Chicago Bears: New playoff format would increase pressure on teamon February 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm

If the NFL changes its playoff format, it will only increase the pressure on the Chicago Bears.

In 2019 the Chicago Bears finished 8-8, which was good for the eighth-ranked team in the conference standings. Despite such a mediocre season, the team was still playing for a possible playoff berth until their Week 15 loss to the Green Bay Packers. According to a recent report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL is considering expanding the number of playoff teams, which if true, will only increase the pressure on the Bears.

Currently, only the top-six teams make the playoffs in each conference. Even if the new rule would have been in place last year, the team still would have fallen short of the playoffs behind the Los Angeles Rams. However, the scrutiny on the team, as well as the disappointment for not making the playoffs, would have been more intense.

Sure, there is another way of looking at this. You could see the playoff expansion as increasing the chances the Bears will make the playoffs each year. However, for a franchise that has only made the playoffs once in the last nine years, increasing the chances of making the playoffs, only increases the pressure.

Since Ryan Pace took over as general manager in 2015, the team has appeared in and lost one playoff game. Of course, when he took over, the roster was admittedly in disarray. He took substantial steps to overhaul the roster and has had much success on the defensive side of the ball. The offensive overhaul, however, has not gone as well, primarily due to poor quarterback play.

That quarterback will now be entering his fourth season (third as a starter) in an absolute make or break season. By trading up to select Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft over both Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, Pace has invited additional scrutiny on his tenure.

If Trubisky finishes his rookie contract (excluding the fifth-year option) without a playoff win, and only one appearance, it can only be seen as a monumental failure. This would be especially true considering that the financial flexibility afforded to the team by having a QB on a rookie deal would be gone, and so difficult roster decisions would have to be made.

Next: What the Demetrius Harris signing means for Bears

In other words, adding another playoff spot would only raise expectations even more. There are only 16 teams in the conference and the new rule would grant nearly half of them a playoff berth. If they can’t consistently be in the top half of the conference, then Pace isn’t the guy for the job.

Load Comments

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *