Since I became an active Bears fan in 2008, I have seen them make the playoffs three times and win just one game against the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks. They have a record of 5-27 against their arch-rival Green Bay Packers and have lost 10 straight since winning the division in 2018. They have not won a game at Lambeau Field since they spoiled Brett Favre's retirement on Thanksgiving night of 2015. They have failed to find a franchise quarterback, trotting out the likes of Jay Cutler, Josh McCown, Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer, Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Trevor Siemian, Nathan Peterman, Tyson Bagent, and Justin Fields.
The last time you could say that the Bears had the general manager, head coach, and quarterback all aligned was in 2009 when Jerry Angelo acquired Jay Cutler for Lovie Smith. The problem was that the Bears had three offensive coordinators in three years before Smith was fired in 2012. Since then, Phil Emery fired Lovie Smith, hired Marc Trestman, and stuck him with Cutler. Then, after Trestman and Emery were fired in 2014, Ryan Pace stuck John Fox with Cutler before drafting Trubisky. Pace then put Matt Nagy and Trubisky together before trading up to get Fields in 2021 to save their jobs. That failed, which stunted the growth of Fields by pairing him with Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles.
However, 2024 presented an opportunity for the Bears to finally line a head coach with the GM and quarterback by firing Eberflus and drafting Caleb Williams or Drake Maye with the Bears receiving the No. 1 overall pick from the Carolina Panthers. Do what the Kansas City Chiefs did with Mahomes and Reid, the Ravens with John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson, and the Saints with Sean Payton and Drew Brees. While it is unknown if Williams or Maye would ever reach those heights, emulating well-run organizations should be the Bears' goal. Yet the Bears do what they're comfortable with, what saves them the most money and makes them feel comfortable, the Bears way. They decided to fire all the coaches that Eberflus hired on the offensive staff on Wednesday, with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy being the headlining departure.
As Albert Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. The Chicago Bears are this way because they continue to do things the same way over and over again. They refuse to make the tough, bold decisions to move the franchise in the right direction. We just saw the Seahawks fire the best coach in their franchises' history Pete Carroll and the Patriots parted ways with arguably the best coach in NFL history Bill Belichick. This is arguably one of the best coaching-free agencies we have seen, yet the Bears are happy to sit on their hands and be ok with mediocrity.
Poles said that he didn't even think to reach out to Jim Harbaugh, fresh off a national championship with Michigan and led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl. This is in no way a slam against Matt Eberflus and the job he has tried to do in his two seasons with the Bears. He was given a tear-down roster in his first year and wasn't given a reliable pass rusher until the trade deadline. It's more about better options coming this year and setting up the franchise for long-term success. If the 2024 Bears bomb out and don't make the playoffs again, the Bears will fire Eberflus and either sticks a rookie quarterback in the same cycle as the three Bears QBs or they will have a lame-duck in Justin Fields, who will either be a free agent or paid $20 million on his fifth-year option.
As 670 the Score said in response to the news, "Nobody sells losing like the Bears." That quote is the best definition of the George McCaskey era I've ever seen. They sell Bears fans on the promise that things will be different and that they care about providing a winning team. Kevin Warren stays up late, George McCaskey says that Virginia is pissed off, and Poles said they are going to take the North and never give it back. Yet in two seasons, the Bears are 2-10 record in the NFC North and are 0-4 against the Packers. Bears fans understood that this would take time to rebuild, but part of a rebuild is making bold choices to move forward and compete. Even with his failings, Pace traded up for Trubisky and traded for Khalil Mack. Bold moves that helped the Bears win their first division title since 2010. While it wasn't sustainable, they were risks that took bold action. Listen, that boldness to trade and trade up burned Pace in the end, and he was not a good talent evaluator, but I respected it.
The refusal to do what needs to be done to make the team better is astonishing. Jed Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs just put on a display of what you need to do to take the next step in a team that just missed out on the playoffs. They had a solid manager in David Ross who had some clear drawbacks and limitations. Instead of hanging onto him for the sake of continuity, they went bold and hired Craig Counsell and gave him the largest contract for an MLB manager. Good was not good enough for them, they went for great. A lesson the Bears should have learned from, but didn't.
So, what do the Bears do from here? We'll have to wait and see what they decide to do with the offensive coordinator position along with the rest of the staff. They've already reached out to the Seahawks to request an interview with current OC Shane Waldron.
This is not to say that the Bears can't have an excellent off-season and that the decision to keep Eberflus won't be a good one. It just feels like a huge missed opportunity for the Bears brass to finally act like an NFL team in 2024.