Well, I think I am “bowled over” and snowed under with the Super Bowl and a blizzard hitting our area on Sunday. I don’t know what made me think we would escape it, but it was nice while it lasted.
However, the Super Bowl is finally over, and we won’t talk about the last play — but even I would have played it differently. So I decided to give a call to my friend George Strnad of Riverside to talk a little football before putting the season to rest.
George does stats for the Chicago Bears and has done so for 35 years, with thoughts of returning to the booth above Soldier Field next year. As one can imagine, the method of compiling stats with the use of computers is much different than when he started. He is joined in the booth by several young men who respectfully refer to Strnad as “Coach,” for that is what he was and that is what he is.
A football player himself, Strnad played for UIC at Navy Pier before transferring to Champaign. An injury sidelined his on-the-field career, but he took his knowledge of the game and became a coach.
Many know him for his years at St. Joseph High School in Westchester as the athletic director and football coach. He continues his association at the high school in a part-time capacity in which he is not only the sports information director but does scheduling for some of the teams.
Naturally, our conversation led to today’s Bears. Being a true Bears fan, he sees them in the playoffs next season. He likes the new coach, general manager and the crew they have assembled and believes the team has enough talent to have a good season. We both agreed quarterback Jay Cutler should stay with the team.
I said I liked when the Bears played at Wrigley Field; he said he’s glad he has indoor parking and an elevator to get to the stats booth.
Strnad has had a great career. One of his proudest times was being inducted into the UIC Hall of Fame in 1997, but one of the first things he told me was that he was the last draftee from World War II — but that’s a conversation for another day.
He’s a deserving Hall of Famer who has been coach to many not only on the field but off the field as well.