Some losses are difficult to stomach. Others are so frustrating, the mental effects on the people observing it can be disastrous. Such was the case with Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the Washington Redskins, which caused two-thirds of the Bears’ fan base to go legally insane.
“Empty backfield … max protect!” repeated Bears fan Bob Henson after the game, to no one in particular. “Intercept. Must intercept and pass into coverage. Throw it deep to the safety … spiral … convert … ”
Henson wasn’t alone. According to a post-game surge of 911 calls, more than one million Chicago sports fans exhibited signs of mental trauma.
“I didn’t watch the game because I was on duty,” said policeman Al Burns of Ravenswood. “Unfortunately the citizens in my community weren’t as lucky. I saw two different men running through the streets stark naked, shouting that they were ‘open.’ Even my wife was affected. When I got home, the kitchen was covered in flour and she had four turnover cakes in the oven, plus one on the grill … ”
Northwestern psychologist Barry Mendelberg tried to explain the phenomenon, which he’s dubbed “Madness of The Midway Disease.”
“MOTM occurs when a team’s players and coaches make so many baffling decisions, the fan starts to believe perhaps he is the crazy one,” said Mendelberg. “If a team turns the ball over six times in a half, what other logical conclusion can be drawn, other than that is how football is supposed to be played? This rocks the foundation of everything most fans thought they knew about the sport.”