After the Bears lost to the New England Patriots in a fashion they should copyright, George McCaskey spoke to the media. This McCaskey, we’ve all been told, is different from the last McCaskey. His comments from an article on Pro Football Talk:
“They have every right to be [upset],” McCaskey said. “We’re 3-5. That’s a losing record. We’re winless at home and that doesn’t fit the formula for making it to the postseason. You’ve got to dominate at home. You’ve got to control your division and you’ve got to do pretty well for yourself on the road. We’re outside that formula right now and we need to correct that.”
McCaskey said he’s “very disappointed” in the 3-5 start for a team that “everybody in the building was expecting this team to contend for a Super Bowl,” adding that he is interested now in seeing how the team reacts to adversity. McCaskey said he has “every confidence” that General Manager Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman and the players will have a successful response.
Since this statement was made the Bears have been blown out three times on national television and eked out two victories over league bottom feeders (after falling down double-digits in both contests). The postseason dreams are dead. The home form is awful. The road form is shameful. And perhaps worst of all, the Bears have become an unwatchable bore. They have drained the joy from football season by producing a product that fails to entertain, let alone excite.
With this disgraceful performance has come an opportunity for George McCaskey to grab the reigns of the franchise and faith of its fans. There is a well-founded belief that the world’s greatest art is created at times of social crisis; that great generals emerge when the battle seems lost. This is McCaskey’s time to emerge and act in accordance with what has transpired on the field.
Because the Bears have not been struggling. They have not made a few too many mistakes or missed some opportunities. They are historically bad. The most talented Bears offense ever assembled is 19th in scoring and that ranking is actually INFLATED by garbage time production. The team has been down double-digits in 10 of their 13 games, including to horrible offenses like Buffalo, Minnesota, Tampa. Every week features a humiliating loss. Every loss is followed by the same tired refrains about “beating themselves”. The Bears do not beat themselves. They are beaten severely by their opponents.
Against teams with winning records, those teams competing for postseason positions, the Chicago Bears have been outscored 289-161. Their average margin of defeat is 16 points per game. The Raiders have played 10 games against such teams and lost by an average of 10.4 points per game.
If George McCaskey does not act at year’s end a simple question must be asked: how bad must a season get for this owner to intervene?
The tail end of the Wannstedt era has always been the bellweather for futility in the modern era. But those seasons were more a private embarrassment. They came before DirecTV and the fantasy football craze and the NFL Network and wall-to-wall football coverage. Hell, they came before the internet created what we all know now as “the national football media”. Bears fans remember with a mixture of sadness and rage the first seven games of the 1997 season. Nobody else does.
The 2014 Chicago Bears have been a very public embarrassment, with three of their worst efforts coming in front of massive national audiences. (Bears v. Cowboys was the third highest rated Thursday night game EVER.) It is one thing to weigh 545 lbs and have your chili cheese fries delivered to your apartment. It is another thing to walk shirtless to the diner.
George McCaskey will set the stage for his chairmanship on Monday, December 29th. On that day he will announce, with action, whether the Bears have embarrassed he and his family enough or whether they can tolerate far more than their fans. A bold, determined action could go a long way towards changing the reputation of his family name in Chicago for an entire generation of fans. Will he be bold and determined enough to act?