Not Business as Usual at Halas Hall in 2015

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Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

So far this off-season, it has not been business as usual for the Chicago Bears….and that’s a great sign.

Entering the uninspiring final 3 games of the season, I must admit, I did not think that the Chicago Bears front office would fire GM Phil Emery or HC Marc Trestman. I mean, this is the Bears. This is the same team that has been the face of mediocrity for the past 2 decades and has always seemed to let the stench of average leadership linger around the organization. Yes, this is the same organization that allowed Dave Wannstedt to lead their team for 6 seasons in the 90’s. Only after back to back 4-12 seasons did they finally make the move to fire him. Most head coaches would be fired after one disastrous season but again, this is the Chicago Bears. I had no reason to believe that this would change after a rock-bottom season from Trestman and Emery.

I was wrong and I’m glad I was. I have seen some moves from this organization in the past 3-4 weeks that many of us in Chicago have not witnessed before. There may be critics of the recent moves and whether or not these moves will translate into a consistent winning product. However, regardless of how this plays out, this is not your typical Chicago Bears and here’s a few reasons to explain why:

The Radical Firings and House-Cleaning of the Leadership 

Yes, we have all witnessed firings at these positions but nothing as extreme and simultaneous as this. Some may say

that they had no choice but to fire their GM and Head Coach after this horrible season. However, again, this is the Bears. They have had teams with worse records and have marched the same leaders out the next season. Furthermore, the Bears aren’t known for ever firing a head coach/general manager combo in the Super Bowl era. Jim Finks fired Abe Gibron after his first season as GM by the way, in 1974.

Marc Trestman was fired after only 2 seasons which is extremely unusual for the Monsters of the Midway. You have to go all the way back to 1956 to find the last Chicago Bear head coach that was fired after only 2 seasons. It was Paddy Driscoll by the way. The front office did what they had to do, which meant making some uncharacteristic decisions.

The Public Display of Frustration from the McCaskey Family

I have never heard this type of public display of frustration from the Chicago Bear ownership in many years, and it’s about damn time. They are not happy, they shouldn’t be and they made that known. By no means am I defending the McCaskey family because it can be argued that there isn’t an ownership in the NFL that has done less with more, than the McCaskey family. With that being said, it’s unusual and a surprisingly good sign. This frustration and anger may be exactly what this organization needs to get back to being relevant. There was true emotion from George McCaskey when he took the podium to discuss how his mother and owner Virginia McCaskey felt about the current situation:

"“She’s been on this earth for eight of the Bears’ nine championships, and she wants more. She feels that it’s been too long since the last one, and that dissatisfaction is shared by her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. She’s pissed off……She’s fed up with mediocrity. She feels that she and Bears fans everywhere deserve better.”"

President Ted Phillips and the McCaskey’s Hired a Consultant 

On December 29th, the Bears announced that former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi was brought on to help them fill their vacant head coaching and GM jobs. This was a very under-the-radar move but definitely got my attention. Why? Because it told everyone in Chicago that the organization was not comfortable with Ted Phillips and George McCaskey finding the best leaders for the job, so they brought in a proven football architect. It’s not an uncommon NFL move, but it is for this organization. Finally, they put their egos aside and admitted that they needed some help. In so many words, the Bears were not going to allow Phillips to make the same mistake twice without some help. They brought in a football guy to help make a football hire and not allow an accountant to make the most critical hire for the organization. Ownership finally realized that when you let an accountant make football decisions, you get what we saw last season.

They Hired a Head Coach With Head Coaching Experience

The last time the Bears hired a head coach with previous NFL head-coaching experience was ……..George Halas, when he rehired himself in 1958. I repeat…….1958!!!!! That’s unbelievable. They have hired rookie head coaches ever since.

New Head Coach John Fox not only brings experience, but he’s a winner no matter where he goes. He brings a 119-89 regular season record and an 8-7 postseason record. Whether one likes the hire or not, there’s no denying that he wins. Aside from that, it’s not a typical move by the Chicago Bears.

This is not your father’s Chicago Bears. This is not even your Chicago Bears. They are making moves and bringing change to the likes that we have not seen before in Chicago, and it’s about time. There’s no question that last season was inexcusable and people are angry, including myself. The fans and city have called for change and they’ve listened. I understand that this was an awful season and change was inevitable. However, believe it or not, there have been worse seasons within the past 20 years including three 4-12 seasons. Whether this will work out is still a mystery but the change of behavior by upper management is a positive sign.

Bear Down!!!