Category Archives: A Career of Failure

On the Bears – My 2 Cents

Dan and I pass back and forth idiotic articles on football all the time.  Journalists have to fill pages or screens or mobile devices with content so it is everywhere.  And everyone has an opinion – why not – it’s free, just like this site.

Here’s my 2 cents and “mega view” on the Bears.  It comes from reading pretty much every article I can find, listening to people who know way more than me about football, sitting in the stands, and watching the (miserable) games.

Our failure is a complete mix of toxic ingredients that inter-relate across major decisions, business decisions, coaching decisions, and frankly bad luck.  It isn’t “one thing” and it can’t just be taken in isolation.  You can’t just look at one variable and come to a conclusion.

ELEMENT ONE – OUR COACHING AND GM’S ARE TERRIBLE

It isn’t that we don’t pay a lot of money (the Bears haven’t been cheap for years) – it is that for some reason or another, we usually get the wrong guys at the wrong time.  The evidence for this is two fold – 1) the execs and coaches that we hire and cast off usually go on to obscurity 2) zero innovation has been credited to the Bears in decades (probably since the 80’s on defense).  You never hear anyone talking about the Bears inventing a trend or scheme and attributing it to them.

ELEMENT TWO – WE HAVE A HISTORY OF DRAFT BUSTS

Going through our litany of draft failures is almost too much to Bear (bad pun).  We did pick some good guys on defense leading up to the 2007 Super Bowl season but damn that was a long time ago and even reading or scanning through most of our top draft picks is a sad experience that I won’t go through here.  If you are a Bears fan and you can’t immediately recite bust after bust then you must not be much of a fan.  Dan and I are VERY high on our new QB we nicknamed Grabowski and hell if he’s great (and doesn’t fall prey to element three) then a lot of this might go away (for a bit).

ELEMENT THREE – OUR INJURIES AND LUCK IS TERRIBLE

I am not a doctor nor a turf expert but the Bears have been crippled by injuries for years and our awful field conditions have to be at least partially to blame.  The epitome of this is the injury to our starting center on Family Day.  This is going to blend with element four below but of our few solid players, they are crippled in their peak and then just limp along as an inferior shells of themselves for years to come.  I can walk through the list of injuries but really, once again, if you are a true Bears fan it has to be completely obvious to you what I am talking about.

ELEMENT FOUR – OUR STADIUM AND BUSINESS DECISIONS ARE TERRIBLE

Our stadium is a joke.  They don’t even have enough bathrooms for you to go at half time.  I routinely see fans from visiting teams dumbfounded that there is nowhere to warm up and that the stadium takes hours to exit due to obvious physical limitations and bottlenecks.  Recently I left with some Atlanta fans and they couldn’t believe that we needed to walk like two miles from the stadium through random sidewalks just to get to a place where you could get an Uber.  They were looking at me like “are we lost” and I said “hey if there was a better plan I would be doing it”.  The practical impact of this stadium mess is that we never will host a Super Bowl (else Chicago would be perfect – we have the biggest airport and a billion hotel rooms) and the team can’t make the money that you make from something like Jerry’s world in Dallas.

ELEMENT FIVE – THE STATS LIE – WE LIVE IN GARBAGE TIME

I don’t play fantasy football (which makes me a freak) but there is a HUGE difference between the game you see on the screen and the stats that come up in the end.  The Bears LIVE in “garbage time”, raising their stats when the game is either out of reach or barely in reach.  One of the best examples is when the human clown Glennon passed for 300 yards and we were blown out – I really don’t care about the stats when these games are obviously not close.  On the other hand, they hit Grabowski for his stats when he literally has ONE SECOND to throw the ball due to horrendous O line play and the fact that his receivers could not play on any other NFL squad nor probably even a top NCAA team.

ELEMENT SIX – EACH OF THESE TOXIC VARIABLES DOUBLES DOWN

It is a simple piece of math.  If you have a 20% chance of something bad happening and you roll the dice 5 times, it is very likely that it just occurred.  When we do have some talent (2007), we squander it with the worst coaching ever (Ron Turner).  When we have a bit of innovation (a few years ago on offense), it is crushed by injuries and draft busts.  When we see someone unexpected start to rise up (like Knox or Miller), they get often get catastrophic injuries.  Jay Cutler had a lot of talent but flaws – and he then was subjected to horrendous coaching and brutal O line play and always crippled and then we get history.

So that’s my 2 cents.  “It takes a village” to be as terrible as the Bears.  And you need to untangle all of these root causes and fix them over some period of time (decades?) to make progress.

  • Hire coaches who can innovate
  • Hit on the draft
  • Fix the turf or get out of Soldier Field to raise revenue and reduce injuries
  • Ignore the stats and look at the damn game

But when someone gives you a simple “cause and effect” article on the Bears, throw it in the trash.  When something good happens on the Bears, like a lobster trying to escape from a barrel, the other elements drag it back down.

Ron Turner Gets a New Job

Ron Rivera, in what I can only imagine was a “good old boys” hiring, has hired You Know Who to be a coaching assistant for Carolina.  I had to go through and edit our “about” page, which is getting unbelievable.  Looking forward to when Ron gets fired from this one.  More importantly, I have a new team to bet against this Fall.

Chief Illoviewek

So you all know by now that Lovie Smiff is now the head coach of the Illinois football team. What a weird deal.

The new AD fires Cubes on his first day and gives Groce the dreaded “vote of confidence”. Expect to see a pink slip for Groce in the near future.

While the ax was falling on Cubes, we had recruits on campus and Spring Practices were supposed to start soon. That has been delayed.

But you know, none of this typical Illinois handling of athletic department things really matters. The fact of the matter is that Cubes was always a place holder, and it was good to start over (again), even though we now have yet another coach (and his son) sucking on the buyout teat. Sigh.

The first thing I did when I heard of the hiring of Lovie was take a giant shot of whiskey. But after thinking about it, I imagine that our new AD, Josh Whitman, wanted to make a splash and just get all the old people OUT and start over.

I don’t think this is the worst thing in the world, although we can certainly begin preparations for losing our challenges, of course. And since in the short term we will be getting beaten as usual like a red-headed stepchild, Lovie won’t have the opportunity to screw up the end of the game with poor clock management. And as long as he refrains from putting the band back together and hiring YOU KNOW WHO as his offensive coordinator, it can’t really be all that bad. Can it? So what if we go from also-ran to also-ran. That was our destiny with Cubes anyways.

As always, we here at frt are prepared. We NEVER delete our story tags, and now we can just get right back in the game with our “Fire Lovie Smith” tag. Always, always be prepared.

Re-Making the Bears

The Bears are wasting no time this off season making clear their intentions of getting younger. Matt Forte has been dismissed and it appears that the writing is on the wall for the Black Unicorn (imho, one of the greatest nicknames in all of sports history).

While Forte is still productive and relatively healthy, he is ancient in football years. No doubt that was taken into consideration along with the salary he may command. In reality, old running backs are pretty worthless in the NFL, since you can always draft a fourth rounder from the SEC to get 80% of that production for 20% of the cost. Or the Big Televen in our case with Langford. But all it takes is one team that is on the verge of something good to offer that guy a big contract and I have no doubt that someone will seriously overspend on Forte.

As for Bennett, it has been clear for some time that he was on his way out, and that injury last year was the final straw.

I, for one, am liking what I am seeing with this team getting younger. It is the only way to win in the NFL.

As an odd side note, I think that Cutler is the only player left from the Ron Turner era on the roster.

More updates will be posted on roster changes as they come out.

Update: bye bye Bushrod.

Bears Coaching Alumni

Coaching football is an odd and imho, a terrible profession. In contrast to the players, many coaches have life-long careers. The only problem with this is that they have to constantly move as they get replaced, fired, or take a better job. I would imagine that this takes a toll on many of the coaches family lives. It would be interesting sometime to see if their divorce and bankruptcy rates are as bad as the players. But that is peering down the rabbit hole a bit much.

So, who do you know? That is true in life outside of coaching, and is vital within the coaching community. Many, many coaches have worked with each other at some point and they never know who their next boss will be. This is why you never see coaches like Trestman burning bridges when they get fired or leave. That guy you are calling an asshole might just be your new boss (but not for long). I suppose there are a few guys who could get away with trashing people like Belichick and maybe the Chin but those guys are few and far between. You will note that GMs never trash owners, even if their reasons for departure may not be fair.

I imagine that Fox and Elway were butting heads for Elway to dismiss Fox after amassing a 46-18 record, but little was said besides Elway saying that the Broncos didn’t go down “kicking and screaming” in the playoffs. Even Elway knows that he might be working somewhere else someday.

With that, I noticed a few funnies this week. Our ex (not so) special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis is now working for Denver. Funny since we just got their special teams guy Rodgers from Denver, who obviously followed Fox to Chicago.

Marc Trestman is now the OC for the Ravens. Trestman and Flacco – what a marriage made in heaven.

Aaron Kromer is now the O Line coach for Rex Ryan in Buffalo. That sort of sucks for us because Buffalo was one of the teams I thought we could sucker trade with for Cutler. Oh well.

I am sure even Mel Tucker will fall into some sort of job. It is a giant carousel and round and round it goes. Look at dumb Ron Turner, still gainfully employed. If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does.

Ambiguity From Halas Hall?

The search apparently is well on, for there is much work to be done at Halas Hall. Mr. McCaskey and Mr. Phillips have secured Ernie Accorsi as a consultant.  McCaskey and Phillips have seemed to say, however, that they will be making final decisions themselves.  There is more than one way to interpret this.

 

Perhaps McCaskey and Phillips believe that their past lack of success in making hiring decisions is forgivable, given exigent circumstances that only they are aware of.  Perhaps McCaskey and Phillips believe that they have grown and learned from their past mistakes.

 

Then again, perhaps McCaskey and Phillips have decided that the decision will be theirs, in that they will forever own up to it, but all that they will be doing is hiring Accorsi’s choice, assuming of course that the Bears can come to terms with whomever it is. This may be necessary, as to many observers  it may be unpalatable to have McCaskey seem in any way to just be a rubber stamp.  No doubt he needs to maintain the appearance of total control.

 

There are a lot of names being mentioned as possible GM and HC candidates.  From the media and elsewhere, as reported by the media.  The Fritz Pollard Alliance has reportedly made three GM candidates known to Accorsi.  Let us hope that with all the opinions that are being tossed around, the gentleman, Mr. Accorsi, being paid by the Bears to be the smartest guy in the room is indeed the smartest guy in the room.

Domains Released

Well today we have our own little post Black-Monday routine which is the “releasing of the domains”.  I had Fire Aaron Kromer and Fire Marc Trestman which I released back into the general pool.  For some reason I never bought Mel Tucker in the first place but I’ll be sure to buy the DC coordinator next time because boy did we stink up the joint on defense.  I didn’t try to buy Emery either will look into that next GM as well.  And another learning is to buy up the special teams guy – man we’ve fallen apart over the last few years.

One thing we never do, however, is give up the domain for Ron Turner.  Even though it is a sad ol’ “.net” domain we keep fireronturner.net forever and I consider that money well spent.  Unlike the guys up above who came through town and failed and moved on, Ron Turner wrecked the Illini AND the Bears TWICE and we just can’t believe he still has a job anywhere in football.  He also blew the only chance we probably will have for a super bowl win in my damn life time, a game so sad that Dan and I never even discuss it.