The Chicago Bears hit the reset button today, announcing the dismissal of head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. It was a move that was a year overdue, depending on who you ask, but Chicago now moves forward in a pretty good spot. Justin Fields flashed potential in his rookie season and the team boasts talent across the roster in a major market. It makes them arguably the most attractive job on the coaching market this offseason.
Unfortunately, the Bears have decided to keep the two men responsible for hiring Nagy and Pace in the first place and who will be responsible for this next round of hires. They go by the names of Ted Phillips (president and CEO) and George McCaskey (team chairman). Bears fans had about four hours of optimism about the state of the franchise before McCaskey got in front of a microphone to discuss why the team fired Nagy/Pace and how they'll approach the hunt for the next men to lead the organization to glory.
It was a total catastrophe. This list neatly sums up what McCaskey managed to do in the span of one hour.
McCaskey began the press conference by discussing Jeff Dickerson, a longtime Bears reporter who died this season and is survived by his 11-year-old son. He then used that as a segue to talk about Nagy's son and criticized Bears fans who chanted "Fire Nagy" at a high school game. It was nice of McCaskey to mention Dickerson and his son Parker, but he clearly just used them as a means to talk about the high school thing with Nagy, which is blundering ineptitude at best and despicable at worst.
Things did not improve from there. McCaskey explained Ted Phillips would remain employed despite very little success during his tenure as president because he trusts Phillips. When asked about the team's lack of success under his own tenure as chairman, McCaskey said ownership was happy with him so he would stay onboard. He essentially justified his trust in Phillips by the trust ownership has in himself without mentioning that the ownership in question is literally his mother. So Bears fans have to assume Phillips won't screw up the hire because McCaskey trusts him, and Bears fans are supposed to trust McCaskey because ... his mom believes in him.
The best quote of the day was McCaskey openly proclaiming he is only a football fan, not an evaluator. Which is obviously not the most encouraging thing to hear when McCaskey is on the verge of hiring somebody who will define the next five years of the franchise.
The context of this was that Nagy apparently came to him to ask whether or not he should start Fields over Andy Dalton, which indicates that particular situation was even worse than it appeared on the surface.
To top it all off, McCaskey called franchise legend Olin Kreutz a liar for claiming the Bears offered him a job for $15 an hour.
In short, McCaskey honestly could not have done a worse job. He robbed everybody watching of any vague confidence that may have existed in the Bears' ability to hire somebody competent to oversee Fields' development. He flippantly insulted a well-liked franchise figurehead and used the death of a reporter and the orphaning of a child to make a meaningless point about classless Bears fans. And he justified his presence in front of the camera by parading around the trust of his mother.
Tough day, Chicago.