It?s not something people freely admit. But I ask you, Vincent, is this really a Bulls town, or was it just a Michael Jordan town?
Seriously. Were most of the people who followed the Bulls ? starting with Jordan?s 63-point game against Boston in the 1986 playoffs and ending with their sixth title in 1998 ? just Jordan fans?
And have they gone back to watching whatever else it is they watch?
Do you fall into that category?
It?s especially relevant because the vultures have started to circle around Vinny Del Negro less than a quarter into this season.
It?s especially relevant because the Bulls are dangerously close to being irrelevant, and the most dangerous sentiment for Del Negro is not fan exasperation.
As much as anything, it?s the kind of thing that disturbs an owner and gets a coach fired.
But the reality is that since the death of Bill Wirtz, which was the single biggest factor in the Blackhawks? resurgence, the Bulls have replaced the Hawks as the least relevant team in Chicago.
They?ll never sink to the level the Hawks slithered around at for more than a decade, and their attendance remains strong because they built up much good will with six titles.
Plus, they have an owner who cares, the absolute antithesis of Bill Wirtz.
Nevertheless, the Bulls are bad, they have only one very good NBA player, they still don?t have a big man with whom Derrick Rose can play catch, and they seem to have put most of their eggs in the Chris Bosh basket.
Of course, none of this is Del Negro?s doing, and firing him now or in a month won?t change much.
If anything, it will likely get worse, unless John Paxson himself comes down to coach the team.
But Del Negro didn?t create this, and he didn?t even ask for this.
He was handed the job with no experience after Paxson had a Jerry Angelo-like coaching search in which his top choices all went elsewhere or nowhere.
The Bulls aren?t where they are because of Del Negro?s coaching skills, which are questionable, and the staff?s ability to develop, which is nonexistent.
They are where they are because the Bulls have a bad roster, have drafted poorly
and have been unable to evaluate their own talent.
We?ve lost track of how many times they should have traded players like Tyrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich, to name just a couple.
So you have in Paxson a man who never wanted the job and in Del Negro a man who never expected the job.
Together, it?s not working out too well.
But firing Del Negro isn?t the answer and isn?t going to change the question.
Are the Bulls relevant today and will they ever be as important in Chicago as they were when Jordan was on the floor?
You tell me.
There is a code among professional coaches and managers that says they don?t talk publicly about positions that aren?t open.
So it makes you wonder what the Bears and Lovie Smith think about hearing that Charlie Weis is interested in being the next Bears offensive coordinator, a position currently occupied by Ron Turner.
Mike Martz is another name frequently mentioned, but when Martz spoke to St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz, Martz said he was "appalled?? by reports linking his name to the Bears, noting he?s friends with both Smith and Turner.
"It makes me sick,?? Martz said. "It?s so unfair to Lovie and Ron.??
Sounds like Martz might not take the job just on principle, while Smith probably is appalled that Weis reportedly has told others he wants the job.
Was Smith sticking it to GM Jerry Angelo last weekend when he didn?t have Gaines Adams active for the Rams game?
The good kid
On Nov. 15 at the UC, 8-year-old Gavin Pawell from Lemont won the "Shoot the Puck?? contest between periods of a Hawks game, earning a round-trip airline ticket to any U.S. destination.
When contacted this week about receiving the prize, Gavin asked his parents, Chris and Deidre, if he could donate it to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and of course they approved.
Kudos to Gavin for a generous decision, and to his parents for raising a terrific young man.
E-mailer Cousin Basil: "I am completely disgusted by your comparison of Bears personnel to my beloved Three Stooges. Have you no shame? Consider how mortified Hassan Ben Sobar or Wild Bill Hiccup would be if they read your work!??
If Colt McCoy wins the Heisman after that ridiculous final drive Saturday against Nebraska, they ought to give him the Nobel Peace Prize, too.
Sportspickle.com: "Bears RB Adrian Peterson escapes ticket despite going 42 mph in a 35.??
And finally ?
NBC?s Conan O?Brien: "Jim Furyk made 2 clutch putts to win the Tiger Woods Chevron World Challenge. As the winner of Tiger?s tournament, the golfer gets $1 million and three phone numbers.??
Play Basketball Hot Streak and win prizes!