“We should have a second NFL team in Chicago. If San Francisco has two, New York has two, Florida has three teams â€¦ and when you take Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, they have three teams there in that region, we could easily support a second pro football team,” Daley recently reiterated to Mike North and Dan Jiggetts on Comcast SportsNet’s “Monsters in the Morning.”
“The population is here, the business community is here. … [The NFL] should really look at Chicago.”
Chicago once had two professional football teams, when the now-Arizona Cardinals played their games at Comiskey Park. In the 1980s, the notion of bringing a second professional football team back to Chicago was discussed at the NFL owners meetings.
So how realistic is the possibility of another NFL team coming to Chicago? As Mike Florio points out at Pro Football Talk, two key factors would likely prevent the move:
- There is still no team in L.A., a market that the NFL is desperate to get back into.
- The Bears won’t want to share the Chicago market.
However, let’s just assume the hypothetical for a moment. Let’s say that the NFL does, in fact, bring a second team to Chicago. What would it look like? Well, it depends on whether or not an already established team made the move. If a current team moved, obviously all of the players would stay the same.
(Side note: I’m sure the demon horns on Art Modell’s head stood up at attention at the mere mention of a team in Chicago. Rumors are that he is already packing up the Baltimore offices for a potential move if he can make more money in Chitown.)
On the other hand, if the NFL decided to add an expansion team, it would have two options. The first option would be the established expansion model that we have seen teams like the Browns and Texans, among others, follow. A second option, which is highly unlikely but that would certainly be much more entertaining, would be to give the new Chicago team the option of forging its roster from the rosters of Chicago’s two baseball teams.
Such a team might be much more competitive than you’d think. Here is a hypothetical roster for the Chicago Bighurts (named, of course, after former stud Auburn tight end, and a halfway decent hitter for the Sox, Frank Thomas).
QB â€“ Josh Fields, White Sox – 6-1, 220
Backup QB – Clayton Richard, White Sox – 6-5, 240
RB â€“ Joey Gathright, Cubs – 5-10, 185
FB â€“ Paul Konerko, White Sox – 6-2, 220
WR â€“ Jeff Samardzija, Cubs – 6-5, 220
WR- Jerry Owens, White Sox – 6-3, 195
WR – Aaron Miles, Cubs – 5-8, 185
TE – Derrek Lee, Cubs – 6-5, 245
LT â€“ Jose Contreras, White Sox – 6-4, 255
LG â€“ Bobby Jenks, White Sox – 6-3, 275
C â€“ Jim Thome, White Sox – 6-3, 255
RG â€“ Mark Buehrle, White Sox – 6-2, 230
RT â€“ Adam Russell, White Sox – 6-8, 250
K â€“ Ryan Theriot, Cubs – 5-11, 175
Quarterbacks: Josh Fields was an outstanding quarterback at Oklahoma State, who owns the career record for touchdown passes with 55. he once threw 7 in a game, and had a 357-yard, 4-TD, 0-INT performance in an upset over #3 Oklahoma. He would give the Bighurts a solid field general. Backing him up would be Clayton Richard, who went to Michigan after a stellar high school football career in Indiana. He has the prototypical size for an NFL QB and fits the “classic drop-back passer” mold. Either way, the Bighurts would have a better QB situation than the Bears.
Backfield: We all know about Joey Gathright’s blazing speed. What you may not know is that he did not play baseball during his senior year of high school; he played only football and ran track. Gathright would provide a Brian Westbrook-type weapon in the backfield. The Bighurts would not be built for smash-mouth football, considering their undersized O-line, and Gathright would be the perfect back for the system. With a tough, physical fullback in Paul Konerko, the Bighurts would not be out of luck in short-yardage situations.
Wide Receivers/Tight End: This might be the strength of the Bighurts offense. Jeff Samardzija was an All-American WR at Notre Dame and could have been a first round draft pick. Speedy Jerry Owens, who played football with Kyler Boller in high school would play opposite Samardzija. Aaron Miles could fulfill a Wes Welker-type role as a tough, possession receiver out of the slot. And Derrek Lee, who was offered a basketball scholarship to North Carolina out of high school, could become the next Antonio Gates. Basketball players have a successful history of becoming good tight ends, and Lee has all of the athletic ability to dominate the middle of the field as a receiver.
Offensive Line: The Bighurts would definitely want to take all White Sox players for their O-Line to ensure a tough, physical unit. The left side of the line is bigger with Contreras and Jenks, and would clearly be the side to run towards in short-yardage situations. This unit would have to make up for its lack of size with speed, quickness, and might be best utilized in a Broncos-style zone blocking scheme.
Kicker: The Bighurts may want to see if any of the Latin players on the White Sox or Cubs have soccer experience. Otherwise, they should just stick Ryan Theriot back there with a bare foot and a single bar facemask — it would be funnier.
DE â€“ Jermaine Dye, White Sox – 6-5, 245
DE â€“ Kevin Gregg, Cubs – 6-6, 240
DT â€“ Carlos Zambrano, Cubs – 6-5, 255
DT â€“ Bartolo Colon, White Sox – 5-11, 245
LB â€“ AJ Pierzynski, White Sox – 6-4, 240
LB â€“ Milton Bradley, Cubs – 6-0, 225
LB â€“ Geovanny Soto, Cubs – 6-1, 224
CB â€“ DeWayne Wise, White Sox – 6-1, 195
CB â€“ Alexei Ramirez, White Sox – 6-3, 185
S â€“ Carlos Quentin, White Sox – 6-2, 220
S â€“ Alfonso Soriano, White Sox – 6-1, 180
Token Backup White Safety – Brian Anderson, White Sox – 6-2, 220
P- Rich Hill, Cubs – 6-5, 205
Defensive Line: The strength of the D-Line would be up the middle. Carlos Zambrano is an absolute beast and would demand double teams. Bartolo Colon makes up for a lack of mobility with much-needed girth to stop the run. On the ends, Jermaine Dye could be a Jason Taylor-lake pass rush specialist — although, with his current speed, he might be more like Willie McGinest. Kevin Gregg would try to be like Jared Allen, but would be the obvious weak link on the defense.
Linebackers: Smarts and tenacity reign here. Milton Bradley would be like a Jonathan Vilma in the middle — he’s a little undersized, but a complete badass. As long as the coaches play clips of announcers talking bad about him in the locker room, Bradley would be in a frenzy by game time. AJ Pierzynski and Geovanny Soto would be solid run stuffers who might struggle in pass coverage. And AJ, of course, would be the one pinching guys’ packages and twisting ankles in the pile. His mind games could help to rattle opposing QBs though.
Defensive Backs: This unit might be able to start in the NFL right now. DeWayne Wise was an excellent football player in high school, and could be a physical Ty Law-type corner on one side. Alexei Ramirez probably did not know what American football was until last year, but with his athletic ability, who cares? The Cuban Missle could change his last name to Cromartie and hold his own as a tall, lanky, athletic ball-hawking corner.
At the safety spots, Carlos Quentin would be a Troy Polamalu- or Bob Sanders-style badass. Quentin was named defensive player of the year as a football player in high school, and has the toughness, athletic ability, and athletic instincts to be successful on the gridiron. Alfonso Soriano is tall and fast, and while he would probably miss assignments and get beat deep every now and then, he’d also come up with interceptions and be a threat to take each one to the house. Providing depth would be Brian Anderson, the Bighurts answer to Nick Sorensen and an homage to white backup safeties everywhere.
Punter: Only one choice here. Rich Hill has been punting on his potential throughout his baseball career; might as well let him be the actual punter. Single-bar facemask and oversized wristwatch mandatory.
Ozzie Guillen would not have a clue about any of the Xs and Os. But can you imagine a current baseball manager who would be better at inspiring a football team to play physical, tough football than Ozzie? Ken Williams is an intense, methodical, meticulous GM, and would be able to fit the pieces of the offense together in surprisingly effective ways. Lou Piniella would be a combination of Buddy Ryan’s craziness and Jim Johnson’s all-out blitz mentality. With such a strong secondary, Piniella would probably bring 7 or 8 on every play.
And carrying Ozzie Guillen’s cords would be Kosuke Fukudome, who would otherwise be pretty much useless like he is on a baseball field. Can you imagine the comedy if Ozzie ever tripped over his cords and then had to try and communicate with Fukudome?
So there you have it, your 2009 Chicago Bighurts. They would have to figure out how to handle the overlap between the baseball season and the playoffs, but otherwise this might very well be the perfect solution. Come to think of it, one way around the conflict would be to have the Cubs players report to NFL training camp on time, because their World Series hopes will be over by then anyway.