The Chicago Bears always have outstanding support from their fans during home games at Soldier Field. Yet this season, they've also had staunch support during road contests.
Wherever the Bears have traveled this year, Chicago fans have followed. This was particularly so in the contests in Dallas, Jacksonville and yesterday in Tennessee. When the team showed up at their Nashville hotel on Saturday night, they were greeted by upwards of 1,000 fans. The following afternoon, LP Field, home of the Titans, was filled with Navy and orange, giving the Bears the feeling of a home game on the road.
"They've traveled well," Jay Cutler said. "Hats off to our fans, it's been a fun year — Dallas, Jacksonville, here, it's been crazy to watch the Bears fans take over. You know you have a ton of fans when you're in an away stadium in the red zone and I'm trying to get the crowd to hush up and they're responding. They got quiet in a hurry, so it makes it fun."
On Sunday, the stadium had to be at least 40 percent Bears fans, if not more. During the game, when updates on the Green Bay Packers game were displayed on the main scoreboard, the crowd continuously booed.
"It's amazing. Dallas, Jacksonville, here, the only time it's not like that is in a division games," said Brian Urlacher. "That's when it doesn't happen. It's fun going on the road when the crowds are like this."
In the 51-20 blowout on Sunday, many Tennessee fans left the stadium early. As a result, throughout most of the fourth quarter, there were only two things in the stands at LP Field: Bears fans and empty seats.
"I think the Bears have great fans, they follow them," said Titans coach Mike Munchak. "We expect that they travel well with their team. That's great for them if they have that tradition that their fans want to follow them, not just in Nashville, but everywhere they play. They've got a strong following."
This type of support began in training camp, where 10,000 or more fans filed in to watch nearly every practice in Bourbonnais. Expectations for this team are high, particularly after a 7-1 start to the season, and it appears Bears fans don't want to miss a minute of the action.
This gives the Bears a big advantage going on the road. Typically, they have to contend with hostile crowds that can stunt communication on the field. But this year, the crowds have provided Chicago players with comfort, support and energy, something they usually only get at home.
The Bears are handling their business on the field, currently perched atop the NFC North, and the fans are holding up their end of the bargain as well. Continued support will be crucial in the second half of the season, one in which the schedule gets much tougher and three of the last four games are on the road.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.