This is the day football coaches dread for their entire lives. The Monday after Week 17 and the end of the season, Black Monday as they call it. Every coach signs their contract to be fired, it’s part of the deal. Every football coach past the high school level knows going into the job that they take that they’ll be fired eventually. Just battle scars that come with the opportunity.
That’s why, as normal people, we can be so nonchalant about the realities of dozens of men with families losing their main source of income with no guarantee of what the future will hold.
Ah but this is sports, and you spill the same blood in the same mud as countless other guys fighting for the same exact thing, and sometimes you just gotta take a few bullets.
On Monday, the Bears did a deep scrub of the Halas Hall University apartments that were just occupied by a sloppy, loud, keg-tossing fraternity for the last three years. They send head coach Marc Trestman, General Manager Phil Emery, and Trestman’s daughter’s Twitter account out of town. I’m sure if owner Virginia McCaskey wasn’t 91 years old she would have driven them all to the airport. The Emery/Trestman Experience of the last few years was a lot of things, but to the soul crushing detriment to Bears fans everywhere, successful wasn’t one of them.
Shea McClellin. Those two names back to back is enough to make any Bears fan fight off the urge to jump from the top the Wrigley Field scoreboard. McClellin was Emery’s first ever draft pick and just always seemed to be a dollar short and a day late, or something like that. I’m at the point where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to not be just flat-out mean to the guy. The definition of a bust, McClellin has continually frustrated Bears fans with every gap assignment missed, every time he ended up five yard behind the line of scrimmage, and for every time he flailed at opposing quarterbacks as the stepped up in the pocket to easily avoid him. He was the walking antithesis of “My Favorite Things”. When the news of McClellin getting cut comes across the ticker at the bottom of ESPN, Bears fans will all be Julie Andrews prancing and preening through a field of dandelions.
After McClellin, stacked on top of each other one by one, the names of draft day disappointments begins to mount higher than the expectations for the new Star Wars. Brandon Hardin, Evan Rodriguez, Jonathon Bostic, Khaseem Greene; just to name a few. Draft Disappointment Casserole anyone? I heard Chef Emery’s a great cook!
While Ted Thompson in Green Bay was playing chess, Phil Emery was playing Chutes and Ladders. Losing. To himself. Emery has to spend tons of money during March in attempts to cover up how overwhelmed he was in May. If the movie Draft Day was re-made centered on Phil Emery the last three years, Alfred Hitchcock would have to direct it with prime Edward Norton starring as the hapless Emery as he makes bad decision after bad decision (with an accidental Alshon Jeffrey thrown in there to give the viewers the illusion of hope). Title it Draft Day Blunders: The Phil Emery Debacle. All the self-loathing, emo hipster youngsters ages 16-28 will eat it up. Did I just use the term youngsters? Am I, at 25, already “Get Off My Lawn” guy?
Marc Trestman was a social experiment wrapped into a football coach. Everything that has happened in the last two years reminds me of things I learned in the one and only Psychology class I’ve taken.
Bears fans their entire lives have been mentally trained like Pavlov’s dogs to respond to low scoring offenses. Less than 20 points a game was a lifestyle, and we were almost proud to live it. Defense and special teams, that’s what Chicago was! We’re tough! Or ya know, something like that. Bear football was stuck in 1999, while everyone else had switched their clocks over after the millennium. Lovie Smith, who managed to lead his team to an offense in the top 15 of the league never, stuck around from 2004-2012. You could always count on one thing with a Lovie-led team though, they were always well coached. I never noticed how aware the players were at all times during those years until Marc Trestman showed up. The Bears defense/special teams was always just smarter than everyone else’s. But the offense was about as effective as a single paper towel during a toilet overflow. It was Lovie’s Achilles heel, and eventually led to him being fired.
In comes “offensive mastermind” and “quarterback whisperer” Marc Trestman. Finally! An offensive coach! Points! WOOOO!!!!!
And suddenly, the Bears were scoring points. Jay Cutler was throwing the ball and gigantic, athletic men were out there making actual plays on offense. The show Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall put on in Trestman’s first year, combining for 189 catches, 2716 yards, and 19 touchdowns, was unheard of in this city. It was like when the alien ships first started hovering over the cities in Independence Day. Nobody knew what to do. All of a sudden, the Bears were the second highest scoring team in the league, and they were converting on 3rd and long, and completing slant routes, and all this fun stuff we all watched other teams do for years started happening and we were part of it.
Ignore the defense being the worst in franchise, and possibly NFL history! Forget about the special teams units committing killer penalties at an incredibly uncomfortable rate! ALSHON JEFFREY JUST MADE ANOTHER FALLING OUT OF BOUNDS ONE HANDED BEHIND HIS BACK BLINDFOLDED WHILE FOUR DEFENDERS HUNG ONTO HIS TORSO FOR DEAR LIFE CATCH!!!!!!!!
This year? The Honeymoon ended, hard. The relationship between Trestman and Bear fans became a toxic waste-dump of jealousy and regret. As Brandon Marshall said himself, “everything fell apart”. Within four games of his second season at the helm, all of Trestman’s flaws as a coach became magnified, and everyone in Chicago started to secretly wonder if maybe there was a real reason it took so long for somebody to give him a head coaching job in the NFL.
There was the Cutler Debacle, the Marshall Debacle, I’m pretty sure there was even a Robbie Gould Debacle at some point. All meanwhile the defense somehow got worse than the worst defense ever. The lowest of the lows started in week 8 when the Bears went into Foxborough and got humiliated by Tom Brady 51-23. It’s ok, the bye week is next, we can take the extra week to lick our wounds and recover a bit. Get back to the basics and all that other nonsense coach-speak. What happened next was the worst I’ve ever felt about a team I care about. I have no words for it, so I’ll let this Youtube video I refuse to press play on say it all for me.
That was it, the trust was gone. There was no way the relationship could recover. Trestman was a dead-man walking the rest of the season. It was all just a matter of time
I have no idea what comes next. The McCaskeys have annually proved to me that they are as unpredictable as it gets in sports. Rex Ryan would be my solution, and I know it sounds cliche as all hell, but he would bring some much needed attitude to this team.
But for now, we sit in limbo, waiting for the next head football coach of the Chicago Bears. There’s a lot of hope in this town right now; the Bulls might legitimately win a championship this year, the Blackhawks continue to do their thing, JON MUTHA EFFIN LESTER, and even the White Sox have done everything they can to keep up.
So cheer up Bears fans, like my father always says, 1985 is the only season that’s ever officially counted. The rest have all been for show. Take us out of here boys!