(Might as well add Teddy (Phillips) in there too, but don’t want to get too carried away).
I received a nice message from Dave, who is yet another Chicago Bears fan in the UK. Dave related that he became a Bears fan through his dad back in the glory days just like I did. So our stories are the same despite being separated by thousands of miles.
Dave has been following everything he can with the Bears and likes the local flavor of fan sites. He’s wondering what the prevailing attitude is on Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo, given the Bears’ surprising 9-4 record, and probably also in light of the blowout loss at home to the Patriots. What I’d like to do is give my opinion, then also say realistically what will probably happen.
In my opinion:
- The only reason anyone should get fired would be a complete collapse in the last three weeks of the season. Note that missing the playoffs, while it would be maddening, isn’t really a complete collapse. Losing to Minnesota if Green Bay loses and blowing the division would be a complete collapse. But if the Bears win two of the last three games and Green Bay wins out, it will be a disappointing season but not a complete collapse at the end.
- If anyone gets fired, at this point it should be Lovie and Jerry at least. The window on this Bears team has been closing the last several seasons. Thankfully it seems to be open a crack, but after this year with the stars aging rapidly, there will be a lot of rebuilding to do.
In all likelihood, the Bears win in Minnesota, Green Bay loses at New England, and the Bears have a surprise division title. If the Bears make an early exit in the playoffs, there will be serious calls from the fans for Lovie, Jerry and Ted’s heads. But don’t think it would happen.
Despite my opinions above, I don’t think anyone is getting fired at this point no matter what happens. The Bears hierarchy has never taken the initiative like the Broncos, Redskins, etc and dumped a failing coach in haste. And this may not necessarily be a bad thing. In 2000, Detroit barely missed the playoffs (thanks to the Bears) and finished with a 9-7 record. They cleaned house and have rarely finished a season with more than three wins for the last decade!
Add the NFL’s labor strife to the mix, and I just don’t think there is any way the Bears will start a new regime when there is a lockout. It’s just not going to happen.
One of my opinions has been solid and has not changed-the team must not give in and cut extensions to anyone based on this season. As we’ve all been hearing, Lovie’s camp has been using this surprising season as leverage for an extension before the coach goes into a lame duck year next year, which I suppose they should do. But I’ve seen it happen too many times, to Wanny, Jauron and Lovie, that once that extension is signed, the team goes into the tank. I’m afraid an extension is still going to happen and I will be very frustrated if this happens.
Even with a division title, which in no way am I predicting will happen, I think we need to see what happens next year before bringing this regime back for multiple years. If the Bears were to reach the NFC Championship, a longshot, then I say let the talks commence.