With Ted Phillips in tow, George McCaskey met the media last week over Zoom to explain away another mediocre performance by his franchise.
Since the end of the 2010 season, the Bears have had nothing but disappointment and explanatory final press conferences except for 2018. The end to that one sent fans to the Goose Island Brewery in the snow to prove they could kick a 43-yard field goal. So fans weren't happy then, either.
McCaskey actually had to take more questions and explain more this time than he did after they fired Lovie Smith in 2012, fired both the coach and GM in 2014 and fired John Fox in 2017.
It has all become so repetitive and boring.
The fact McCaskey doesn't dodge this responsibility as so many other owners would speaks to how much he cares. This is someone who walks through the parking lots at Soldier Field on game day during years when we aren't all wearing masks, and engages fans at games to hear what they're thinking.
So obviously he cares.
While McCaskey's heart is in the right place, one thing remains clear after all of this, and has for years: The McCaskeys don't know what they're doing.
They are like a store owner who keeps putting poor brands on the shelves. The fans know what they want, don't want this product but the shelves continue to be stocked with it. They get away with it because they own a monopoly. They are the only place to shop in town. They're not doing this vindictively. They just don't know what would be good to put up there and there is nothing forcing them to get it right.
The McCaskeys are not like many NFL owners, who made fortunes elsewhere and then invested in NFL teams. Jerry Jones is one prime example. So they don't know the game well enough to hire people who bring in the good product, the good players.
They have to hire advisors to find those people for them, and those advisors have only produced marginal results. After all, who hires the advisors? The McCaskeys or Phillips.
Phillips makes key hires or he "collaborates" with them in making these hires. He does other things the familiy likes and George McCaskey listed some of those things during the last press conference. That was all well and good but those things had nothing to do with improving the actual product on the field.
When Phillips and the McCaskeys make their football hiring decisions and they don't work out, they simply move on to the next unsuccessful hire because there is nothing else they can do beyond selling the team and getting out of the business.
What a delightful thought, but fantasy isn't pertinent to this discussion.
The closest Phillips and the McCaskeys ever came to hiring the right guy was Jerry Angelo. They needed an advisor to tell them to hire him, and then Angelo helped hire Smith after he didn't want to give away his own job responsibilities by hiring Nick Saban.
Angelo's successes in finding talent eventually stopped after the game tilted enough toward offense to make Smith's defensive emphasis out of date. Angelo never did have an eye for offensive talent, so together they failed. The McCaskeys eventually got rid of them to bring in Phil Emery, a complete and total failure as a GM. Emery's coaching hire was a travesty whose name doesn't even deserve to be mentioned here.
Now they have had a GM in Ryan Pace for six years who once again has been unable to identify a quarterback, and is going to have to rely on "collaboration" with the coach he hired in order to do it.
Good luck with that.
The McCaskeys have an unsuccessful operation in a market where they have a monopoly. So even though they go through the motions of talking to fans via a postseason press conference and social media, they're under no real pressure to produce winners.
If someone in your backyard is pushing you, eventually you'll get it done. Look at the Cubs after the embarrassment of seeing the White Sox win a World Series first. They went out and finally hired the right guy who eventually ended more than a century of incompetence.
Someone needs to put together a wealthy group to pressure the NFL into placing a second Chicago team at a stadium where Arlington International Racecourse is, and maybe they'll even let the Bears play there on off-weekends. It would help because Soldier Field, the stadium Phillips got built for the McCaskeys, is a hideous and tiny place for a major, original franchise to play.
Of course, the McCaskeys would block any attempt at this by the league to supply competition.
With this as an unlikely course, there is one other alternative for fans.
They need to keep Soldier Field empty after the pandemic is over. They need to continue staying away but make it voluntary this time. They need to get across their message.
Someone who knows football well enough needs to be put in charge of the entire mess. The McCaskeys and Phillips then need to step back and not participate beyond collecting a check and putting in a vote at a board meeting on occasion.
When the team is eliminated each year and the stadium is half empty over the final two regular-season games, there is always real panic among the powers that be at Halas Hall.
Imagine what an entire season like this would do to spark a real change.