Bears Bowl Bound

By Gus Bode

Though their allegiances lied primarily toward a certain windy Midwestern city, more than 400 fans had only one metropolis on their mind Sunday.

Chants of “Mi-am-i! Mi-am-i!” was all that could be heard from a capacity crowd at Pinch Penny Pub on East Grand Avenue as the Chicago Bears mauled the New Orleans Saints 39-14 on the way to their first Super Bowl appearance in 21 years.

With the Bears leading 32-14 with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Steve Hidlebaugh, a junior from Joliet studying information systems technologies, held up a hand bright red from numerous high-fives as the loudspeakers blared Will Smith’s “Miami” in celebration of the trip the Chicago team will take to Super Bowl XLI.

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He said he knew fans would be celebrating across the state, but there would be an all out riot in Carbondale if the Bears win in Miami Feb. 4.

“I wouldn’t participate in damage, but I’ll be out there cheering,” he said. “I’ll just watch.”

Riotous fans packed Carbondale streets after the win, but SIUC Police reported no arrests or damage. Carbondale police did not return calls for comment.

Hundreds of SIUC students rioted on campus and in the city after the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in October 2005. Rioters flipped over vehicles and tore down light posts, causing about $24,000 in damage.

Chicago (15-3) will make its first trip to the Super Bowl since defeating the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.

The Bears opponent in the game will be Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (14-4). It will be the first time two black head coaches meet in the Super Bowl.

The last time Chicago faced Indianapolis was in 2004 when the Bears lost 41-10.

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Christian Bunyan, a junior from Urbana studying pre-foreign language and international trade, said the NFC Championship victory made his life complete.

“My life is worth something now,” he said.

Bunyan said he is in the market for a ticket to the big game, but said he is not optimistic since he can only afford to spend up to $1,000 for a ticket.

Dan Douglas, a freshman from Joliet studying physical education, said he is making the trip to Miami because he won a Super Bowl ticket in a raffle.

He said he would fly back to Carbondale immediately after the game to celebrate with friends.

“I’ll be in Miami, but I’ll be back that night,” Douglas said. “Carbondale is the home of the Bears!”

Rebecca Mann, a senior from Florida studying administration of justice, watched the game adorned in the jersey of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

She said she started watching the NFL seriously this year, and became a Patriots fan because of the way they play. She said many fans have jumped on the Bears bandwagon.

“It seems like everybody here goes for the Bears just because they’re close to home,” Mann said. “Where were you three years ago?”

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