When the Chicago Bears moved on from general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, optimism should have been flowing through Halas Hall. However, after team Chairman George McCaskey met with the media for an hour on Monday, fans were left with no reason to believe. Quite frankly, the Bears ownership group should feel embarrassed.
Here's the thing though: the most tone-deaf group of people on Earth wouldn't know embarrassment if it sacked them 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-one from the goal line. This is nothing new with the Bears. They did the same old song and dance when they fired Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo. A few years later, the same lyrics rang through Halas Hall when Smith and Angelo's replacements (Marc Trestman and Phil Emery) were fired as well.
The McCaskey Mindset
George McCaskey has no business making football decisions. In fact, that is so true that McCaskey will tell you that himself. "I'm just a fan," McCaskey explained Monday, "I'm not a football evaluator." Yet, the final decision for who will be the next general manager of the Chicago Bears will be decided by, just a fan, not a football evaluator, George McCaskey.
That decision will come from the same guy, who since taking over control of the Bears in 2011, is responsible for two playoff appearances, one division title, zero playoff wins, and a 3-19 record against the Green Bay Packers. Sure, McCaskey isn't drafting the players. He isn't calling the plays either. However, he has been directly responsible for putting the people in place who do.
So, why exactly does George McCaskey think he should be the person to make this decision? His resume is about as bad as one could produce. Don't fear though, George has a great reference on his resume. His mother believes that he should continue doing this job.
When McCaskey was challenged about the fact that he may not be fit to make the decisions of hiring a new general manager, he stated, "My performance is reviewed by ownership, and the board of directors and ownership has informed me it wishes me to continue in this role."
Well, excuse us Bears fans. If the board of directors wants George McCaskey to continue in his role, he must have earned it. If Virginia McCaskey, George McCaskey, Brian McCaskey, Ed McCaskey, and Patrick McCaskey think George McCaskey is fit for this job, then George McCaskey is probably indeed fit for the job.
As you read the above paragraph you probably thought there was too much "McCaskey" in that blurb. It appeared eight times in a single paragraph. You are right. There is way too much McCaskey. Any successful organization needs checks and balances. All the Bears have is George's mom telling him he's doing a good job even though his report card has nothing but F's on it.
While George might not be a "football guy," Chicago is a football town. Any other city not filled with the sad sacks that we are would have told this team to go *blank* itself quite some time ago. A normal city would have drawn the line after Aaron Rodgers embarrassed them for the 10th time. Yet, Bears fans always come back, but for what?
The product on the field is always sub-par. Even when it isn't terrible, it's always several steps below what's going on 210 miles north in Green Bay. Fans come out year after year for the same disappointing outcome. In Green Bay, anybody 30 years old or younger has never seen a Packers team that wasn't quarterbacked by a Hall of Famer. In Chicago, anybody who has ever taken a breath is lucky to have seen a quarterback we weren't completely embarrassed by.
Yet, the fans come back year after year, disappointment after disappointment. What for? Bears fans can't even hang their hats on having a nice stadium to watch games at. In a press conference where McCaskey praised team president Ted Phillips for leading the charge in securing land in Arlington Heights for a possible new stadium, he failed to mention why they needed to do that in the first place.
Anybody who has taken in a Bears game at Soldier Field knows it is one of the worst stadiums in the NFL. It wasn't that long ago (19 years) that the stadium underwent a full remodel. However, that was such a botch job that the Bears now need to move out of the City of Chicago so they can play in a real stadium. This was in fact good work by Ted Phillips to clean up the mess that Ted Phillips made on the lakefront when Ted Phillips led the remodel of Soldier Field in 2003. That right there is how you secure a job for life in the McCaskey family.
Bears fans never go away though. They still fill Soldier Field even though the stadium is inadequate and so are the players inside it. The jerseys still fly off the shelves. The Bears land national television slots because they draw such high ratings, despite the constant embarrassment. Fans get mad in January but find misguided optimism by September. It's irrational, but history repeats itself.
Chicago is a football town. Everyone loves the Bears. Even when the Blackhawks were winning three Stanley Cups in six years, the Bears were still occupying radio slots on ESPN 1000 and 670 The Score. All the while, the team stunk, as they always do. Imagine if they ever figured it out and put a consistent winner on the field. Sports talk radio in this city would remove "Cubs", White Sox", "Bulls", and "Blackhawks" from its vocabulary.
No Change in Sight
A once-proud franchise has become a laughing stock over the last 25 years. The founding franchise of the NFL operates like it doesn't even know what football is. An ownership group that is the direct blood of one of football's founders doesn't have a clue. All Chicago and the Bears have left is an ownership group that defines incompetence.
So, why would any Bears fan have faith that the organization will get this thing right? The same brain-trust that brought you Phil Emery and Marc Trestman a decade ago is ready to bring in the right people. No, it shouldn't be someone else making that decision. Don't look at the zero in front of "playoff wins" on George McCaskey's resume. That is irrelevant. His mom said he's fit for the job, so that is all that matters.