Minneapolis is where Bears careers go to die.
Five years ago Saturday, general manager Phil Emery sat in a luxury box with bosses Virginia and George McCaskey and watched coach Marc Trestman lose to the Vikings to finish 5-11, the Bears’ worst record in 10 years. The next morning, Emery and Trestman were fired.
On New Year’s Eve 2017, John Fox lost 23-10 in Minneapolis — his 34th loss in 48 tries as the Bears’ coach — to finish 5-11. He held a terse 77-second news conference afterward and was fired the next morning.
There will be none of that this year. The Bears don’t figure to make any changes at the top of their organization in the wake of one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. Rather, they will rely on general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy to examine the NFL’s second-worst offense and find ways to fix it.
The day the Bears fired Fox, they bet big on Pace, announcing a contract extension that ran through the 2021 season. Pace and Nagy are each one year removed from being honored as the NFL’s top performers in their respective jobs.
While fan ire has turned to Pace this season — his decision to trade up for quarterback Mitch Trubisky rather than draft Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson never has seemed more wrong — firing him makes little sense. In the last five years, only one GM has been fired with a better record in his final two years than what Pace will have, regardless of the outcome Sunday against the Vikings. John Dorsey had 23 victories when the Chiefs fired him in 2017; Pace has 19 entering the game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Pace and Nagy talk multiple times a day every day.
‘‘I appreciate that because, even going back when things were really good last year, it was the same way, and things didn’t change,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘This year, in some of the valleys that we’ve had, he’s been really good in regard to me, keeping me focused. And the positive energy, as much as I want to have it, he has it, too.
“I think that’s very important, having a head coach and GM that are connected like that.’’
They’ll need that connection to sort through the Bears’ offensive issues, which start with — but aren’t limited to — Trubisky’s poor play. The offensive line has struggled all season, and the Bears spent most of the season without a functional tight end.
‘‘We felt like we set the foundation last year, so those conversations are easier,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And then when you go into a year like this and you have all those expectations and those intentions and you don’t reach them, you’re going to have tougher conversations.
‘‘That’s where I go back to the relationship of honesty, putting egos aside and doing what’s best. I don’t foresee it being any tougher between us.’’
Nagy has been able to have honest conversations with his bosses ever since he interviewed with the Bears almost two years ago.
‘‘There’s zero egos,’’ he said. ‘‘So when you have that and you get into these type of situations that we’re in right now — when there’s a lot of decisions that go on because we want to look for solutions — we put all the egos aside and we have honest discussions.
‘‘And we talk through everything and about what’s best for the Chicago Bears and the football team. That’s what we’re going to do.’’