Listening to Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery talk at his press conference on Tuesday, I immediately felt as if I had been transported to another city, where screams of “DA BEARS” and “DA COACH” were only somebody else’s bad Saturday Night Live sketch.
Here was a guy who was meticulous and thoughtful, analytical and organized; someone who looks like he would be more at home doing your taxes than leading a professional football franchise like the Bears.
Instead of the "fire-aim-ready" approach of past Chicago Bears management, such as Da Coach himself, Mike Ditka—who shot from his hip and his lip as he proclaimed that firing Lovie Smith was “stupid”—this was a man who put time and effort into explaining himself.
Look, this is no shot at Ditka—he won a title for this city, and even though that team should have won a couple more, we will always remember that 1985 team fondly.
But it is refreshing to hear from someone who is confident yet unassuming, methodical yet with a sense of urgency, logical yet unlikely.
He wants to win and he wants to win now. Well, not now as in January, as that would be the ramblings of someone not grounded in reality, and that just does not fit Emery’s style. But that sense of urgency will prevent him from embarking on a total rebuild.
Emery is making changes but is banking on those changes not getting in the way of winning, both now and consistently going forward.
And unlike his predecessors, and most folks of his generation, Emery is a guy who actually embraces advanced statistics. Yes, he’s a scout, so he trusts his eyes and ears, but darn it if he doesn’t also appreciate the value of modern-day metrics.
I say all this in an effort to implore you, the Bears fan, to trust that Emery will do the right thing and hire a coach who is the right man for the job. While Lovie certainly had his faults, he also did his share of winning, so the new coach must be even better.
Those are larger shoes to fill than the average Bears fan might imagine, sitting from a couch drinking beer and shouting “off with Lovie’s head,” and Emery has a lot to lose if he doesn’t get this thing right.
But there’s no reason not to expect the Bears GM to follow the same meticulous approach he took to his presser as he searches for the right candidate to lead us to the Promised Land.
And if that approach wasn't different enough for you, there was even a George McCaskey quote saying that money will be no object. So much for nickels being man-hole covers.
Yes, this is new and uncharted territory that the Bears are engaging in, and I like it. But not to worry, Ditkaphiles, Emery still wants the “fire and passion” that so many of us traditional Bears fans long for in the next head coach.
The days of stoic Lovie will apparently give way to a coach with “warmth” and someone who is good with the media.
Having said all this, none of those things will automatically turn the Bears into champions on the football field. But Emery’s transparency and willingness to describe in excruciating detail what he’s looking for should reassure Bears fans that the man knows what he wants.
Ditka can say all he wants about there being “no loyalty” anymore, but personally; this Bears fan is more concerned with there being no Super Bowls anymore.
And if this new approach works, then count me among those who will stand and cheer, for while Bears fans will boo—much to Brian Urlacher’s chagrin—we will also celebrate as loudly as anyone when we see something we appreciate.
I know that I’m rooting for Emery, and if you’re a Bears fan, you should be too.
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