When the Dolphins were down, way down, they turned to Bill Parcells. The Tuna, a Jersey guy who is inarguably the greatest evaluator of talent in the modern era, brought in his own general manager and dumped Cam Cameron after only one year. (The Dolphins swallowed at least nine million dollars of Cameron’s contract.) They hired Tony Sporano. They coaxed Ricky Williams off Marijuana Mountain. They exiled Twinkle Toes Taylor to D.C. – where star defensive linemen go to die. The result? A division title against an albeit light schedule. Now, in the follow-up year, they’ve handled the loss of their most important player (Ronnie Brown) and remained in the hunt. The Dolphins are back for good.
It only took an off-season. One off-season and an organization went from losing fifteen games and writing naughty things about Nick Saban on the bathroom wall to a division title. One off-season. That’s the state of the current NFL.
Here’s a statistic. In the Super Bowl era, only two coaches have ever missed the playoffs three consecutive years and gone on to win a Super Bowl for that team. That team – in both cases – was the Pittsburgh Steelers. (1) Chuck Knoll started 1-13, 5-9, 6-8 from 1969-1971 and then didn’t miss the playoffs until 1980. In the meantime he won four championships. (2) Bill Cowher made the playoffs his first six seasons in Pittsburgh and missed from 1998-2000. The Steelers kept him and he won a title five years later, his fourteenth with the club. Do the Bears have that kind of patience?
So unless the Bears move their operations to Pittsburgh or are willing to wait another decade, the time for change is now. The goal should be a title, nothing less. There is no way Halas Hall should continue to employ a head coach they don’t believe will bring them a championship and if they believe Lovie Smith will bring them a championship, they’re more lost than any of us realize.