I, and every other Bears fan, have become far too used to this Black Monday cycle. Third time in eight years, seventh time in my lifetime. And there’s supposed to be a routine to it. News of whichever dope your team is firing leaks in the morning. You then hear of a press conference scheduled later in the day. Then either your GM gets up there and lets some goop escape from his mouth about why he’s firing the jackass he hired in the first place, or the one he was stuck with. Or, some exec even higher than the GM and even worse at talking to the press toddles down to a room he had forgotten existed and says even more incomprehensible shit about why he’s firing both the GM and coach. Not that you need it, because the reason is almost always, “We suck ass, and we’d like to not suck ass anymore.” Except in Miami, apparently.
And after that, no matter how deluded, bewildered, or backward you think your ownership is (and those of us here in Chicago would definitely be pushing into the red when rating all three of those categories when it comes to the McCaskey family), there’s supposed to be at least a few days of hope. There’s always a list of at least a few names of hot coordinators or the big fish who’s been out of the game for a couple years and is on TV.
Surely even an ownership group with their shoelaces tied together for decades could just land on one by accident. They fall down all the time, so it stands to reason that just once they’ll fall onto the right person.
Sure, finding a GM is trickier, but you want to believe that just about anyone could look at successful organizations around the league, and just pluck someone from one of them and then tell that person, “Do that here.”
Here in town, even the Ricketts family figured that one out, and they are one of the bigger collections of cornpone dummards you can find.
And from that, even if we call it “blind” optimism or hope, is enough to live on. Pretty much every other NFL team gets it right at some point (and surely some of them are owned and run by giblets who drown in the rain that just happen to have a lot of money somehow), and those same giblets occasionally find the right people simply BECAUSE.
It should carry all the way to training camp, because really, what the fuck do any of us know until you can see anything on the field? Maybe your team cocks up so hard at the draft or in free agency that you can’t make it until late July, but there is supposed to be some time.
We don’t even get that now.
The first part was there today for the Chicago Bears There was something of a surprise when it was announced that GM Ryan Pace would be doing the perp walk out of Halas Hall along with head coach Matt Nagy. Rumors had flown the past few weeks that Pace would be kept, or moved to another position that would be essentially meaningless, and there was some aneurysm fuel that he would be promoted to the President of Football role that most have been clamoring for the team to create. All of this was because we knew ownership loved Pace personally, as he went to church with them, or as my compadre in our Chicago sports podcast @torqpenderloin put it, Pace “goes to the same speakeasy where they serve room temperature chocolate milk.”
But Pace got his papers. Maybe, just maybe, they were seeing what we all saw, which is a team that has mud in its tires, engine, gearbox, and everywhere else that causes it to sound like an elephant dying of dysentery every time it gets up and running.
That lasted until president George McCaskey got behind a mic for the presser to explain his rationale. Now, sports owners who don’t hog the spotlight because they think every thought they have is a gift to the world (your Cohens, your Joneses, your Cubans), tend to never speak because they don’t think we’re entitled to it. So McCaskey sucks at talking to the press.
I have no idea if a press conference affects any prospective candidate’s desire for the job. If they’ve worked in the NFL awhile, chances are they’ve worked for a blithering doofus somewhere along the line. If it does, the Bears are absolutely fucked.
It started with McCaskey using recently passed Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson’s son as an excuse to admonish the entire fandom for a couple of dozen high school kids taunting Nagy’s kids. He called Olin Kreutz, a beloved former player and now sharp TV analyst locally, a liar. He told us that Bill Polian, who’s been out of the league for 10 years and didn’t think Lamar Jackson could play QB (certainly not because he’s Black, nosireebob!) would have a major voice in hiring a GM. The structure of the Bears won’t change, other than a GM will report directly to McCaskey instead of his usual intermediary, Ted Phillps, a sweat gland that became conscious. And McCaskey then outlayed why he’s not really qualified to make football decisions, so it’s great that someone who is will be reporting to him. And then he told us “ownership” is happy to have him continue as president. “Ownership” is his mother, who is three days older than water.
So while cleaning house is always the basis for most football hope, we know now that we’re just hoping the Bears can find the right people by accident. They’ve almost done it in the past, though fucked it up royally at the final hurdle. They could have had Bruce Arians. They got Marc Trestman. They could have had Dave McGinnis, who would have made Mike Martz the OC before he ever got to St. Louis. We got Martz after the league had cracked his code long before. They fucked those up with fake press conferences and announcing hirings before they were actually official.
We can’t hope for real change. We just hope for dumb luck. Emphasis on “dumb.”