Lincicome: When the Bears go looking for their next head coach, don't expect much

  • Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy yells from the sidelines during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 21.

    Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy yells from the sidelines during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 21. Associated press

  • Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy watches from the sideline during the second half Thursday in Detroit.

    Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy watches from the sideline during the second half Thursday in Detroit. Associated press

Updated 11/26/2021 3:44 PM

The great advantage for the next Bears coach is that he has no shoes to fill. Matt Nagy is leaving barely any footprints. The Bears have had only one coach, George Halas, and all the rest have been a succession of hollow hoodies.

On reflection, probably the best post-Halas coach was Lovie Smith, who made more with what he had than he should have. Mike Ditka, of course, will always be the loud lout in the long line of unremarkables, a cartoon coach who got the least out of the most.


There is a legend to be made in Chicago. Somewhere there must be a Landry or a Shula or a Lombardi, a Belichick or a Tomlin, and every team looks for one, a half dozen or more a year, the Bears always seeming to come up with the crumbs at the bottom of the bag.

This is a column I could have written, and probably did, with every Bears reboot, until redundancy turns into doubt, conjecture into suspicion, performance into proof, and then it starts all over again.

Nothing is more certain than every three or four years, someone in a bad suit will clear his throat and say, "It is with great regret ..."

There are seldom tears. This is man's work after all, while in the case of Ditka I recall soft weeping. Or maybe that was me. Ditka was worth 25 or 30 columns a year, right up there with Dennis Rodman, low hanging fruit now needing a step stool.

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No need to be selfish about this, though that is my job. What's good for the Bears is not necessarily good for Bears' judges and while reviewing redundancy has not been my entire career, I am grateful for the part the Bears have played.

In the meantime, the Bears have a season to finish and more weeks ahead much the same as the last one when rumors become wishes and hopes become hunches, the normal course of business in McCaskeyland.

"Let's see where this thing takes us," said Nagy, as unsure as always.

So, what to expect after one glorious (sarcasm) Thursday in Detroit because the aftermath was as if the Bears had conquered death, and they did figuratively, or at least postponed it.

Nagy was not, it turns out, coaching for his job as was widely echoed throughout the few days between a last second loss and a last second win. Nor will that be true of the next couple of games against teams of ambition and quality, Arizona and Green Bay, rather than the one-ply Lions.


Still the announced happiness in the winning locker room must be taken on faith. It is hard to imagine any joy in doing what is expected.

"They deserved this," said Nagy, which brings to mind the old Clint Eastwood line before he shoots Gene Hackman in the face. "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

Nagy said that the Bears can expect more of the same, and what they need to do is understand the truth. Well, the truth is that barely beating the Lions is nearly as bad as losing to them.

"We put our head down and worked," said quarterback Andy Dalton, which may account for why it took so long to do what should have been easy.

Nagy took it all personally, the "higher level of distractions," the word of the day and very likely of the weeks ahead, and the effort of his "freaking warriors" to win one for him.

"I love them to death," Nagy said. "They know how to win. They are not losers."

Beg to differ but if we are insisting on the truth, the record says otherwise. And if all it took was a press threat against their coach, the Bears would be undefeated. I have been happy to do my part, and I'll throw in Justin Fields for free.

Somber and sober reflection will return and things will need sorting. Who will be the next coach, the next general manager, the next quarterback (don't say Fields) and the next McCaskey?

Family ownership -- rather than money moguls' toyshop -- can work in the NFL. The Rooneys of the Steelers and the Hunts of Kansas City come to mind. Big foot owners pretending to be coaches can work, too, thinking here of Jimmy Jones and the Cowboys.

Nothing works for the Bears. The big picture is a faded snapshot. Truthfully speaking.

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