A five-game losing streak has turned the Bears from a team hoping to make the postseason to an organization under the microscope.
Head Coach Matt Nagy is on the hot seat – and that’s despite having a winning record on the field, a Coach of the Year award in his trophy case, and two years remaining on his contract. General Manager Ryan Pace’s seat is heating up, too – and he’s also earned accolades for the Bears’ successful 2018 campaign, including an Executive of the Year award for his role in the 2018 run. But Pace has just one winning season to show for his efforts to this point. And altogether, the product put on the field by these two has their collective long-term future in question.
But perhaps a larger change looms on the horizon:
The next big moves in the Chicago sports scene should belong to #Bears chairman George McCaskey.
So what could that possibly mean for Ted Phillips?
My latest column: https://t.co/c2XevqrirQ
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) December 3, 2020
Adam Jahns of The Athletic explores the possibility of wholesale changes within the Chicago Bears’ organization should things continue to spiral as 2020 comes to a close.
And yes, Jahns explores the chances that it could start at the top with President Ted Phillips.
The Bears have employed Phillips since 1983. And for the last 21 years, he has been the team president. Chicago has made the postseason just five times since Phillips took over. At some point down the line, Phillips should face some accountability for what has transpired on the field. Let’s be real. To be president for 21 years and to see just five postseason appearances and only three wins, all while overseeing five head coaches and three general managers is eye-opening for all the wrong reasons.
To be clear, this isn’t meant to make Phillips a scapegoat. Phillips isn’t making draft picks, trades, or signing free agents. He isn’t scouting or coaching either. And he definitely isn’t playing. But he has overseen the hiring of the general managers who have made picks, trades, signings, hirings, and firings.
Thinking about Phillips in the same role for 21 years makes me think about Theo Epstein’s referencing Bill Walsh’s thoughts on the status quo. Specifically, how too much time in one place can lead to status quo and negative returns down the line. It’s possible that type of perspective is creeping into the mind of team Chairman George McCaskey. If not, the aforementioned results lend credence to the belief held by some (myself included) that an organizational restructuring should be in the cards. And for the Bears, a full-scale remodeling would mean removing Phillips from having a say in football decisions. Should that decision be made, just know that it’s no magic pill, even if it is a step in the right direction toward a better process at Halas Hall.
For what it’s worth, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune acknowledges “an increasing tide of questions” regarding Phillips’ future while addressing questions in his mailbag. That’s expected from fans of a team mired in an extended losing streak in what seemed like a promising season. But as whispers grow louder, it’s only a matter of time before they’re heard by the powers that be. And if that’s what gets the ball rolling on organizational change, then so be it. So with that in mind, let’s keep an eye on this situation as it develops.