Rozner: A Bears celebration as they keep the band together

  • Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy will return next season, chairman George McCaskey made official Wednesday.

    Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy will return next season, chairman George McCaskey made official Wednesday. Associated Press

Updated 1/13/2021 4:22 PM

It's been 45 days since the Bears were humiliated in Green Bay.

And yet, it took every one of those days for Bears ownership to decide how they were going to explain why they were retaining GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy.


No sane -- or honest -- person could possibly make a case for bringing back Pace, Nagy or Mitch Trubisky, unless they work for the team, but their presentation Wednesday morning was truly extraordinary, even by the Bears' legendary and comical standards.

George McCaskey, Ted Phillips, Pace and Nagy spoke for 90 minutes and said virtually nothing. It was all the same double-talk, refusal to answer questions and filibuster that you've heard before, with a very few notable exceptions.

The biggest was that in the days since the Bears were eliminated from the Super Bowl chase for the 35th consecutive year, the strategy they came up with was to say that the Bears are in great shape moving forward because they lost six games in a row.

That's it. That was the strategy. They lost six in a row and everyone still loved one another within Halas Hall. Hugs and kisses, hopes and prayers, holding hands and skipping rocks.

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There was no finger pointing during the skid. That's the best that they could come up with to explain why everyone was returning.

In addition, McCaskey -- while trying to convince everyone that he's qualified to decide the fate of the football operation -- said he calls other owners to ask their opinions.

Yes, he asks his competitors -- his competitors -- whether he should keep Pace and Nagy for another season. That is an interesting way to do business, one you can be sure Amazon, Walmart and Target employ as they try grab market share.

If you were in charge of another team, what would you tell them about the competence of Pace and Nagy?

And then there was the refusal to discuss the contract status of Pace and Nagy. No one would say how many years they have left on their deals. This forces everyone to speculate.

Specifically, this causes one to wonder if both men have already been extended and that McCaskey and Phillips are ashamed to admit it, afraid of the reaction from the fan base.


It's very bad now, with seemingly 95 percent against this decision. Imagine the response if everyone thought there were more years of this sketch comedy in store for the paying customer?

Most likely, they're both heading into their final year and don't want to admit that because that sort of desperation can affect roster and game decisions.

Either way, if you won't answer a question, everyone is forced to guess.

In any case, Pace -- who must be the luckiest man in football history -- will get a seventh season in 2021. A seventh year because his bosses don't think he's had enough time to evaluate the quarterback position or build an offensive line, the equivalent of at least 15 years of a baseball rebuild.

Nagy will get a fourth year to prove his offensive genius, and one can only hope that Pace forces him to play Trubisky for a fifth season in Chicago.

It's the only way this story should end, the three of them arm in arm, staring out over the White Cliffs of Dover in December of this year.

How Pace finds cap space for his favorite project remains to be seen, but you know he's going to try his best.

The three of them deserve each other -- while Bears fans deserve decidedly better.

Of course, they gave you the annual scapegoat, this time defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who is "retiring." It's been a revolving door of assistant coaches the last few years as the Bears have found plenty of others to blame.

What's guaranteed is it is never the fault of Pace, Nagy or Trubisky.


Now, there's no way Pace could have sold ownership on a coaching change without putting his own neck on the line, so even if he doesn't like the way Nagy has used the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, Pace had no choice but to keep his hand-picked coach.

As for those above them, you will grow old waiting for McCaskey and Phillips to bring in an actual football person to run the operation.

Don't forget that when they fired Phil Emery and Marc Trestman late in 2014, McCaskey said, "We feel the structure we have is a good one. The head coach reports to the GM. The GM reports to the team president. And the president reports to the chairman.

"We have an excellent collaboration. Ted keeps me informed on actions he's taking, or will take. We collaborate. It's not a voting situation.

"I think Ted and I understand the history of the Bears. Ted and I have lived it. We feel a collaborative effort is the best way to go."

Nothing has changed.

They said little different from that Wednesday and that collaborative effort has been terrific the past 35 years, as family members have run the team based on all of their football knowledge and their understanding of Bears history.

So, we could offer you more of what they said Wednesday, and we probably will in the days ahead, but if you watched the news conference then you already know.

Like so many Bears seasons you have suffered through, it's 90 minutes you will never get back -- and a colossal waste of your precious time.

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