“A situation in which business and financial activities are done in an open way without secrets, so that people can trust that they are fair and honest”.
It has been a tumultuous period for the Chicago Bears front office since the disappointing play-off loss against the Saints in January and the subsequent press conferences that have followed in the lead up to the 2021 NFL Draft.
In January, we watched on with great interest as we were told by George McCaskey that “there are no other agendas”, yet a refusal to comment with regards to the terms of Ryan Pace’s contract has led us to believe that perhaps his and Matt Nagy’s seats were not as hot as we had once thought. As we fast-approach the all-important NFL Draft on April 29, we are still no clearer on whether Pace and Nagy are in “do-or-die”, or rebuild mode. All roads at this point suggest that Pace has at least been extended and it’s back to the drawing board for the Bears.
In January, George McCaskey promised Bears fans ”change and accountability”, and at this point it is fair to say that we have not yet seen it, nor do we have anything to hang our hat on that suggests we might in 2021.
Which brings us to the Andy Dalton signing. The decision to bring a Mitch Trubisky-Nick Foles carbon-copy set social media alight, leaving fans threatening to discontinue buying merchandise and attending future games in an effort to kick the McCaskey’s right where it may, or may not hurt most. This of course is not a knock on Andy Dalton the player or the person, rather the decision that was made by front office to sign him for an extra $7 million which could have been avoided by bringing him in a year earlier, and further avoid the salary cap restricting Nick Foles for the 2020 season.
To add further fuel to the Dalton fire, on April 2 we learned at the Bears “media only” press conference that Matt Nagy will take back play calling duties from Bill Lazor for 2021. A confusing, yet not-surprising decision given what we have seen in recent years, and one that will no doubt further frustrate Bears fans that were aghast with the Dalton signing in the first place.
Pace and Nagy are “learning and growing in their roles” or at least that is what McCaskey wants us to believe. It is time now that we finally see this growth and development in both. Pace must write his wrongs by getting his first pick right in the draft (#20), and Nagy must find something that has some semblance to a competitive offense for the Bears in 2021.
With life slowly now coming back to a “new normal”, it is expected that gameday attendances will return to 100% capacity for the 2021 season. Despite threats from sections of Bears fans to vote with their feet, most will no doubt return in their droves, hoping for something exciting that will bring them joy and take their mind off the previous 12 months through the COVID-19 pandemic.
A concept that the Bears front office have refused to embrace is transparency with its fans. As much as we need to understand the organization’s decision-making and the direction that the team is being taken in, we also need to understand the organization’s vision in order for us to truly embrace it and to believe in it.
All we ask for as fans is a level of respect, clarity and transparency. No “other agendas.” If Pace has been extended through to 2022, then just tell us. If the decision has been made to pivot to a re-build then fill us in, explain the road map and manage our expectations. Sure, it might be another few years of pain but what’s another 2 – 4 when we’ve already been waiting 36 years since our last Super Bowl.
If it is a rebuild then please (and if not for our sake) then yours, explain the recent decision making and the vision moving forward. At least that way you can manage our expectations effectively and by season’s end we won’t be carrying pitchforks and torches, and calling for heads to roll when we miss the playoffs.
Try “collaborating” with your fans this time by being transparent and managing our expectations and that way we can’t be disappointed.
For as William Shakespeare once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”