The NFL spoiled its fans with the action of this past weekend. Sometimes the playoffs don’t live up to the hype, but in this case, wow. Every game was won on the final play of the game. Field goals in the 49’ers/Packers, Bengals/Titans and Rams/Buccaneers games and the OT touchdown pass by Patrick Mahomes in the Chiefs/Bills game. Incredible drama and action.
Now, while I was watching the Chiefs/Bills game yesterday, I was absolutely amazed at the resiliency of both teams and the never say die attitude. Not only was there attitude, but there was talent. Real talent was on display. As a fan though, I was really conflicted. I loved what I was seeing out of Mahomes, you know, the guy that the Bears’ former GM didn’t even want to bother with. Allen was ridiculous too. After seeing a game plan that actually suited the QB, I wanted to scream. WHY??
Watching these games, especially the AFC game yesterday, I wondered, are the Bears actually an NFL team worthy of competing at this level? Right now, the answer would be no. I couldn’t imagine the previous coaching staff, being organized enough and have the wherewithal to have a quarterback rally a team with only 13-seconds left in a game. The Bears as constructed the last seven years are light years behind any of the playoff teams that competed so far. Light years.
How did we get here? It begs several other questions. Why couldn’t the Bears even sort of develop a quarterback over the last four seasons? I mean, Mitch Trubisky may not have been very good, but he showed some flashes. So, what if the stubborn former head coach, hired by the too smart for his own good former GM, adapted instead of insisting that a square peg fit into a round hole? What if the same principles could be applied to another first round pick, that actually has a future? It makes me ache for an actual plan for an organization, that understands the questions to ask and the decisions that need to be made.
This is what absolutely frightens me about what may happen next. The same people are making the decision about what the future holds for Bears fans everywhere. The same people that signed off on trading up to draft a quarterback nobody else wanted, when a future Hall of Fame QB slipped and is now on to his 4th straight AFC Championship game. The same people that allowed that man to hire a relatively inexperienced play caller to lead an offense that sometimes resembled a division two college game plan.
From the outside, the Bears search for a GM and coach look unorganized and frantic. Interviewing so many candidates says to me, “we have absolutely no clue what we are looking for in a GM or coach, so we may as well interview them all”. Maybe they’ll luck into something but I’m not counting on it. Teams that have a plan are going to move on candidates this week and quickly. The Bears may be left in the dust again.
To me, hiring a coach before the GM is another recipe for disaster. Then again, not hiring a director of football operations, is the same thing. It just shows the arrogance of the man making the decision. George McCaskey admitted to being a “fan and not a football evaluator” in his very bizarre 60-minute press conference a few weeks ago. He is ultimately in charge and has no football acumen at all. He is relying on a very talented evaluator that has been out of the game for ten years. Bill Polian is in the Hall of Fame, and he belongs there, but the game has changed completely since he last ran an organization.
I hope I’m wrong, and I will admit it if I am, but I have zero faith in this team getting it right on either hire. It’s laughable to see other organizations flourishing and the Bears, a charter NFL franchise, continuing to bottom feed. This is and always has been a Bears town, and it seems like ownership is taking advantage of that. These next hires are critical and will show the fans how serious this team is about winning. Can you trust them to do the right thing? Trust is waning.