Bears are 3-0. They won’t win more than 8 games. And are stuck in draft pick purgatory from trades they’ve made. Rough spot to be in
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 28, 2020
Jason La Canfora does this a lot.
And he’s not alone.
There are a good number of (mostly national) football writers who go out of their way to take shots at Ryan Pace’s Chicago Bears whenever they see the opportunity. The reason is not Ryan Pace. The reason is Chris Ballard, the current General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts.
Very few personnel men in the league were as, let’s just say, open with the media as Ballard. His press friends were many. Folks like Matt Miller and La Canfora trusted his scouting word as gospel and they promoted him for just about every GM opening that came around.
When the Bears interviewed Ballard for the gig that eventually went to Pace, the former was unsurprisingly vocal. He told people around the league the job was his to lose. He even said that to one of the other contenders for the gig! Ballard considered the interview process a foregone conclusion, believing that George and Ted would go with a known, comfortable commodity in the wake of the failed Phil Emery experiment.
He didn’t get the job. Not because he wasn’t a qualified candidate, mind you. The Bears quite liked Chris Ballard before and during the process. Ballard didn’t get hired because Pace blew the doors off the joint. He was smart, detailed and charismatic. And the endorsement given by Sean Payton was one of the more enthusiastic they’d experienced. The Bears didn’t just believe in Pace. They believed in his vision for what the Bears could and should be.
Ballard did not take this rejection well.
He blamed Ted Phillips and leaked that he’d wanted to diminish the team president’s role in football operations. He even got Greg Gabriel to write columns about it in Chicago. (This, of course, did not happen.) Instead of handling this all with some fucking class, Ballard went scorched earth on the Bears to his media friends, trashing Bears ownership, their team president, their new GM.
So don’t be surprised if Sunday, should the Colts win, many in the media take a particular joy in the result. My recommendation would be to stay off Twitter.