LAKE FOREST, Ill. — No, the televisions at Halas Hall have not been disconnected and ripped from the walls.
It’s the day after the Bears’ struggling quarterback Mitchell Trubisky made an off-handed comment about trying to get the televisions turned off in the building because the Bears’ haters were too loud. While the TVs weren’t exactly turned off, there were no comments on the team to be heard or seen.
The big-screen TV in the cafeteria played local news, showing footage of Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson’s retirement press conference. Inside the locker room, four television screens showed the player’s Thursday schedule, and the special teams practice plan.
How did the TVs become such a thing? Trubisky, who was visibly frustrated and surly in his Wednesday press conference, was asked how his strategy of tuning out criticism is going this season, and he brought up the televisions. Here’s his full quote for context:
"Yeah, I’ve done pretty good with that. Trying to get some of these TVs in the building turned off because you've got too many people talking on TV about us and what they think about us—what we should do, what we are and what we're not. But they don't really know who we are, or what we're capable of as people, or what we're going through, or what we're thinking. It's just the outside viewers looking in. So tunnel vision, ear muffs and just come to work every day and try to get better and get back to what we know we're capable of doing."
Right now, the Bears sit at 3–5, last in the NFC North and in the middle of a four-game losing streak—and much of the reason for the disappointing season rests mainly on Trubisky’s shoulders. The QB ranks 28th in the leagu ein passing yards (1,217), 33rd in touchdown percentage (2.3%) and 22nd in completion percentage (63%). His passer rating this season (80) ranks 30th among qualified quarterbacks, ahead of Andy Dalton, Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. The Bears offense, which last year featured a toolbox of trick plays, has completely stalled, and the team hasn’t scored a first-half touchdown in the four-game skid.
Head coach Matt Nagy regularly preaches the importance of “ear muffs and blinders” so players will block out the outside noise and stay focused on themselves. It’s become all the more important during this stretch of abysmal Bears football. Last year, Trubisky stayed off his social media for the whole season, a tactic that ex-offensive lineman Kyle Long termed “Zero Dark 10.”
The quarterback’s quote on wanting to turn off the TVs seemed like an extension of the tactic he’s practiced during most of his three-year professional career—blocking out any and all criticism.
The MMQB spoke to five Bears players on the whereabouts of the TVs in the facility, whether they are set to loud or on mute, what channel they play, and if any have now been turned off—and none of the players could remember anything specific about the televisions.
“To be honest with you, I don't even pay attention,” receiver Javon Wims says. “I just look and see what the schedule is.”
“To be honest, I have no idea,” tight end JP Holtz says. “I don't pay attention to the TVs, I just come here to work and get my job done.”
“I don't pay attention,” echoes linebacker Aaron Lynch. “I would assume he would be talking about the TVs in here [the locker room]. I'm not sure though.”
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel said he thinks most of the televisions in the facility are more like digital signs, showing the schedule and important updates. “He was just being tongue in cheek,” he says. “I wouldn't take it too seriously.”
If Trubisky wasn’t being serious, he really needs to workshop his delivery before the next time he attempts a joke in his press conference.
If he was being serious, it appears he’s one of the few Bears players who actually notices the televisions inside the facility at all.
Either way, the quote was something you’d expect to see leaked from an anonymous source within the organization, not an admission from the franchise quarterback, whose franchise quarterback worthiness is currently being questioned and doubted from every angle. Trubisky’s comment created headlines and chatter worse than Sam Darnold’s comment about “seeing ghosts” earlier this season.
The Chicago Sun-Times ran the headline, “TV TIMEOUT” as the cover of the sports backpage. Local sports radio hosts devoted significant time to wondering if Trubisky is too coddled. On ESPN’s Get Up, the cast debated whether Trubisky was soft for wanting the televisions shut off. “"If you can't handle some criticism, then you don't need to be the quarterback,” Damien Woody said.
The irony is obvious. Trubisky’s TV comment set off a whole new cycle of criticism and endless fodder for the very commentators he tries so hard to avoid. Good thing he’s not going to see any of it.
Question or comment? Email us at email@example.com.