While the Chicago Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, Ted Phillips and George McCaskey will still be heavily involved in hiring their replacements. After failing for the last two decades, is using the same formula the right idea?
Well, the Chicago Bears did it. In what was the worst kept secret in the NFL, they fired head coach Matt Nagy. In another move that most people hoped would happen but were not sure it would, they also fired general manager Ryan Pace.
They were involved in their fourth Black Monday in the past 10 years. Additionally, they fired their head coach and general manager together for the second time in seven years.
This is a pattern the franchise needs to end. If they continually have to hire both general managers and head coaches there will never be any continuity and it will be a long time before we see a winning Chicago Bears team.
Fans all over the nation rejoiced in the announcement of the firings. The Bears now begin their search for replacements. However, there were rumors about CEO Ted Phillips possibly retiring or moving on to a position not involving football operations.
Instead, Chairman of the Board George McCaskey announced that he and Phillips, along with a team involving Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, Bears Director of Player Engagement Lamar “Soup” Campbell and Bears SVP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tanesha Wade, would be a part of the search committee.
In McCaskey’s press conference announcing the firings, he spoke glowingly about Phillips. He did that despite Phillips’ failure to build a winning team in his 23 years as Bears CEO. As a result, it’ll be difficult to believe that Campbell and Wade would have a lot of input.
Given that the three older men would make a majority, they’ll be the ones to decide. Also, McCaskey said he’ll have the final say (despite saying later that he isn’t a football guy, just a fan) in the hirings and he’ll likely rely heavily on Polian (who hasn’t been involved in the NFL for a decade) and Phillips.
Chicago Bears want the same formula, different result?
When the Bears were in this position in 2015, they used the same type of formula. That time, however, they used Ernie Accorsi to help them. McCaskey and Phillips were the people who made the decisions on the hirings.
After seeing how badly the hirings went back then, would repeating the format work this time? They went with a young general manager, but when he wanted his own coach (Dan Quinn), they insisted on hiring a veteran coach, John Fox. Pace and Fox weren’t a good mix. Together, they garnered just 14 wins and three consecutive last-place finishes in the NFC North.
Now we’re in 2022 and McCaskey wants to repeat the situation — he and Phillips, both of whom aren’t football operation guys will be in charge of hiring the new general manager and head coach.
To make matters worse, McCaskey and Phillips might also mess around with the head coach hiring as well. They insisted on Fox and that was disastrous. In this offseason’s search, McCaskey indicated that if they find a head coaching candidate who they feel is a great choice they’ll go ahead and hire him. That means the new general manager might have to deal with a head coach he might not want.
That brings up Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
McCaskey did say that the new general manager would report to him and not Phillips.
"In our structure, it’s the GM who has ultimate football authority and oversight over the entire football operation. Different structures work for different teams in different sports. We think this is the structure that will work best for us."
Again, McCaskey said he is just a fan. When he needs to make a big decision and needs someone as a sounding board at Halas Hall, who will he turn to? Of course, it’ll be Phillips.
McCaskey feels that doing the same thing will eventually succeed. The rest of the NFL world and the Chicago Bears fans disagree. If he is right we’ll see a winning franchise again. If he is wrong, we may see losing football for another decade. We shall see what happens.