It’s becoming a given that Bears coach John Fox will be getting a pink slip after Sunday’s game against the Vikings. The bigger question is whether the terminations will extend above him on the organizational chart, and if so how high?
There has been little talk of G.M. Ryan Pace not surviving a purge of the coaching staff, presumably based on the notion that General Managers typically get to hire two head coaches. However,, Pace’s predecessor, Phil Emery, didn’t have that luxury; Emery hired Marc Trestman, and Emery was fired with Trestman.
Here’s something that could be a clue. Most of the non-playoff teams already have commenced the process of negotiating with practice-squad players the futures contracts that can be signed after the regular season ends. As one league source explained it to PFT, the Bears haven’t.
If Pace also goes, the next question is whether ownership will take things another level higher, moving on from long-time team president and CEO Ted Phillips.
Very few expect that to even have a chance of happening. An accountant by education, Phillips has been a Bears employee since 1983. In 1999, he became only the fourth president in franchise history, and the only one not part of the Halas or McCaskey families. Those facts alone make it highly unlikely that the team would make a change so significant. At some point, however, the Bears need to ask whether the person hiring struggling General Managers and head coaches should be replaced.
In the 32 years since winning the Super Bowl in 1985, the Bears have been to the playoffs 10 total times. Since Phillips became CEO in 1999, the Bears have qualified for the postseason only four times.
Others will have to decide whether that’s good enough for Phillips to continue in a position that, for 18 years, has escaped the same degree of accountability that has applied to multiple General Managers and head coaches. But it’s fair to at least ask whether the team has done enough on Phillips’ watch to justify not hiring a fifth team president in franchise history.