The Chicago Bears have a blueprint to make changes.
I can’t believe I am actually typing these words, but the Chicago Bears should follow the Chicago Bulls blueprint this offseason. Twelve months ago, that sentence would have been laughable. Today, however, there is so much truth to it that it almost makes too much sense.
Let’s break this down a little further by comparing the team’s situations when they were at their most dire.
One one side is a team with a struggling head coach who can’t produce offensively, a general manager with a questionable track record, and a president who has the unyielding loyalty and support of the team’s owner, but who needs to be relieved of his duties.
On the other side is the Bears. See what I did there? If you read the previous paragraph in a vacuum, your initial inclination might have been to think it was describing the Bears. But when you analyze both teams’ situations at a slightly more macro level, there are so many similarities.
Before the slew of moves, the Bulls made this offseason, their future looked bleaker than their present. There was no one who believed that the Bulls were headed in the right direction under Jim Boylen, Gar Forman, and John Paxson.
It was long thought that Jerry Reinsdorf would not be willing to part ways with Paxson, to whom he was deeply loyal. But everyone outside the organization knew that’s what was required for the organization to truly move forward. Then the Bulls cleaned house, and brought in a new general manager, president, and head coach, just as the Bears must do.
Similarly, Bears’ owner George McCaskey and family are deeply loyal to Ted Phillips. Likewise, everyone outside the organization knows for the Bears to join the rest of the NFL in the modern era, it must remove Phillips from the process of making football-related decisions.
However, it is unlikely the Bears, who once fired their own blood in Michael McCaskey in favor of Phillips, are going to outright fire the man who has ensured a steady stream of income to the McCaskey family.
The good news is they don’t have to. All they have to do is follow the Bulls’ lead and adjust Phillips’ title. Look, there are things he is obviously good at. He oversaw, in large part, the renovations of Halas Hall, the upgrades (if you want to call them that) to Soldier Field, and he does fine work with the salary cap and otherwise managing the finances of one of the league’s most profitable franchises.
So why not let him continue to do the things he’s good at in a reimagined role behind the scenes? Then, you can hire someone to make football-related decisions who — get this — actually knows football! What a concept, right?