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What a difference a year makes for Chicago sports teams

January 02, 2012|RedEye

A lot can happen in 12 months. Just ask Chicago sports teams.

As the city ushered in a new year over the weekend, the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox found themselves in much different shape than a year ago at this time.

Consider the following.

Bears

Remember the excitement a year ago this week? The Bears had just finished an 11-5 season and headed into the playoffs with fans thinking Super Bowl. Of course, Green Bay ended that dream in the NFC championshilp game. This year, Bears fans don't have to worry about that because the Bears didn't make the playoffs after an 8-8 season. At least one thing did remain the same: Jay Cutler begins the year injured. Thumbs down.

Blackhawks

Another team sporting a stark difference from 2011 to 2012. Last January, the Blackhawks were fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive as a Stanley Cup-winning hangover plagued them all season. This year, the Blackhawks are the top team in the NHL and have the look of a championship team in the making.

Bulls

The Bulls were 22-10 at this time last year, but they kicked off the season with a rough 2-3 start. Thanks to the lockout, the Bulls haven't played as many games, but they've started this season 4-1, their best start since the Michael Jordan years.

Cubs

General manager Jim Hendry is gone. President Theo Epstein is here, and that's about all that needs to be said about the changes made at Wrigley Field since last season. That's not all, though. Third baseman and mainstay Aramis Ramirez is out, pitcher Sean Marshall is gone, as is outfielder Tyler Colvin, and there's talk that starter Matt Garza is being shopped around. Yep, 2012 is going to be a lot different at Wrigley.

White Sox

Perhaps undergoing the biggest overhaul over the past 12 months, the White Sox will start 2012 with a new manager, no Mark Buehrle and perhaps several new position players. Carlos Quentin already has been traded—and rumors continue to swirl that more players will be on the move.

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