Maybe you still believe the Chicago Bears are cheap. Perhaps you even have nightmares about the evil Lord Business — AKA Ted Phillips — and his efforts to use the Kragle to cement Chicago football mediocrity in place for all time.
If you do, that’s fine. I won’t attempt to belittle you. Bears fans have suffered through enough, and if we’re maybe a little wacky from time to time because of the torture we’ve endured, who in good conscience can fault us for it?
But, if you really stopped to take an objective look at where the Chicago Bears are today, and the steps it took to get here, you’d have to admit that none of it seems very Bearsy. Which is good.
It’s good because the definition of Bearsy has been one playoff appearance in the last eight seasons, and it’s been 14 changes at the QB position over 22 seasons — including seven consecutive year-to-year swaps since Jim Miller’s final season in 2002.
Bearsy has been a tendency to stay inside the McCaskey comfort zone, and it was hiring new head coach from the CFL over the reigning NFL Head Coach of the Year in part because the latter just seemed like too large a personality for the folks up at Halas Hall.
I doesn’t matter which of the 400 plus examples you want to use. It all leads to the same conclusion: Bearsy has been bad.
But then, just when it looked like the Bears would make another Bearsy move to hire a former Halas Hall employee in Chris Ballard to be the team’s next GM, they surprised just about everybody by offering 37 year-old Ryan Pace the job. Huh …
So is Ryan the right guy for said job? Only time will tell us that, but the hire is still significant in that it bucked at least two Bearsy trends: the brass upstairs passed on a comfortable company retread in favor of an up-and-comer, and it brought in a leader from a recent championship organization.
But let’s backup, shall we? Because before the Bears could even start thinking about Ryan Pace, there had to be an opening for him. That opening came in the form of another non-Bearsy move to fire a GM after just three seasons.
Couple that with the firing of a head coach — a coach under contract for four years — after just two seasons, and the move is even more surprising. You mean to tell me the McCaskey’s were willing to pay a coach millions to sit on his butt for the next two seasons should he choose to do so, all in the name of winning?
Yep, that’s what I’m telling you.
And so now we come to where we are today. John Fox is the head coach of the Chicago Bears, and his hire marks the first of a veteran head coach by the Bears since they re-hired their own George Halas in 1958. And if that doesn’t work for you, Fox is the first former head coach hired from an outside organization by the Bears since Paddy Driscoll in 1956.
Yep, it’s taken the Bears nearly 60 years to hire a guy who has actually … you know, done the job before. And while all the intimate details of John Fox’s contract with the Bears are not yet known, it’s also very likely that they had to pony up some heavy cash to make it happen.
At best, being Bearsy has gotten the Bears mediocrity. At worst, things have been downright embarrassing. The Bears still want to believe they’re a proud, storied, premier franchise in the NFL, and I’m not here to debate that with them.
Because at the very least, it now seems like the powers-that-be up at Halas Hall understand that continuing to be Bearsy will not get them to where they need to be. And that much is encouraging.
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by editor Adam Oestmann
by editor Adam Oestmann
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Filed under: Coaches and Management