Lincicome: Welcome to another round of Bears Dominoes. The game you can never win.

  • Bears new head coach Matt Eberflus, left, and new general manager Ryan Poles pose at Halas Hall in Lake Forest.

    Bears new head coach Matt Eberflus, left, and new general manager Ryan Poles pose at Halas Hall in Lake Forest. Associated PRess/Jan. 31, 2022

Updated 2/11/2022 2:16 PM

Time once again to play Bears Dominoes.

This is a game wholly licensed and practiced by the Chicago Bears and any reproduction or other use of it by any other football franchise without the written consent of the Bears will be laughed out of town.


Here are the rules.

First, hire someone to be General Manager who never has been a general or, in fact, a manager of anything before.

We'll call him Ryan.

Let's hire a head coach who never has head-coached before. Let's make sure he has no idea how to run an offense, only how to coach against one. Let's make him as ill-suited for the job as an anvil for an earring.

He may go by the name of Matt.

Let's make sure these names are familiar as they shall replace two other guys named Ryan and Matt. That is the beauty of Bears Dominoes. You do not have to be shrewd, only redundant.

Hosting Bears Dominoes will be someone who never played football, never coached football, never did anything footballish except to get a present from his grandfather that, he could tell from the shape, might be a football.

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Say hello to George.

There is sense, there is nonsense, and there is Bears sense. This makes Bears sense.

This is the team that once tried co-coaches, that has in its fight song, "Bear down," and as we know a Bear down is inevitably third and long. This is a team that accepts failure like an annuity.

It makes no difference if any of this works because nothing much has worked in 35 years.

Yes, let's hire a defensive coach to bring out the best in the worst offense in the NFL. Much as the last coach named Matt talked about the Bears defense as "them" and the offense as "us," the new Matt will only have to turn the crying towel inside out.

Crucial to bringing all of this together must be a relic of past glory, not the Bears glory, of course, but someone with a record that has put him into the Hall of Fame -- not the Bears' hall, of course -- and has allowed him to write a book about the art of building a winning football team, not the Bears, of course. Let's call the book "Game Plan" and let's call him Bill.

If Bill seems a decade or so out of touch with current football, he fits right in because so are the Bears. Bill's greatest achievements are that he knows a Jim Kelly and a Peyton Manning when he sees one.


What he sees in Justin Fields does not matter since his part in Bears Dominoes is over and what happens next will have no effect on his legacy or his book sales.

To win at Bears Dominoes it helps to have an unbreakable franchise, immune to all harm or the unhappiness from a devoted fan base, except for the occasional pout or misspelled tweet.

And it is convenient to play in a city that is a greater attraction than the team. Winning then becomes an auxiliary treat, like extra cheese, nice but not necessary.

If hiring first-choice trainees with job experience shorter than a hitchhiker's thumb seems a reckless way to do business, the last arrangement produced traditional results.

In Bears Dominoes every doubt deserves its own benefit. No one is expecting the impossible here.

It's not like the new Ryan is replacing Jim Finks or the new Matt is trying to make anyone forget Mike Ditka.

This is football. This is the Bears. Sometimes, they are even the same thing.

So, who to blame if none of this works, the Hall of Fame codger with his own guide book, the clueless owner who has to ask strangers for help, the greenhorn learning to generally manage things, the wrong-side-of-the-ball coach whose instinct is to sack the quarterback instead of develop him, an overhyped kid quarterback starting over with a new playbook and old habits.

That's the beauty of Bears Dominoes. You can shake 'em up and start all over again.

Bear down, indeed. It is not too early to line up for playoff tickets.

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