing about what he might do with newcomer Cordarrelle Patterson — sends shock waves. Anything can be a launch point for speculation about what’s in store the next few months.

Better to spur overreaction than no reaction. Nothing is worse than indifference.

The Bears’ visit to Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday gave them a look at the peak of their recent history. A gigantic banner hangs high above the 50-yard line with the Super Bowl XLI logo, a memento from the Colts’ 29-17 victory on a rainy night in South Florida.

That game started with Devin Hester unleashing the most electric play of his electric career. Then it all went downhill. Riding the Bears’ spikes and crashes is for steel stomachs only. No team in the city raises hopes and crushes them with such turbulence.

The ’07 team staggered to 7-9, and there have been a lot of nondescript seasons since. A lot of those teams weren’t even likable, let alone good.

But the Bears are surging again — and this time feels different. Last season, they could have gone to the Super Bowl. This season, they should. There’s a prevailing sense that a mini-dynasty is within their reach.

And everybody wants a sneak preview.

Fans are beyond ready for the tantalizing opener against the Packers. It’s no surprise they packed the practice fields in Bourbonnais this summer. Single-day attendance topped out at around 9,500, and the total for training camp was nearly 60,000 — a 51 percent increase over 2018.

The media want to see if the preseason hype they have been fueling holds up. Even Nagy must be itching to rev the Lamborghini again.

But the preseason trudges on for a few more days. Everyone will have to be patient because there’s no chance the Bears will play anyone of note in their preseason finale Thursday against the Titans.

Khalil Mack will have sat out all four games. Trubisky supposedly got all he needed from those three glorious handoffs against the Panthers. (They were really crisp handoffs, by the way. Precise. Great footwork. Excellent ball placement.) All the high-grade weapons — Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, et al. — have remained in storage.

The most Nagy showed was rookie running back David Montgomery’s six plays in the Carolina game, which were enough for him to flash the multifaceted potential the Bears envisioned when they drafted him.

He has been shelved ever since, in part because Nagy wants to limit the scouting material available to opponents.

It’s grueling because the NFL has the longest offseason of the four major sports, and it teases you by saying, “Back to football,” in those commercials when it really isn’t quite back. The Bears will have endured eight football-less months by the time they arrive at the opener Sept. 5. The wait for a baby is only slightly more exhausting.

The grand reveal is coming soon, and it’ll be worth it. Just hang on for one more week.

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