Same Bears duo doing the selecting again
The most significant take-away from Black Monday at Halas Hall is not that veteran NFL executive Ernie Accorsi has been hired as an adviser in the search for a new head coach and general manager.
It's not that Virginia McCaskey, the 91-year-old family matriarch is "pissed off," according to her son George, the team's chairman.
It's that the ultimate decision on who succeeds Marc Trestman as coach and Phil Emery as general manager will be made by team president and CEO Ted Phillips and McCaskey -- George, not Virginia.
That's the same duo that brought Bears fans Emery and, as a result, Trestman.
Is that progress?
The Accorsi hiring at least shows that the Halas Hall brain trust is willing to solicit information from an outside source.
The 73-year-old Accorsi is experienced and knowledgeable. He's a member of the NFL' Career Development Advisory Panel. He served as an assistant general manager, a general manager and/or executive vice president for more than 30 years in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.
"Ernie has a wide variety of experience and has been successful," McCaskey said. "We feel he will provide a critical voice to our search process."
Phillips said the Bears also have spoken with other members of the advisory panel and that Accorsi was considered the best fit for their situation.
"You can never have enough expert football opinions," Phillips said. "(Accorsi) has been through numerous regimes in New York. He understands coaches, he understands general managers, he was the one that hired Giants coach) Tom Coughlin."
Accorsi will make recommendations and be part of the interview process. After that is where the plan breaks down because it's Phillips and McCaskey who make the final decision. And that can't leave Bears fans feeling very good about the future.
Neither is qualified to make football decisions of such importance. Their titles give them the right to make those decisions, but titles won't help them make the right ones, as the past two years proved.
The question fans already are asking is this: If Accorsi is so smart, why not allow him to make the most important decision that has been made at Halas Hall so far in this millennium? Why allow that decision to be made by the guys whose last collaboration produced Emery?
McCaskey failed to supply an answer that will inspire confidence.
"Ted and I understand the history of the Bears," the chairman said. "One of the things that Ernie said right away, why we thought it would be such a good fit, at least on paper, he once worked for (Bears founder) George Halas. When George Halas was president of the National Football Conference, Ernie was assistant to the president.
"I think he gets what we're looking for. It's an appreciation of the history, the legacy of the Bears. But Ted and I have lived it. Ted, for the last 30-plus years; me, for my entire life. And we feel that a collaborative effort is the best way to go."
Not good enough. Football people should make football decisions, and McCaskey and Phillips do not qualify.
The gap between the Bears and their fiercest rivals in Green Bay has never been greater than it is now.
The Packers finished 12-4, a full 7 games ahead of the 5-11 Bears. In head-to-head competition this season, the neighbors to the north completely outclassed the Bears 93-31.
That couldn't have helped Virginia McCaskey's mood.
"She agrees with the decisions that we made," George said of his mother. "She's pissed off. I can't think of a 91-year-old woman that that description would apply to, but in this case, I can't think of a more accurate description.
"She's been on this earth for eight of the Bears' nine championships, and she wants more. She feels that it's been too long since the last one (1985 season), and that dissatisfaction is shared by her children, her grandchildren and her-great grandchildren.
"She's fed up with mediocrity. She feels that she and Bears fans everywhere deserve better."
What guarantee is there that the Phillips-McCaskey consortium will pick the winner this time?
"We understand the magnitude of this decision, and we understand that Bears fans are counting on us to get it right," McCaskey said. "We think that the experience that we bring over the last three years, having been through the process before and talking to various people around the league and adding Ernie as a consultant, will help us in the process and get us the right people to lead the Bears."
Getting it wrong the first time doesn't make one any more qualified to get it right the next time.
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