Since winning Super Bowl XX, the Bears’ recent playoff history features more heartache than happiness.
So, naturally, Midway Minute‘s Kevin Kaduk ranks ’em all:
The @ChicagoBears have lost 12 playoff games since winning Super Bowl XX.
— Kevin Kaduk (@KevinKaduk) January 12, 2021
The double doink stands out for obvious reasons. But losing Super Bowl XLI still stings the most. Are you sure they couldn’t stop the count after Devin Hester’s game-opening return touchdown? Or when Rex Grossman’s 4-yard touchdown pass gave the Bears a 14-6 lead? Heck, I’d have even settled for cutting it off after Adam Vinatieri’s field goal cut Chicago’s second-quarter lead to 14-9. Sigh. That’s the one that hurts the most, even if the sound of those doinks still resonate today.
• This is eye-opening:
There are 12 lead football executives in the NFL who have been in their positions since 2015 or longer. Of that group, six have overseen Super Bowl championships.
Only two of that group have never won a playoff game: Bears' Ryan Pace and Bengals' Mike Brown, who owns the team.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) January 11, 2021
• Monday came and went without news of any changes at Halas Hall. Maybe time is needed to sort things out? Perhaps it’s necessary to allow exit interviews to provide perspective? It’s conceivable that something is coming later this week. But as I wrote yesterday, the obvious things are obvious for a reason. And they’ve been obvious for some time. Chris Emma’s tweet above only further drives home what needs to be done.
• The general manager, head coach, and quarterback are the three most important figures in a football franchise. And this season provided the latest round of evidence that the Bears are an organization in dire need of change. With quarterback Mitchell Trubisky set to be a free agent, that leaves the GM and coach as the two other obvious places for potential change. And neither has long-term commitments to the team on their plate. Ryan Pace is set to enter 2021 as a lame-duck GM. Matt Nagy has two years remaining on his contract. An early estimation suggests it would take $20 million to clean house and bring in a new football hierarchy. The financial costs are real, no doubt. But so is the risk in not making necessary change when the time is right. I don’t imagine these scenarios are being taken lightly. Maybe that would explain the delay?
• David Kaplan (NBC Sports Chicago) didn’t mince words when explaining how he felt about things. “George (McCaskey) has to look himself in the mirror and ask himself this question: ‘How much longer am I going to tolerate a garbage football operation?’ That’s exactly what it is. It’s a garbage operation, top to freaking bottom.” I’d say that’s a bit harsh. Then again, I won’t quibble with someone’s most passionate takes while in an emotional state in the wake of a maddening loss. It’s always good to let it all out. Keeping it inside you does nothing for nobody. But ‘garbage football operation’ is strong. And I get it. But the perspective of seeing what happened in Washington over the summer and what’s happening now in Houston should remind us that the Bears are at least a level above those franchises. How much better? It’s debatable. But there’s a tier of difference for sure.
• More harshly worded fall-out? Sure. You’re strong enough to read it. Bleacher Report’s Kalyn Kahler writes: “The Bears are…who we thought they were, and that is a team without a quarterback or a functional offense with a defense that looks to be exiting its championship window.” Naturally, the Bears were among the losers of BR’s Super Wild Card Weekend. And over in Peter King’s Football Morning in America column at NBC Sports, the long-time NFL scribe opines: “[T]he Bears were the worst team in the playoffs, and it wasn’t particularly close. … The Bears went 3-8 in their last 11 games, and now they’ve been over .500 once in the last eight years. I feel winds of change coming; I just don’t know what they are.” At least King feels change is coming. Yay?
• The Bears made some moves yesterday:
The #Bears have signed the following players to Reserve/Future contracts:
WR, Rodney Adams
DB, Marqui Christian
DB, Xavier Crawford
OL, Dieter Eiselen
TE, Jesper Horsted
WR, Thomas Ives
DT, LaCale London
LB, Ledarius Mack
DB, Teez Tabor
OL, Badara Traore
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) January 11, 2021
• Justin Fields made some baller throws in defeat last night:
— ESPN (@espn) January 12, 2021
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 12, 2021
• Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith is a human cheat code who will make some NFL team happy:
OH MY DEVONTA SMITH 🤯
That makes THREE TOUCHDOWNS for the Heisman winner 🔥 pic.twitter.com/u9qpKEKnTC
— ESPN (@espn) January 12, 2021
• We’ll have more about the guy throwing passes to Smith later today.
• Hey, I wonder if he’s waiting for one team in particular:
Multiple NFL teams have inquired about Northwestern HC Pat Fitzgerald and, to date, as of right now, he has not agreed to any of the interviews, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2021