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Boy, do the Bears think you’re dumb — and other things we learned from a painful news conference

Hardly-breaking news: George McCaskey, Ted Phillips, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are still employed.

Bears chairman George McCaskey (right, sitting with team president Ted Phillips) said Wednesday that the franchise needs to the stay the course.
Bears chairman George McCaskey (right, sitting with team president Ted Phillips) said Wednesday that the franchise needs to the stay the course.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At this point, after years and years of being exposed to Bears’ postmortem news conferences, of hearing the same silly, mind-numbing rationalizations, you find yourself sitting there like a bag of frozen corn, with the same amount of brain activity and trace amounts of the will to live.

That’s what the Bears want. They want to wear you down with words like “collaboration,’’ “culture,’’ “conviction,’’ “adversity,’’ “trust’’ and “pride.’’ They want to wear you down with their inanity and hope you’ll drag yourself to a cold corner of your sad existence, where you’ll cling to memories of the 1985 team until you die.

But, no. Somewhere amid the stupor comes anger.

What a joke this franchise is.

What an absolute joke.

We found out during a Wednesday news conference that they’re all still employed, the entire ship of fools: chairman George McCaskey, president Ted Phillips, general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy. It means your Halloween masks are still good for next year.

It also means that the Bears are headed toward more mediocrity, especially if you believe that the combined accomplishments of these four men point to a speck on the map called Nowheresville. We figured they would be back next season, but it was the words that accompanied Wednesday’s news that were so galling. McCaskey and Phillips said that Pace and Nagy are keeping their jobs because they collaborate so well. Right. They collaborate so well that they led the Bears to an 8-8 record, the same record they had the year before.

They’re keeping their jobs, we’re told, because the team handled COVID-19 so well. Apparently, and I didn’t know this, the other 31 teams didn’t.

They’re keeping the band together, Phillips said, because they possess a “recipe’’ for success. After listening to the entirety of the delusional 87-minute news conference, I’m convinced the recipe includes the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.

We heard what we expected to hear from the usual suspects: No one is happy with another 8-8 season. No one pointed fingers during that six-game losing streak. We’ve made the playoffs two out of the last three years.

It almost sounds good, doesn’t it? Such earnestness! Just know that by singing the same song over and over, the Bears are telling you how dumb they think you are. They’re telling you that sticking together during tough times, not winning games, is what matters. Is this a football team or a fraternal organization?

These four men have mistaken a good team culture for a good team. They’ve mistaken a strong response to the pandemic for success. They’ve mistaken a $100 million practice facility remodeling for progress. They’ve mistaken Mitch Trubisky for a quarterback.

Ready, aim, collaborate.

If you came to Wednesday’s Zoom meeting hoping to hear Pace finally respond to questions about what he learned from his disastrous decision to draft Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017, you were disappointed. You heard a lot of hemming and hawing and golly-gee-ing from him. He did refer to reporters by their first names, which was nice.

Fear not. Phillips was there for those of you wanting to know more about the Trubisky debacle.

“Have we got the quarterback situation completely right? No,’’ he said.

Wrong self-asked question and answer. Better: Have you got the quarterback situation completely wrong? Yes.

In actual news, Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has retired. I wish Pace would “retire’’ too. Drafting Trubisky over Mahomes and Watson is a retire-able offense.

Perhaps Pagano saw the writing on the wall, but I don’t think so. His departure feels like one of those convenient events that allows a franchise allergic to meaningful change to keep the real culprits in this clown show employed and to give the appearance of, you know, doing something.

If you think the Bears’ problem in 2020 was their defense, I’d suggest you force yourself to binge watch all 17 games of the Bears’ sad offense. You will be both edified and emotionally crippled for the rest of your life.

One of the revelations from the news conference is that McCaskey consults with the owners of the Giants, the Steelers and the Cardinals when he needs advice. This could be part of the problem. If you’re reaching out to the Maras, the Rooneys and the Bidwills for help, it suggests you might want to expand your circle beyond the 1940s or huddle with other people besides the grandchildren of the NFL’s rich and famous. But the past is the McCaskey family’s wheelhouse.

The people running the Bears don’t know whom to call. It’s how they end up with the same kind of unremarkable employees time after time. They fish from a limited pool because they don’t know about the great, big ocean that’s out there. That’s how you get Pace, and that’s how you get Trubisky.

And that’s how you get a news conference filled with a lot of nothing.

“Ryan and Matt are men of character,’’ McCaskey intoned, confusing character with results.

The Lombardi Trophy isn’t about character. Somebody grab the chairman by the lapels and scream it at him.

One of these goofballs said Wednesday that the Bears are “fixated’’ on winning. No, if you were fixated on helping the Bears win a Super Bowl, you’d resign. Or “retire.’’

It’s not too late, you know.