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Offseason Beats: Halftime Show Review & the Chicago Bears

by Nate Polvogt

No matter when you grew up, there is certain music that will always remind you of your youth. If it was the 1980s it might be Motley Crue or Chicago; if it was the 1970s it could be the Ohio Players or Led Zeppelin. You get the point.

For someone who grew up in the 1990s – me – the Super Bowl LVI halftime show featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, featuring special appearances from 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak, was nothing short of an astonishing walk down memory lane.

I was hyped for this halftime show. This was the first time in years I actually made sure I was in front of the television as it started as this was music and artists I grew up listening to daily. Dr. Dre’s debut solo album “The Chronic” (1992) has been in constant rotation for me for nearly 30 years. This show was like one of those “1990s Hip-Hop Throwback” concerts that come around every few years, but with performers that we want to see. 

Snoop Dog’s early career is tied to Dr. Dre’s producing.

It started as you would expect, with Dre and Snoop Dogg ripping off two chart-topping hits with “Next Episode” and “California Love,” the latter an homage to the late Tupac Shakur. Next up came rapper 50 Cent busting out his 2003 party anthem “In Da Club.” In a stunt fitting of a Super Bowl, he entered the scene hanging upside down in a red-lit club scene surrounded by dancers. It was solidly reminiscent of the music video that accompanied the song’s initial release. 

Following up the New York native was Blige. I had been excited about this specific performance and she did not disappoint. Kicking into her 2001 smash hit “Family Affair” got myself and the entire crowd at So-Fi Stadium bumping. It was full of energy and rawness. It didn’t feel like a halftime show. And just when you thought it couldn’t get better, she transitioned into the soulful ballad “No More Drama.” It was a masterclass in vocal range and emotion. Her performance was easily my favorite of the entire night.

Despite there being so much good from this show, there were also some performances that weren’t as stellar. Lamar is an incredible artist, don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance, but it felt awkward and out of place. While he is on his way to legend status, he may not be there quite yet like everyone else on stage. 

Eminem still holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest selling rap artist.

Eminem teased us with a continuation of the Lamar “Forgot About Dre” theme only to hop into “Lose Yourself.” This is far and away my least favorite Eminem track. Anything else would have been better. I understand it was probably a shout-out to Detroit roots and Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, but I really could have done without it.

With Lamar and Eminem done with their solo performances, Dre found himself back on stage to close things out. In what was my favorite individual moment of the entire show, Dre sat down at a piano and played the intro to “Still D.R.E.” With everyone back on stage, they finish out the halftime spectacle to a raucous crowd and a very well-deserved ovation. 

Overall, this turned out to be just about everything I was hoping for. We got the classic songs we could sing along to, expert choreography, lights, flash and fun. Anderson Paak crushed it on the drums and the all-around feel was nostalgic and fun. If I had to give this halftime show a rating, it would be a solid eight out of 10.

And with that, let’s lay down a new track and get into some fantasy football.

Offseason NFL Beats: The Chicago Bears

We are two days removed from the Super Bowl and for most casual fantasy football players, there’s nothing much to do until August when redraft season fires back up. For the rest of us – the dedicated dynasty format managers – the fun is just beginning. There is a lot to do between now and September. 

The new NFL league year begins on March 16 and with it, free agency. There is certain to be a flurry of players signing with new teams, possibly shifting perceived dynasty value. Then comes the NFL Draft in late April and our league rookie drafts shortly thereafter.

With so many unknowns, all we can do right now is soak up as much information as possible and be prepared to make moves when the pieces start falling into place or even possibly before to gain a competitive edge.

To help you get ahead of your league mates, I will be covering a different team in each edition of “Offseason Beats,” diving deep into players and situations that could have a serious impact on the outcome of your 2022 fantasy football season.

For this inaugural edition, I spoke with Chicago Bears beat reporter for BearReport.com – as part of 24/7 Sports – Zack Pearson, posing him several questions to discover just how invested you should be in this Bears’ offense as we barrel towards the 2022 season. 

Darnell Mooney (WR)

Are the Bears going after a marquee wide receiver to pair with Darnell Mooney or does he assume the WR1 role in 2022?

“I think the Bears are going to be active on the free-agent market, as well as in the draft to find a wide receiver,” Pearson said. “But I don’t think they will be big spenders. Davante Adams is probably heading back to Green Bay and I don’t think they will be involved with someone like Chris Godwin or Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ). The prospects of Allen Robinson coming back on a cheap deal probably isn’t likely, either. Instead, I think Chicago is going to look at some second or third-tier options at the position in free agency.”

“As for Mooney, I don’t know if he’s ready to be a No. 1 receiver right now but the Bears may not need him to be that,” Pearson said. “Getting talent around him helps and he might be best served as a good No. 2.”

Dynasty Impact

With Pearson suggesting the Bears are unlikely to be big spenders in free agency at receiver, Mooney could be in place to leap into the team’s WR1, even though he isn’t sure he is quite ready to take that role. If they add sound veterans or promising rookies, this could be a receiving corps that has the ball spread around.

With that said, Mooney’s upside still remains high as he finished as the Point’s Per Reception (PPR) WR23 in 2021, despite the lack-luster Bears’ offense as a whole. If someone in your leagues is willing to move of Mooney for a non-proven commodity I’m willing to risk it with the Chicago likely lacking a true alpha receiver this season.

David Montgomery & Khalil Herbert (RBs)

Is there a chance the new coaching staff gets running back Khalil Herbert more involved in the offense? If so, how do you think that will affect running back David Montgomery’s usage?

“I think so, yes,” Pearson said. “Herbert flashed promise in his first year as a running back in this league, getting his chance when Montgomery went down for an injury. Depending on what they do with Damien Williams and Tarik Cohen, Herbert could enter next season as the No. 2 RB in the rotation. I’d still expect Montgomery to be the lead back and get the majority of the carries but Herbert’s reps should increase.”

Dynasty Impact

Montgomery, if healthy, will continue to get significant and fantasy-relevant volume in the Bears’ running game, giving him RB1 upside once again in 2022. Herbert still has some potential to be a possible fantasy RB4 or RB5 this year in a complementary role to Montgomery, but he may not be worth acquiring for anything of too much value if you don’t already roster have him or Montgomery.

Justin Fields (QB)

Does quarterback Justin Fields make huge strides this off-season and become a top-tier NFL QB?

“Last season was a weird year for Fields and I don’t think he got a fair shot at being the starter right away, Pearson said. “The Bears were so committed to Andy Dalton being the starter that they didn’t even make it a legit competition. But going into this season he will be QB1 and this is the most important next few months for him so far. If he gets better, I can see him getting closer and closer to being a really good quarterback in this league. Top tier? I don’t think so right away. I think that’s going to take time, which is fine. As long as he shows improvement this season, everything will be fine.”

Dynasty Impact

It’s refreshing to hear that Chicago is still optimistic about building around Fields, despite the mess former head coach Matt Nagy made in 2021. If you’re in win-now mode in dynasty formats, Fields may not be the ideal quarterback to target this offseason as Pearson alluded to, it’s unlikely he makes the jump into a top-tier QB.

That said, Fields still rushed for 420 yards on 72 carries, showing he has serious upside if they can get him going as a dual-threat option. If you’re in a rebuild, still a year or two away from title contention, it may not be a bad idea to make offers for Fields as it may be the cheapest you can get him throughout his career.

Cole Kmet (TE)

It seemed as the 2021 season rolled on, tight end Cole Kmet became more involved in the offense. Is that a trend that continues into 2022?

“Kmet is ready to be TE1 in this offense and it’s very likely Jimmy Graham isn’t back on the team, whether it’s retirement or the new regime not bringing him back,” Pearson said. “There was a lot of volume in terms of receptions for Kmet, but the production in terms of touchdowns just wasn’t there. Year three is a big one for Kmet as he has to take that next step in this offense and show signs of improvement. He gets the chance to be that lead tight end and we should know quickly if he’s improved or not.”

Dynasty Impact

With Pearson alluding to a likely departure for the veteran Graham, Kmet could leap into fantasy-relevant territory. I am a big fan of his talent, but he’s someone I want to see take that leap before spending up. If you can acquire him cheaply and have a deep bench, he is worth taking a shot on for some later-round rookie picks or possible veterans who could soon be over the hill at other positions.

As always, thanks for reading! I’ll be back next month with another edition of “Offseason Beats,” but until then come find my other content on Twitter, @NatePolvogt.  

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