During a weekly PFT appearance with Mully & Hanley on 670 The Score in Chicago, a question came up regarding the extent to which Peter King’s reporting from inside the 49ers’ draft room creates the impression that the Bears were fleeced in the trade that allowed Chicago to move from No. 3 to No. 2, where they selected quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. And here’s the easiest answer possible to this problem of perception for the not-so-monstrous Monsters of the Midway: The Bears need to start behaving like the bad team they’ve become and embrace opportunities for positive media treatment.
The 49ers get it. At 2-14 and with constant “traffic problems” at Levi’s Stadium, they decided to open the draft room to King, which resulted in a lengthy article that creates the impression that the new football operation in Santa Clara gets it. (Obviously, this requires a certain degree of confidence that an objective reporter will emerge from the experience believing that the new football operation in Santa Clara gets it.)
The positive impression for the 49ers contains a negative impression for the Bears, and with the Bears continuing to remain reluctant to make themselves available to national press, there’s no competing piece from inside the Chicago draft room demonstrating why they did what they did in a manner that will prompt Bears fans to do anything other than boo.
That’s the real message for the Bears. When recovering from the worst 16-game season in franchise history, a more open and accommodating approach to the media will help get the word out in a way far more effective than “EXCLUSIVE!” interviews with the team-owned website. Likewise, cooperating with folks who rely on periodic access in doing their own jobs will potentially persuade them to give the team the benefit of the doubt when tempted to dish out a hot take that makes the team seem to be an even hotter mess.
If/when the Bears are making the playoffs every year and getting to the Super Bowl periodically, they can afford to be coy. For now, they need to revisit their standoffish approach to outsiders, and they need to come up with a strategy aimed at massaging the media to their advantage.