clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bears shouldn’t need consultant to help make decisions

Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips (left) and chairman George McCaskey listen to a question at a news conference Monday at Halas Hall. | Nam Y. Huh/AP

The Bears — this allegedly historic, proud, vicious, rip-out-your-intestines-and-make-you-look-at-them organization — have to hire a 73-year-old former general manager from an NFL search panel to find out who should lead them?


Chairman George McCaskey blathered on Monday during the news conference about how different and success-driven the Bears are. Grandpa George Halas’ inspiring words are just inside the doors, he pointed out. He nearly wept when trying to summon words to express how upset his 91-year-old mother, Virginia, is with the Bears’ 5-11 season.

Good passion there. Heavy-duty family moment. But directed at what?

George and all his siblings and the bean-counter at his side — Hi, Ted Phillips! — don’t know whom or what they want to guide this listing ship? Help me here, but are the Bears now just a faceless corporation? Because this is what corporations do, isn’t it?

Let the New York Jets use an NFL search team to help them find a coach, as they did Monday. The Jets have as much soul as egg-cream soda.

But the Bears? George Halas — young George’s namesake — would tell a search team, or any outsider, to bleepin’ bleep his bleepin’ bleep. If McCaskey and kin and oddly bulletproof sidekick Phillips don’t know what they want, why do they even have jobs?

In the case of Phillips, who theoretically hired the overmatched Emery, who hired the overmatched Marc Trestman — both fired Monday — the bullet-dodging has become art. McCaskey, of course, has bloodlines.

But the help they need, they insist, must come from outsiders.

‘‘We consider this a tool to assist us in the search process,’’ McCaskey said of hiring the vintage Accorsi. ‘‘Several other teams have taken advantage of this resource, and we think it’s a good idea.’’

A good idea is knowing whom you want, and getting him. Pronto.

Imagine, the Bears once had headhunters named Ditka and Butkus; now they have one named Accorsi — a onetime assistant sports PR man at Penn State-turned GM-turned consultant. And if I may be so bold, consultant is a code word for semi-retired.

What if Accorsi suggests another career NFL assistant or bland nobody as coach? What if he suggests a glorified scout as new GM? It’s hard to believe the Bears can follow blindly.

‘‘We’re not foreclosing any possibilities,’’ McCaskey said. ‘‘College experience, pro experience, previous head-coaching experience, offensive-minded, defensive-minded.’’

Maybe a scarecrow? Gumby?

In the middle of the swirling change — at least for now — stands one immobile pylon. Jay Cutler. The quarterback with a monster contract, built-in turnovers and troubling ‘‘Cutler-Face-ism.”

Whoever is brought in to run this show has to deal with Cutler first and foremost. Phillips said the Bears expect excellence instantly, or by 2015, a day from now, to be precise. No Cubs-style four-, five- or 10-year wait.

So there’s Cutler. Trade him or cut him, and you take a huge money hit. Plus, do rational coaches or GMs want to come here to deal with him?

‘‘We’ve already had inquiries from people who want to be involved with the Chicago Bears,’’ Phillips said. ‘‘We think this is a prime destination.”

The NFL is a closed system, and there are always candidates desperate for jobs, the higher up, the better. When they fail, it becomes clear they have kept your team down the way a tarp keeps down flowers that might have bloomed.

The final decision on the hirings, we’re told, will be done in-house.

‘‘It will be George and myself,” Phillips said.

Right there, a clock should start ticking. One that should have started ticking years ago. If it rings again with failure, the McCaskey family has to rethink everything, including its ownership. Phillips should wonder how he made it unscathed for so long.

Why, I wanted to know, didn’t somebody up the food chain take the fall for hiring the lower-echelon guys who failed? After all, it was McCaskey who said he endorsed the pyramid chain of command the Bears use.

‘‘I don’t view it as taking the fall,’’ George replied. ‘‘Like I said, everyone is accountable. Everybody who walks through the doors of Halas Hall sees the quote from George Halas: ‘Nobody who ever gave their best regretted it.’ ’’

Thanks, Papa Bear!

But what if their best isn’t enough?

It happens.

Chairman, president — think about it. Hard.


Twitter: @ricktelander