Rozner: Losing a winning formula for Bears
You have to wonder how close Bears ownership came to firing Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky a month ago.
Of course, George McCaskey will never admit it now. That's not how they do things. But that group had to be teetering on the edge.
Instead, you have a Bears playoff team at 8-8, the last team in the tourney only as a result of an extra postseason spot this season, having had every break go their way since the six-game losing streak.
How perfect is it that this group backs into the playoffs after getting crushed again by Green Bay, as Arizona lost playing without their injured quarterback?
Feels just right. So mediocre. So Chicago Bears.
The bad news for you, the fan, is that you're almost certain to get another year of all three, with Pace somehow gifted a seventh year despite one winning season. Nagy will get a fourth and Trubisky a fifth.
The Bears have significant cap problems so it will take some doing to get Trubisky back here. Pace will prefer Trubisky over, say, free agent Allen Robinson, but you already know Pace isn't going to admit that mistake, that he spent the No. 2 pick in the draft on a game manager who is superb with the 3-yard throw.
This is the same player Nagy benched, learning after three years what it took John Fox three games to understand, and though Nagy may have been slow to figure it out, at least he figured it out.
He had to. This is the GM's quarterback and will forever be the GM's quarterback.
In a league this bad, you don't have to display your genius on every play. You don't need tight-end jet sweeps on every series. Let the defense carry the day, run the football and keep the result out of Trubisky's hands.
This is a great formula against terrible teams, especially when you face defenses ranked 26th, 28th and 31st, as the Bears did the last three weeks.
Let Trubisky get out of the pocket, run for a few yards, make 3-yard throws and keep the chains moving. It's what Nick Foles spent weeks trying to teach Nagy, something the head coach refused to accept for so very long.
When you're a football genius, you need not listen to others, but when the GM's career is tied to a bad quarterback, you best do what the GM wants you to do with him.
It's tough being a fan of this team, knowing year after year that George McCaskey and Ted Phillips are running the show, that they will determine the fate of the group.
You wind up rooting against your own team, hoping they lose games so that you'll get change at the top. And where has it gotten you the last 30 years? Sick to your stomach, probably.
Well, you have a playoff team -- such as it is -- and you might as well enjoy it. The NFL is so dreadful that the Bears could win a game, and you ought to be rooting for them to extend this as far into January as possible.
What else is there to watch as you wait for your vaccine?
Rooting against them now doesn't help the cause as ownership has all the justification it needs to return the three-headed Monsters of the Middling. Perhaps they will make a different call, but a wager in that direction is probably a waste of money and energy.
Yes, you're allowed to enjoy playoff football, even if you think it sets back the program another two or three years.
A single good play in any game and all the bad is forgotten and forgiven, all the terrible draft choices, the horrible play calls and the ridiculous interceptions, underthrows, overthrows and homicide passes.
The Trubisky Truthers don't want to hear it, but he could have easily thrown 5 picks Sunday, as is the case every Sunday.
Nothing to see here, folks. Please return to your quarterback highlight reels.
If Virginia McCaskey is interested, by the way, the Packers won the division by five games in a 16-game season. Five games. It doesn't sound possible, but it does sound humiliating.
In any case, you might as well have some fun with this. It's probably time you decided that the Bears don't care what you think about anything anyway, and the only way to voice your displeasure is to stay home from the games.
In the past, those empty seats in December have sent a message to ownership, but with no fans in the stands they can pretend that all is well and the fan base is on board with all that they do.
That's how they prefer going about their business, with eyes closed, driving down a dark and icy road, using luck to guide their choices and hope as a road map.
That leaves you on your couch in your Len Walterscheid jersey, wondering why you do it to yourself Sunday after Sunday, year after year, decade after decade.
At least as you sit here today, the answer is there's nothing else to do.