Either the people running the Bears are incredibly ignorant or they think the fans are. That was made clear during a Wednesday press conference during which team president Ted Phillips and chairman George McCaskey offered laughable explanations for the decision to move forward with head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace.
Keeping those men in their roles despite another disappointing season that was far more flawed than even their 8-8 record indicated would have been almost acceptable had Phillips opted to move on. There was a rumor during the season that the long-time exec would retire, allowing the Bears to replace the accountant with a true football mind who might be able to forge a more definite path.
As it is, Phillips is still in power and has made it clear that he doesn’t know what in the blue hell he’s talking about. Though he admitted that simply backing into the playoffs isn’t enough, he went on to reveal the fundamental problem with an organization that hasn’t won consistently in three decades.
“We have exactly the right football culture that all teams strive for,” the former accountant said.
That is either an epic line of bullshit or an indication that Phillips has his head so far up his ass he can see his teeth. Maybe it’s both. It’s also eerily reminiscent of a line uttered by Crane Kenney, another business-centric Chicago sports exec, who said Marquee Sports Network would make a hire based on Cubs culture rather than ownership culture.
The big difference is that Kenney at least understood the difference between those two. Phillips, on the other hand, is willfully oblivious to the mediocrity that has become the Bears’ milieu. They’re the frog in the boiling pot and they’re lounging around like it’s a hot tub while boiling to death.
“When you sit back and you look at what makes a successful organization besides wins and losses, it’s the people you have,” Phillips said.
I guess that means shitty organizational culture is the people you don’t fire along the way. Not when they’ve proven unable to properly evaluate quarterbacks, not when they let ego get in the way of meaningful change, not when they lose six games straight.
Nagy and Pace should have been fired after that Lions loss, but it sure feels like the Bears are doing their best to let ownership justify running it back.
— Evan Altman (@DEvanAltman) December 20, 2020
“Fire everyone – That is not a recipe for success in our opinion,” Phillips added. “When you believe in the people that you have who can learn from their mistakes.”
Translation: We’re too cheap to fire anyone before their contracts are up, so we’re going to run it back and hope that a new QB, a few new offensive linemen, several more skill players, a new defensive coordinator, and someone competently calling plays will fix everything. Never mind that the lame-duck GM who’s thus far proven incapable of evaluating quarterbacks is now being expected to make a long-term decision about the most important position on the team.
“Retaining the continuity and sticking with these guys is the best route for the Bears at this time,” McCaskey said, repeating the belief he’d expressed earlier in the presser.
I’ll just stop here because there’s really nothing to add at this point. Ownership either doesn’t understand how these decisions are maintaining the status quo or just doesn’t care, but it’s damning either way. Maybe Pace finally gets it right this offseason and Nagy gives up his foolhardy desire to call plays, ideally both. The reality is that either one of those decisions will significantly impact the other, though the chances are still slim.
It’s hard to sail a rudderless ship and it’s even harder when neither the captain nor the first mate realizes they’re unable to control their direction. The only hope for Bears fans at this point is that the prevailing winds blow in the right direction next year, but depending on luck usually isn’t much fun.