Imagine a school district with the same school board and superintendent who have been in charge for 21 years. The superintendent has hired three directors of instruction and those directors have hired five principals during that time period.
In those 21 years, the school district has performed above expectations six times and below expectations 15 times with a few of those seasons dreadfully below expectations even though you’ve spent millions on new programs and resources to fix the problems.
Would you hire those people back? Would you want to work in that district? Would your kids want to learn there?
This analogy works for a business, too. Imagine a CEO that only turned a profit 6 of 21 years—would you hire that person back?
This is what the Chicago Bears basically doubled down on Wednesday when they brought back Ted Phillips (superintendent), Ryan Pace (director of instruction), and Matt Nagy (principal). While I believe the ownership is as much at fault as anyone, they aren’t going anywhere. The McCaskey family is its own joke, clearly not caring about winning because Pace would have been fired the second after Mahomes raised the Super Bowl trophy if that was the case.
However, Phillips, Pace, and Nagy should all have been fired on Wednesday. If the end game for a sports franchise is to win titles, how have the Bears made any progress toward that goal? They’ve made the playoffs twice in three years, but lost on a doinked field goal (from a kicker who got nine million guaranteed) and were embarrassed by the Saints last week. Since 2015, when Pace was hired, the Bears are 2-10 against the Packers. Two wins! They are the best team in your division. You’ve beaten them twice in six seasons. He should be fired for that!
From 1984-1990, the Bears won six playoff games, including a Super Bowl. They’ve won four playoff games since. Ryan Pace has overseen a record of 42-54 and is only one of two GMs to be hired in 2015 or before to still be with their team despite never winning a playoff game. He should be fired for that!
Since his first press conference, he’s talked about the quarterback position being something the Bears needed to work on. Guess what? Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, Brain Hoyer, Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel, and Nick Foles were his answers. He should be fired for that!
Pace had the number 3 (then number 2) pick in the draft and took Trubisky over Mahomes and Watson. That’s fireable right there. But he also took Kevin White, Leonard Floyd (who is apparently a stud now?), and dealt two firsts for Khalil Mack. Oh, and he’s totally crippled the salary for the foreseeable future. He should be fired for that!
And Matt Nagy, an offensive “genius”, hasn’t given the Bears a top 15 offense based on Football Outsiders offensive DVOA in his three seasons. He’s finished .500 or better based on a good defense and inconsistent if not bad offense. Is he a decent leader? Maybe? But his job is to develop players. Who has developed well under Nagy’s leadership?
I know I’ve made this argument before but it’s pretty frustrating as a fan to see the Bears become the laughing stock of the NFL. The Eagles, who won the Super bowl four seasons ago, fired Doug Pederson last week, because they didn’t believe he was doing what the franchise needed to win (and they signed Wentz to a huge deal and can’t trade him). They also drafted a QB first overall and another in the second round, trying to make sure they always have a plan for the most important position in football.
The Bears have once again lined themselves up for an 8-8 season, maybe worse. My greatest fear, though, is that Ryan Pace talked about doing whatever it takes to fix the QB position. I’m afraid of what that means because what he’s already done to fix it has crippled the franchise. What he does next may ruin it until my son’s graduation. Sigh. I’m just tired of it all. I want them to be good but they clearly are fine with mediocrity, like my picks.
The playoffs were mostly kind to me except for Seattle losing. I really thought they were better but also I haven’t watched a Seahawks game all season so who knows.
• LA Rams at Green Bay: The Packers avoided Seattle, the higher seed, but I’m not convinced that this isn’t a bad matchup for them because of the Rams defense.
However, the Rams are beat up. Aaron Donald has injured ribs, Cooper Kupp tweaked his knee, and their QB situation is a mess, too. I truly think the Rams, at full strength, would give the Packers a lot of problems. But they aren’t at full strength.
I’ll take the Packers to break it open in the second half after a close first half. The Rams just won’t be able to do enough offensively to give their defense a break. God I hate the Packers. PACKERS 23, RAMS 14.
• Baltimore at Buffalo: The Bills are rolling and I’m here for it. Josh Allen is so fun to watch because he’s everything I want in a QB. Big arm, can run, doesn’t care how hard a throw it. He’s Jay Cutler with success.
The Ravens win if Lamar Jackson can run for over 120-ish yards. The Ravens lose if the Bills make him stay in the pocket and hit receivers in tight windows. I have faith that the Bills can slow down Lamar enough to get the win and play for a chance at the Super Bowl next week. That’s fun to say. BILLS 27, RAVENS 21.
• Cleveland at Kansas City: The Chiefs didn’t look like world beaters over the last couple weeks of the regular season but they also scored 35 unanswered against the Texans in the playoffs last year. I’d be foolish to be against them in the playoffs.
The Browns have been a nice story but I don’t think they jump out to a 28-point lead against the Chiefs like they did the Steelers. The Chiefs are still the best in the NFL until proven otherwise and I expect them to show it Sunday. CHIEFS 41, BROWNS 28.
• Tampa Bay at New Orleans: The true game of the week here and I’m leaning Tampa just because Brady is better than Brees right now. The Saints would be wise to stop throwing in Taysom Hill to get sacked and fumble and just let Brees pick teams apart down the field.
Both squads have defenses who are playing at high levels right now and it probably comes down to defensive stops more than explosive offensive plays. I’m excited to see this game and hoping the winner is healthy and can beat Green Bay next week. I hate the Packers. BUCCANEERS 24, SAINTS 23.