Tom Brady retired. For real this time. Brady’s calling it quits makes me wonder what was the bigger number — the money won by bettors who backed him or the money lost by those who bet against him? I’m sure there is an answer for that somewhere.
• Not seen in the image below is the torch Brady is passing to Justin Fields:
Nothing but respect.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 1, 2022
• Dan Wiederer (Tribune) uses GM Ryan Poles and Head Coach Matt Eberflus’ own words to lay out the plan that will lift the Bears from the 6-11 rut they were in when their 2021 season came to an end. Michael Allardyce (NBC Sports Chicago) shares the vision of a new Bears identity, as outlined by the new guys. We don’t know how long the Poles-Eberflus tandem package will last, because as Patrick Finley (Sun-Times) points out, Chairman George McCaskey refused to share details of each new Bears leader’s contract length. But if Eberflus and Poles are as successful in fulfilling their vision as McCaskey is in dodging a fair question, then we won’t worry about contract lengths. And if they aren’t, I’ll venture to guess that we’ll be discussing new coach and GM candidates four years from now.
• However, let it be known that the new GM is already selling hope for a competitive 2022:
"Absolutely, I think we can be competitive." – #Bears GM Ryan Poles on next season for the franchise.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) January 31, 2022
• For me, the big takeaway from was that Eberflus and Poles seem to have an idea how to vocalize what they want to do — particularly in terms of stepping away from the mistakes of the past. It’s small, but not inconsequential. There were a handful of points where it felt like each was taking a shot at the previous regime’s missteps. I doubt it was intentional. But it wasn’t lost on me that, upon arrival, the new coach and GM were clear in understanding what went wrong with their predecessors. You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Right? We don’t know if it’ll play out the way they want. But if it doesn’t, it won’t be because they’re doing the same stuff as before. At least, that was the vibe they were giving off on Monday.
• Also worth noting is that President Ted Phillips didn’t speak to the media on Monday. Phillips has become equal parts boogeyman and scapegoat in the land of the Bears. But that he didn’t address the media during introductory press conferences spared us from that tired trope. If only for a day.
• I thought this thread did an accurate job of capturing Monday’s vibe:
Some thoughts from yesterday’s presser. Nagy never established an identity in Chicago. Clearly, that won’t be the case with Eberflus. His vision serves two purposes: builds a profile that Poles needs to scout for and creates accountability among the players.
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) February 1, 2022
Switch to 4-3 isn’t trivial, so that will take time. CB and slot CB needs are acute. Started looking at Eberflus’ scheme, definitely zone-based (not Tampa-2 based, that’s a myth), but adaptive, schemes pressure. Eager to see what he can cook up with talents like Mack and Quinn.
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) February 1, 2022
• The Bears are under new leadership, and the reactions are plenty and come from various directions. Trying to capture them all is a fool’s game. But that there is no shortage of ’em suggests we have plenty to discuss moving forward. Kevin Fishbain (The Athletic) has 10 takeaways from Monday’s introductory press conference. Dan Wiederer and Colleen Kane (Tribune) team up to share notable highlights. Chris Emma (670 The Score) explains why the Bears view GM Ryan Poles and Head Coach Matt Eberflus as a new hope at Halas Hall. Meanwhile, teammates Dan Bernstein and David Haugh have concerns about how acronyms and odd analogies will play in Chicago. Yeah, I rolled my eyes when I heard H.I.T.S., too. I get it. But also … I don’t.
• The Tim Beckman era at Illinois scarred everyone. That much I understand. And if this was Eberflus’ first NFL gig, I’d have been raising red flags. But this is Eberflus’ third NFL job. When he debuts as Chicago’s head coach, it will mark the beginning of his 14th year coaching in the professional ranks. Clearly, whatever he has been doing — whether it is corny, folksy, or whatever — has been working well enough to get him to this point in the first place. Football people, by nature, are kinda weirdos. So when football coach goes full coach-y behind the mic, I don’t think twice about it. That’s who these people are at their core. Will it work moving forward? That is fair to ask. But when you do, it should be acknowledged that it has worked well enough in the past to make it to this present.
• Assuming Jim Harbaugh really wants back in, I wonder if he knows that this is awaiting him if he joins Minnesota:
Justin Fields Harbaugh Killer pic.twitter.com/ughqcXXazK
— illwill (Light Skin but I'm still a Dark….) (@79illwill) February 1, 2022
• Elsewhere on hiring day:
— Back Page Guy NYDN (@BackPageGuyNYDN) February 1, 2022
• This is a reflective perspective that I didn’t think Josh McDaniels had in him:
McDaniels very candid and open about his time with the #Broncos: "When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football, I didn't really know people…and I failed. I didn't succeed at it. Looking at that experience has been one of the best things in my life." @CBSDenver https://t.co/3fZHyLnzEe pic.twitter.com/A4eofDWVcS
— Michael Spencer (@MichaelCBS4) January 31, 2022
• Missed this from over the weekend from Bears CB Jaylon Johnson:
Thank you Jesus 🙏🏾😂 Enjoy retirement 🐐 https://t.co/0ASMeDh0eF
— Jaylon Johnson (@NBAxJay1) January 29, 2022
• Here’s hoping this unearths some worthwhile findings:
NFL awards $1M for studies on how cannabinoids impact pain management in players:https://t.co/uJkknzmUnj
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 1, 2022
• Nerf toys, toothbrushes, speakers, outdoor gear, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• An important four-game stretch for the Bulls begins tonight against the Magic:
Bulls Weekly Preview: Magic, Raptors, Pacers, and 76ers, February 1-6, 2022https://t.co/OnXRsSey8f
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 31, 2022
• This could make for an interesting search party:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 31, 2022
• MLB players and owners are scheduled for a round of negotiations today. The Chicago Cubs’ 2022 regular-season opener is in 58 days. Uhhh … someone get to crackin’ on these negotiations, please.