MORRISSEY: If it’s not asking too much, Bears need a coaching-search miracle

SHARE MORRISSEY: If it’s not asking too much, Bears need a coaching-search miracle

Bears president Ted Phillips (left) and chairman George McCaskey listen to coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace during an end-of-season news conference in January 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

We’re only days away from a New Year dropping of the ball by the Bears. They likely will fire coach John Fox soon after playing the Vikings on Sunday, then they’ll get down to the business of picking the wrong replacement.

That would be the pessimist’s viewpoint, sometimes known as the realist’s viewpoint.

But what if the Bears could defy three decades-plus of ineptitude and do something right, in spite of their bumbling ownership?

What we’re talking about here is a miracle. We’re talking about stars spinning in the sky and planets abandoning their orbits. Signs, wonders, etc.

Don’t dismiss it out of hand. If a miracle is your best hope, pray like hell for a miracle. There’s very little reason to think the Bears can get this right on their own. There’s very little evidence suggesting this hiring is going to be different than any that have come before. So, a miracle, please. Even if it’s a supernatural starter set. Bill Belichick before he was Bill Belichick would be more than fine.

Maybe that’s Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.


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Or maybe something bigger. A large miracle would be the McCaskeys offering huge money to University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. An extra-large miracle would be Harbaugh accepting it.

Begging for a miracle is nothing against general manager Ryan Pace, who has had wins and losses, personnel-wise, during his tenure. But I have no idea if he is capable of A) identifying the NFL’s next great coach; B) convincing the McCaskeys they should hire the next great coach; and C) talking that person into quite possibly throwing his career away by coming to Chicago.

Is it defeatist to think only a miracle could get this thing turned around? Probably. That used to be my attitude toward the Cubs, times 100. In fact, I viewed the Cubs as being miracle-resistant. Then along came Theo Epstein, and we all know what happened. There’s a distinction here, though: The Cubs went through several ownership groups before they finally got it right with the Rickettses, who knew what they didn’t know and hired people who did. The McCaskeys know what they don’t know and hire people in their image.

This is the state of the Bears: We criticize the McCaskeys for needing to hire consultants to find GM and coaching candidates. And we’re scared out of our minds when longtime McCaskey sounding board Ted Phillips, a contracts guy, picks up the phone and starts acting like a football guy.

The Bears will have a few things in their favor as they search for a coach. Mitch Trubisky is one of those positives, though I’m not sure he’s the massive drawing card some of us in Chicago think he is. Remember, there were plenty of people in the football industry who ridiculed the Bears for using the second overall pick in the 2017 draft on a quarterback with only 13 college starts under his belt. Was there enough in his up-and-down rookie season to make a coach with job options want to hitch his wagon to the kid? I don’t know.

If your criterion for a good NFL job is its potential to grow a winner, then the Bears aren’t attractive. If your criterion is working for owners who really, really don’t want to go through the unpleasantness of firing their coach, then this is a very attractive position. You could be mediocre and coach for a long time here.

NFL revenue sharing and the accompanying parity are supposed to make it possible for every team to have a shot at winning once in a while. And the Bears did do that with Lovie Smith, who helped get them to the Super Bowl in the 2006 season. Other than that, though, the blind-squirrel-finding-an-acorn theory hasn’t applied to the McCaskeys. That’s why divine intervention seems so necessary.

There really is no burning incentive for the family to win football games. This is the fourth consecutive season the Bears have finished with 10 or more losses, and the franchise is worth more than ever. Public scorn doesn’t seem to have any effect.

Even if they get the right coach, the miracle train still will need to make regular deliveries to Halas Hall. There’s so much to overcome. It’s not coincidence the Bears haven’t won a Super Bowl since January 1986. The McCaskeys haven’t been able to identify talented front-office people, the ones who hire talented coaches and sign talented players.

Frankly, there are a lot more reasons why the Bears can’t win than why they should be able to win, and it has been that way for a long time. That’s why it’s going to take a whole lot more than whatever acumen Pace possesses. A miracle would help.

All it takes is one. That’s what they tell the Little Leaguer who hasn’t had a hit all season: All it takes is one swing. Even if you close your eyes, the bat might make contact with the ball.

All the Bears need is a miracle.

Unless, of course, they decide not to fire Fox.

Did your head just explode?

Follow me on Twitter @MorrisseyCST.


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