Rozner: After three years, Bears right on Pace

 
 
Updated 12/31/2017 6:33 PM
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  • Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace, left, has the same record as the coach who's likely to lose his job on Monday. Yet his future seems secure, which makes him very lucky.

    Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace, left, has the same record as the coach who's likely to lose his job on Monday. Yet his future seems secure, which makes him very lucky. Associated Press File Photo/July 2016

There's little doubt Ryan Pace will be "fired up" when next he meets the media with another major announcement.

The Bears' general manager is always fired up.

At the John Fox news conference announcing the new coach, he was fired up. When he signed Mike Glennon for $18 million, he was fired up. And when the Bears approached the 2017 season with tremendous optimism, he was fired up.

After a 5-11 season, there's little doubt he will be fired up about the future, just as he was after 2015 and 2016.

At 14-34 following three awful seasons, Pace must be the luckiest executive in Chicago sports history.

Pace has compiled the worst three-year stretch at the helm of the football operation since the late '90s, when Michael McCaskey was overlord and de facto GM for player personnel director Mark Hatley, who never acquired the GM title.

From 1997-99, the Bears also won 14 games.

To find something worse, you have to go back more than 40 years, to the Bears of 1973-75. They won 11 games over three years with a 14-game schedule.

So, yeah, about that optimism for the 2017 season that concluded with a defeat in Minnesota Sunday.

The over-under in Vegas for Bears victories this season was 5.5, so outside of Chicago you would be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks of this Bears team as underachieving.

They were supposed to be bad and they lived up to the billing.

But there seems little doubt that all of the blame will be placed on the head coach.

It's been apparent for two months, since the wind changed direction and even those who carry the Bears' water began publicly questioning and criticizing Fox.

Yes, it's shaping up as another Bloody Monday in Lake Forest and the sales job will begin immediately, the selling of media, fans and season-ticket holders, who stayed away in droves down the stretch.

And Pace is really good at it.

At every turn, he talks about how close the team is to putting it all together. You heard it after last season and the season before that. You will hear it again this time.

The fact that he's still in the job, given his record and failure to find a reasonable number of game-changers, tells you all you need to know.

Maybe he'll get much better. Maybe he'll turn into the genius his supporters insist he is. Maybe the Bears will make the playoffs next season, in his fourth as the general manager.

He's already something of a folk hero in Chicago so a .500 season will probably earn him a key to the city and chance to run for governor.

But regardless of any future success, it doesn't change the past.

Pace has the same record as the coach about to lose his job.

Pace has had more misses than hits in free agency and the draft.

Pace has failed to deliver on many promises up to this point.

He raises expectations before each season and then moves the goal posts when the Bears come up short.

And yet, his future seems secure, which makes him a very lucky man.

For the sake of you, the Bears fan, who has seen a single playoff victory in the last 11 years, here's hoping Pace starts to find that same luck in player acquisition.

You have to think he's due.

brozner@dailyherald.com

• Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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