Is the Chicago Bears “New” Search Process … Hey, Let’s Just Hope It Works Out This Time?

I don’t know how many of you were listening to Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey’s season-ending press conference, but I was. And it was incredible how, just hours after making the right decision to fire GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy, McCaskey could completely deflate the entirety of the fandom with some of the most ineffectual discussion of sports leadership that I’ve ever heard. There will be pull quotes that highlight how concerning that presser was, yes, but I also just want to give the “feel” to anyone who couldn’t listen: it was bad. It was so very bad.

On a substantive level, one of the things that concerned me most was how the next GM and head coach are going to be selected. McCaskey indicated that the search committee would consist of himself, Bears President Ted Phillips, former (from 10 years ago) Colts exec Bill Polian, Bears Director of Player Engagement Lamar “Soup” Campbell, and Bears SVP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tanesha Wade. The inclusion of Campbell and Wade is encouraging, but given how glowingly McCaskey spoke of Phillips and Polian throughout the presser – repeatedly – it’s pretty hard to see McCaskey, Phillips, and Polian not actually being the ones to run the show.

Late in the press conference, sensing that this just looks like a re-hash of the 2015 process (with Ernie Accorsi playing the part of Bill Polian), one of the reporters asked why Bears fans should expect this process to turn out better. McCaskey had no meaningful answer, other than to say we can’t know it’ll be better, and it’ll just depend on the results on the field down the road. If that doesn’t inspire terror, I don’t know what will. It felt like an admission that, yes, we’re just doing the same thing again, and, no, we don’t have any reason to believe it’ll be better other than hope.

That’s one of my biggest takeaways from the press conference. It didn’t actually bother me that McCaskey isn’t hiring a “football czar,” because he rightly pointed out that, if the GM is empowered to run all things football, that’s basically the same thing. Fine. But is this process really going to yield the right person? Since we can’t actually have confidence that lessons have been learned and processes have been improved, we as fans are also left to simply hope for luck. We have to hope that what might be an utterly broken process just happens to stumble on the best GM, the best head coach, and the best pairing of the two.

And don’t even get me started on the possibility that the Bears might choose the next head coach before they choose the GM, because if you go that route, clearly, the GM is not your top football person. Either you think you are, or you better make dang sure that the head coach is a monster heavy-hitter who can run football ops with the help of the GM.

Oof. That was not the afternoon starter I was hoping for after this morning’s encouraging news.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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