Category Archives: Fire Ted Phillips

Let’s Talk About the Chicago Bears

Here we are, 1-6 – soon to be embarrassed on national TV (yet again) and we will be sitting at 1-7 to start the year. So let’s talk about the Chicago Bears.

There is so much to unpack here and so much history. I will begin with the boss, George McCaskey.

There are a lot of jokes that go around making fun of the McCaskey family and how they run things. But the fact of the matter is that they have not been stingy with the cash at all. Over and over they have spent untold millions of dollars on this team, trying to make it better. I question keeping Ted Phillips around, however. In what possible world can Ted be considered “successful”? But what is successful to the McCaskeys? Making money? They certainly do that. If it is simply a question of making money, well, more power to them. Nobody has to go to the games (keep an eye on the stands as the weather gets cold and things get more and more bleak). But my gut tells me that they really do want to win. So why is Ted around?

When Ted and George hired Ryan Pace, I felt really good about it. Fresh face, renewed energy, a new way to look at things. An interesting departure from stodgy Phil Emery. But what a mess. It doesn’t appear that Pace has any clear direction. Granted, our whole team seems to get injured every week (and who’s fault is that, anyways?) but we have seen hundreds of guys in Bear uniforms in just a year and a half since the Pace/Fox era started. Our drafts these first two years haven’t been stellar (jury still out on some players, I will give Pace that). But what is the plan? Is there one? The Bears have to be looking long term at this point and form some sort of plan and stick to it. Too many moving pieces.

John Fox. He seems completely clueless. Maybe it is just me. This was Pace’s big hire and he doesn’t really seem to be “with it” in pressers, or on the sidelines or…anything. I am pretty unimpressed so far.

Cutler. He’s gone after this year so everyone can stop blaming everything on him (see how well Hoyer and Barkley did in Cutler’s absence just like Pickles last year). So what are we going to do for a qb? Early draft pick? Could work, might not. Brady was a 6th rounder. The first rounder in Philly, against all of my predictions, seems to be doing well. The number one pick from last year’s draft hasn’t played a down yet. You just never know.

Our offensive line is adequate, but that doesn’t get you into the playoffs and adequate gets your qb killed. Over and over. Even Seattle is having a tough time keeping Wilson upright and Green Bay is also finding out what living with an adequate line is like. Rodgers is definitely not himself this year.

The receivers outside of Jeffrey are unremarkable and in need of an upgrade. Kevin White is a complete and total bust.

Our defense actually seems to be coming along. I know it takes time to learn a new system, but many players have played the 3-4 on other teams so it isn’t like it is as big of a deal as a new offensive coordinator. Our front seven (especially once we get McPhee back) is more stout than I have seen in a while, but our corners and safeties bite. Many injuries on that front as well.

Speaking of injuries, what the heck? Why are we so cursed? Our starting center blew his knee up on FAMILY NIGHT. That is insane. I don’t know if this is bad luck, or poor training, but it just seems like we are always the walking wounded. I have no real explanation for this as I assume that most of the trainers (maybe I am assuming too much) have some sort of NFL experience and know how to train guys up for the long season.

So where does all of this armchair quarterbacking leave us? I really don’t know. Will upper management give Pace and Fox another year? I think that is the real question. I don’t know how much pressure there is on these guys but the owners have to feel tired of seeing their franchise being a laughingstock for so long. If the pressure is too great, there will be sacrificial lambs first (coordinators) then probably Fox, then Pace will go. It is in all of their best interests to show at least a little flash of brilliance (ha) at the end of this year to give Ted and George some sort of confidence in what we have here.

In the end, I am sort of clueless. I know that all of these folks are working as hard as they can, but nothing seems to be clicking. Again.

2016 Season Prediction Thread

It is time for us to put out our predictions for the Bears’ 2016 season.  Last years’ Bears went 6-10 (if you want to re-live the futility some die-hard Bears fans put up a complete game by game summary up at wikipedia here).  This is a modest step up from the 5-11 2014 season which was a widely acknowledged tire fire resulting in the firing of everybody (essentially this site’s mast head).

Dan always lectures me (properly) to ignore the useless and pathetic pre-season results but I have to say that the 22-0 loss to Denver was even below my very low expectations.  While little good happened overall, our miserable offensive line of turnstyles led to our QB’s being on their backs or harassed which leads to very bad outcomes for the Bears.  This year we invested in defense in the draft and in the offseason and I think our defense will be substantially better (no where to go but up) but I think our terrible O line will be the death of us and it will be like watching our patched-together lines of several years’ ago which I shudder to remember.

Our offense absolutely didn’t get better beyond our bad O line, giving away Bennett for almost nothing and letting Forte go and sticking with a soon-to-be-hurt tight end who had a bit of a break out season.  Plus everybody seems to be hurt.  But it is good at least having White on the field – maybe he won’t be the bust that he seemed to be last year.

The problem with the Bears in the NFL is that the rest of the league doesn’t stand still.  We are definitely either the third or worst team in our division, with the Vikings and the Packers likely to stomp us and we probably would split with Detroit (no more Megatron).  There we go 1-5 out of those 6 games.  So if we split the rest we are looking at a 6-10 season.  I don’t think we will split the rest so I am going with 5-11 instead of 6-10.

I 100% hope I am wrong but watching all those miserable home losses last year puts me in a bad frame of mind.  So that’s my prediction right there.  Like it says over the comments, let it all out.

Tanks Fer Nuttin’

Being a season holder for the Bears has very few perks, especially in the nose bleeds since I refuse to pay a PSL. Ever. One of the perks is the stream of correspondence I get from the team. After the season I got the usual “we love you” and “greatest fans ever” letters from the Bears brass. Oh hey, and I just got another letter from none other than “Smooth” Ted Phillips.
ted
I will summarize the relevant parts.

Sorry we lost a bunch of games. We will get better with Pace and Fox. Passionate fans blah blah.

We waived the processing fee for your next invoice (this is good!).

Upgrades to your online experience (bfd).

No mention of the coming chaos with them ripping up the South Lot.

Here is the meat of the letter though.

One significant change for 2016 is we are introducing variable pricing to season tickets, and for the second straight year, we are not increasing your annual ticket cost. You will see a substantial pricing difference between preseason and regular season games. Preseason ticket prices will be reduced by 40% for all STHs. The ticket prices for our eight regular season home games will see an approximate 10% increase per game. However, the total 10 game ticket cost remains flat. We believe this two tier ricing approach better reflects the value for each game.

I have read this a hundred times and I still can’t believe that it is something they did.

NFL season ticket holders have been screaming for ages that they have to buy the pre season for ANY amount of money. So the Bears lowered the price of the pre season games (that I still have to buy) but hiked the price of the regular season games to make up for it. And I am still ON AVERAGE, paying the same amount for the pre season game as I did last year. Tanks Fer Nuttin’, Ted. Next time, just kick me in the balls instead of sending me a letter to explain how you are “de-valuing” the pre season games.

Improvement – But is it Enough For You?

At this time last year we had a complete and total train wreck of a season coming to a crash ending, with the players hating the coaches and a ton of embarrassing events across the organization. When last year came to a close, everyone got canned besides some of the very top brass.

So what do we have this year? Well, we are at least one win better going into Sunday’s game, and imho, we have a new direction. I have not seen any of the bickering or sniping of the coaches that I saw last year. When Jay (I refuse to call him Jeremiah) Ratliff went bonkers he immediately got cut – that wouldn’t (and didn’t) have happened last year. We ditched Brandon Marshall I assume because of his locker room antics (who is having a nice year in New York) and ate a ton of money to get rid of Jared Allen for poor on field performance. It has been a continuing theme that no matter what you think or hear, the ownership is NOT afraid to spend money on this team. But you can’t just go out and buy superstars in the NFL. It takes time.

Will you give these Bears another year or two go get their act together? Was the effort we saw this year on every play enough to keep you around? It is enough for me. John Fox has gotten more out of this bunch of guys than anyone in the NFL could have. The effort is there. We just don’t have the talent. Like I said earlier – you can’t just import talent. You have to draft it and bring in the right guys from free agency that work well in your system. McPhee was a solid contributor and a great fit. We need more like this but it will take time.

I, for one, notice a huge difference in how the team is handling itself and the general attitude put forth from Halas Hall. We aren’t there yet, but it is early in the re-build. I will give them another year or two (tops). Here’s hoping I am right.

Shutting It Down

Per the great math nerds over at NFL Playoff Status, the Bears have an approximate 1% chance of making the playoffs this year. That puts a lot of interesting things into play.

Before I go there, let’s not make excuses. Fox has said and admitted that we are what we are. Even George and Ted have said that. So no injury or poor play excuses. We are what we are. And that is not a playoff team.

With that out of the way, there are a ton of roster moves that have been recently made, with many more to come. The reason is that there is no real chance that we will make the playoffs as stated above. Time to shut guys down, and give others a tryout in real game conditions (this is valuable).

Marquess Wilson and Antrelle Rolle have both been shut down and are on IR along with the Black Unicorn (who will probably not be seen again in a Bear uniform). Word on the street is that Pernell will join them on IR and that is also a good move. Ziggy Hood just got cut and there are a slew of practice team guys that will see the field over the next three weeks. Our seventh overall choice in the 2015 draft Kevin White has been shut down. For his performance this year, Kevin White received a $10,305,852 signing bonus (prorated on the cap over four years) plus $435,000 salary. Now that’s value!

The Bears have had a bunch of guys in for tryouts as well.

This is all good and a normal part of any rebuilding program. Nobody in their right mind expected this team to do much this year anyways. I would hope that our core players such as Long, Jeffrey, and McPhee (and maybe one or two others) will start seeing fewer plays.

Oh yes one other person is shut down. Dan from Madison is taking a week off with the family for some much needed rest so I won’t be watching the game on Sunday. I have the thread set up so you guys can chime in on what you see against the Queens. Have a Merry Christmas and I will see you after the holiday.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Back when they were talking about re-doing Soldier Field, we all knew that they should have placed it way out in the far western suburbs, preferably the northwest. I suggested the site of the old Poplar Creek Music Theater. Big site, easily able to create massive lanes of on/off access to I-90, and a mammoth amount of property within which to put a gigantic tailgating lot. Like this one.
ARROWHEAD

Isn’t that nice?

Have you ever been to Miller Park? Great access, huge tailgating lot, tons of bathrooms, huge concourses. I am not saying that the exit out of a baseball game is instantaneous from Miller Park and have never been to the Arrowhead Stadium complex above. But either are light years ahead of what we have now at Soldier Field. Shame on Chicago. I bet people from other cities laugh at our “game day experience”.

For whatever reason, be it graft, or whatever, the ugly new Soldier Field was kept in the same place it was since the original construction over three quarters of a century ago.

The reason I am talking about this is because starting next football season, things around Soldier Field are going to get…interesting…due to the construction of the Star Wars Museum on the South Lot.

I got a letter from Ted Phillips the other day and here it is.

Dear xxx,

Since the design and location of The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art were unveiled, we have worked with the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District to ensure your voice was heard and your game day experience was enhanced. As you may have recently heard, we have reached an agreement with the City and Park District to bring added benefits to game days. As of today, here is what we can share:

– There will be no changes during the 2015 season.
– Upon the project’s completion, we will have more parking (estimated 1300
additional) and more tailgating (estimated 200 additional) spaces than currently
exist on the museum campus. The experience will be different, as the south lot will no longer exist, but we have ensured the great tradition of tailgating will continue on the lakefront.
– A new parking garage will be built on the west side of Lake Shore Drive at 18th Street with tailgating spots on the top level.
– The construction timeline is estimated at three years with a projected start in spring of 2016.
– During construction, we have established parking on Northerly Island and additional satellite parking sites to replace the south lot spaces. They will include
Grant Park, south of McCormick Place at 31st Street and the Michael Reese site. These lots will include free shuttles for fans who utilize them on game days. We anticipate the 2016 season will be the first impacted by the project. Details regarding how parking coupons will be allocated to these lots are still being determined.
– We are working with the City and Park District on traffic studies to identify the best ways to bring people on and off the museum campus both during construction and after completion of the project.
– We have new marketing revenue opportunities which will be directly invested into future improvements at Soldier Field to further enhance your game day experience.

While we have secured important fan amenities, there is still work to be done. We have stressed to the City and Park District from the beginning, Bears Season Ticket Holders remain our priority. We understand there are many more questions that will arise throughout this process. As we learn more details as it relates to your experience, we will continue to communicate with you. Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips will be joining Jeff Joniak tonight from 6:30-7:30 PM on WBBM 780 for the Chicago Bears Coaches Show to discuss the Lucas Museum project among other topics on Bears football.

Our Ticket Sales & Service staff is also available for questions at (847) 615-BEAR. We appreciate your patience during this project. Our goal remains to deliver the best fan experience to you.

Thank you and Go Bears!

Chicago Bears Ticket Sales & Service

Oh boy wouldn’t that be great to be tailgating SOUTH of McCormick place and take a shuttle to the game? You might as well tailgate in Kankakee. And Northerly Island? You will have to leave at the end of the third quarter to have any realistic shot of leaving by 6pm on a noon start. Those are just for starters.

Carl and I agree that this will be a complete and total disaster, and that likely the only thing to get done from this list is that they destroy the South Lot.

Dear Valued Season Ticket Holder

I got a letter from Ted Phillips the other day. It is longer than most of the missives I have received from him over the years, but I guess he had some ‘splainin to do, as Ricky Ricardo used to say. Here it is:
ted letter
I think I will fisk this, just a bit.

“The 2014 season started with high hopes and ended in total disappointment. We decided a new direction was necessary, and we have acted quickly and decisively.”

I will give the Bears credit, they cleaned house after the wheels fell off the cart last year. I think a lot of Bear fans will respect this.

“A charismatic leader, Coach Fox has already formed a solid relationship with Ryan Pace, as they have begun hiring a coaching staff, evaluating our roster and taking decisive action to bring the Bears back to prominence.”

Interesting that he describes Fox as “charismatic”. This is part of what we have been discussing here at good ‘ol frt – Chicago wants more of an asshole on the sidelines. Also, Ted uses that word “decisive” again. He used it when describing cleaning out the offices at Halas Hall – this could be an embedded way of saying that the roster will see a LOT of turnover, very soon.

“We will continue to deliver value to make your gameday experience at Soldier field second to none.”

There is literally no way possible that they could do this. But it sounds nice.

“Your 2015 season ticket prices will not increase.”

Nice of them. I think they might have had a pretty major revolt if they jacked prices after this season.

The rest is boilerplate that I have heard before, but those were some things that stuck out.