“Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears” Quotes

I recently read “Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football” by Rich Cohen. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

Book Cover

Some head coaches cleanse their rosters of anyone tainted by a failed regime, even the superstars — because of the inevitable mindset, what all that losing can do to a soul. That’s why God kept the Hebrews in the desert for 40 years, he was waiting for the slave generation to pass away.” (21)

“America has become endless childhood, where any passion can take you pro.” (44)

“In the early years, most NFL teams played in baseball stadiums, and then he took the name the host team. And the Pittsburgh Pirates, who played in Forbes Field, and the New York Football Giants, who played in the Polo Grounds.” (60)

“George Halas Would eventually quit the ice house, but he always approached football with the Glee of a man who has snuck away from his real job.” (62)

“When a hero gets old, he takes your youth with him.” (79)

Patton said, “Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” MacArthur said, “In war there can be no substitute for victory.” But Ditka being Ditka, always overshot the mark. Urging his players to shake off a loss, he told them, “The past is for cowards and losers.” (87)

“Ditka said, “Maybe winning is the greatest thing that can happen to a team and also the biggest disaster. It’s never the same after you win.” (106)

“If you put on a tape and watch a player and cannot tell from the way he plays whether his team is ahead or behind – that’s who you want.” (123)

“Atop this hill a bench and a plaque that shows Walter’s face and list his accomplishments. Otherwise, there seemed no evidence of the man who ran the hill. That’s the thing about work. It vanishes like a memory of pain. Only the results are remembered.” (124)

Walter Payton is a model for all those engaged in arts that don’t properly value effort. How many times have you heard a person say, “he was a great player but just did not work hard enough,” as if work were different from talent, more prosaic, something anyone could do if he wanted. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to believe the ability to persist is as much a gift as speed or soft hands. Not everyone has it. Those who don’t, fail. Those who do, leave no proof of it in statistics.” (125)

“It’s a matter of split seconds. At the beginning, you hit, then think; at the end, you think, then hit.” (131)

“There’s three kinds of coaches,” said Plank. “First, there’s the Asprin coach. He’s the guy that comes in and feed you a bunch of bologna and makes you feel better initially, but nothing changes. Then there’s the penicillin coach. He comes in and fixes almost everything. The problems, the illnesses. But there’s one thing he can’t fix and that’s cancer on a team. What’s cancer? Guys don’t like each other, the offense versus the defense, huge attitudes. You need the Third Kind of coach for that: the chemo coach. Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka. The chemo coach comes in, man, he’s the new sheriff in town. He’s so powerful by the way he looks, his presence, his actions. If you got a bad attitude, you don’t buy into his system? He doesn’t care who you are – you’re gone.” (137)

“Ditka said, “If you accept defeat, you’re going to be defeated. You can be gracious in defeat, but you better be doing flip-flops inside. If you’re not churning, you’ll get your ass whooped, that’s all there is to it.”

“They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” (176)

“Elegant precision faces the howling mob, eleven brutes with maces and helmets, barbarians wandering in the black forest of Soldier Field. It’s the dialectic of History: when a system becomes arrogant, a competing system will arise to defeat it.” (179)

“As you grow up you become too tasteful to enjoy things that once filled you with pleasure. Past thirty, most of us become too smart for our own good.” (215)

“When everyone courts the Jinx, there is no jinx.” (217)

“In Chicago, winning is a miracle; losing is forever.” (253)

“Is it better to accept the world as it is and be happy or to struggle and be miserable? In a sense, life is nothing but a search for a coach.” (304)

Liked the quotes? Buy and read the whole book here.

2021 Comedy Goals

For the past twelve years, I set goals publicly at the start of the year and then review how I did at the end of the year [see 2020, 2019201820172016201520142013201220112010 and 2009]. I’m not sure if this is actually useful, especially as the COVID19 pandemic of 2020 made all plans laughable, and I only look at this post the first and last day of the year, but I like traditions, and maybe it helps subconsciously, so here go my goals for this year. The ones in grey are not fully in my control.

I’m down to 12 goals (it was 14 goals last year, and 15 the year before). And instead of a top 5, I’ve made a top 3, because so much of this past year has been outside of everyone’s control.


  • Write 20 new minutes of “album worthy” material
  • Do 100 live performances (and actually enjoy being on stage each time)
  • Do my gameshow 20+ times (virtual or in-person)
  • Perform at 50+ private events (virtual or in-person)
  • Double my TikTok account to 350,000 followers and 14 million likes (yes in the year 2021, this counts as standup)

Writing and Producing

  • Complete the TV version of the gameshow sizzle reel
  • Pitch our newest scripted idea to 3+ networks/production companies
  • Pitch our gameshow to 3+ networks/production companies


  • Read 12 books
  • Take one class or self-learn one new creative software


  • Earn $50,000 from entertainment-related businness income


  • Average weight under 180 pounds


My Top 3 Goals

  • Complete the TV version of the gameshow sizzle reel
  • Do my gameshow 20+ times (virtual or in-person)
  • Double my TikTok account to 350,000 followers and 14 million likes

2020 Comedy Goals Revisited

On January 1st, 2020 I posted my goals for this year. Since it’s the last day of the year, it’s time to go through them and see how I did. Although given the global pandemic this year, this is more of an exercise in “Man makes plans and God laughs” then it is an actual review of goals.

Black text is the original goal and bold text is how I did. 

Stand Up (3 out of 6 accomplished)

  • Perform at least 500 times
    Nope. This was the first thing to become impossible in March 2020.
  • Create 40 new minutes of material that I try on stage, turn 20 of those minutes into “A” jokes
    Nope. Once live performance shut down, I turned my writing focus onto other projects.
  • Write 5/7 days of every week
    Yes. This I did. Whether journaling, working on scripts or something else, I wrote most days.
  • Have Amazon Prime Video stream my new comedy album on their platform (as well as an abridged version of my third album)
    Yes. My special went live on Amazon in April.
  • Get my new comedy album “Don’t Shake Your Miracle” to #1 in the iTunes Comedy charts
    The audio album got to #1 on Amazon Music and #2 on iTunes, so I’m counting this as a yes.
  • Do a stand-up set on TV or Netflix that airs in its entirety (not a stand-up clip show)

Writing/Producing (non-standup) (3 out of 4 accomplished)

  • Publish my second book
    Yes. The book came out in November.
  • Create and release 3 new sketch videos
    Yes. I created more than 3 new sketch videos, mostly at the start of the pandemic.
  • Develop and film a sizzle reel for my gameshow idea
    Yes. This is now a virtual show that has been booked at colleges, corporations and non-profits. Technically it’s different than the TV version, but I’m counting this as completed.
  • Sell a TV show and get it on air
    Nope. Wrote a new show but still in the process of pitching.


  • Take at least one class (0.5 out of 2 accomplished)
    Did not take a class. But I did self-learn OBS Studio and GarageBand. I also picked up how to properly use TikTok and greatly improved my Photoshop skills. So I’m giving myself half credit.
  • Read 20 books
    Read fewer than 20 books. No more travel + small child always around = less reading.

Financials (0 out of 1 accomplished)

  • Earn $50,000 from entertainment-related business income
    Hahaha, no, hahaha.

Misc (0 out of 1 accomplished)

  • Average weight of 176 pounds or less
    Hahaha, no, hahaha.


Top 5 Goals (2 out of 5 accomplished)

  • Publish my second book Yes
  • Create 40 new minutes of material that I try on stage, turn 20 of those minutes into “A” jokes No
  • Perform 500 times No
  • Average weight of 176 pounds or less No
  • Develop and film a sizzle reel for my gameshow idea Yes

Overall notes: This was the second year I separated “things I can control” vs “things I can’t control” except the pandemic changed some of what was in my control. Considering how weird a year it’s been, I’m quite surprised that accomplished 6.5 out of my 14 total goals, and 2 out of my top 5. In a regular year, this would be so-so achievement, but in 2020, grading a curve, I’m giving myself an A+ 🙂

Ben’s Newest Book Now Available!

I’m excited to announce the launch of my and Michelle Slonim’s new book!

New Parent Smell book cover

New Parent Smell: Funny Thoughts On Pregnancy, Newborns & Tots is an illustrated humor book that helps ease the stress of parents-to-be.

New Parent Smell is the book to read after you’ve read one of those “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” type books, got hit with anxiety and could use some laughs.

Learn more or buy a copy here

Book Press:

NJ Stage

Rise Up and Write

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In Hot Water #565

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