The Chicago Bears won’t win the Super Bowl this year. Not after Sunday’s 21-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints. And even if, by some miracle, they had managed to win that game, their outlook for the rest of the postseason didn’t look all that promising.
And that brings me back to what Chairman George McCaskey said at the start of the year: “The goal every year is to win the Super Bowl. Two years ago, we made a great run and fell short. Last year, we regressed. We need to find out which team it is. Is it the team that took the NFL by storm two years ago … or is it the team that fell back last year?”
I don’t think Mr. McCaskey should have any more questions regarding the nature and standing of his team. We have our answer. And unfortunately, it’s not an easy reality to embrace.
The Bears are stuck in no-man’s land. Good enough to make the postseason with an expanded bracket, but not good enough to make noise in the tournament. Bad enough to be frustratingly middling over the course of a 16-game season, but not awful enough to be in a position to draft a potential franchise-changing quarterback.
And to really twist the knife, consider that the Bears have spent more than $567 million over the last three years. The return on investment has been two playoff appearances in three seasons, which isn’t terrible in a vacuum. But Chicago has no playoff wins to show for it and plenty of football-related heartbreak in those seasons. In other words, that’s not the type of return you’d expect (or want) when pushing your chips to the middle of the table.
Which brings us to this: It’s on George McCaskey to decide on what’s next for this franchise. And frankly, the decision should be simple. Wholesale changes are needed in the organization. And they should start at the top. Because while making the playoffs is fun, winning games when you get to the dance is better. In other words, start at the top.
General Manager Ryan Pace signed Mike Glennon, traded up for Mitchell Trubisky, dealt for Nick Foles, and used just one draft pick on a quarterback between 2015 and 2020. An internal debate on what’s worse between whiffing on three big swings or not continually addressing the most important position in the sport results in heartburn. An inability to properly address serious concerns on the offensive line that have been a common occurrence in seasons prior to this one further complicates the path of whichever failed quarterback happens to be taking snaps. Between trading away draft picks and questionable free agent spending habits, Pace’s asset management is also worth questioning.
Long story, short: It’s on George McCaskey now. And his decision figures to be fairly simple. It’s a call between bringing in a fresh set of eyes on old problems or extending the decision-maker who put the problems on our plate in the first place. Two options. That’s it. Because Option 3 – allowing Pace to be a lame-duck GM who goes all-in on 2021 with nary a care about what happens when the calendar turns to 2022 shouldn’t be an option in the first place.
And if we’re being *REALLY* honest with ourselves, there’s only one button to push here.
Everything that has transpired over the last three years has been a direct result of Pace’s decision-making. Which leaves me questioning how much longer should he be in charge of things. I, for one, think the solution is obvious. Because spending nearly $600 million on two playoff appearances and no wins over the last three years isn’t my idea of a good time.