CHICAGO – It was only a week ago that I wrote, based on our reporting, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is unlikely to be a candidate to be the team’s next head coach, so there was no point in firing John Fox until after the season.
That all changed Sunday in the Bears’ 15-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field, where the home team was embarrassed by a team it should have beaten.
The thing I hate the most about my job is talking and writing about other people who should lose their jobs.
None of us should ever want to see that happen to anyone – with the possible exception of politicians.
But here’s the thing: Fox, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains or someone on the Bears needs to be fired.
I’m a Bears season ticket holder. My four seats have been in my family for longer than I’ve been alive.
But they cost me more than $5,000 a year for eight football games (actually, it’s 10, but I’d never buy the two practice games if they didn’t force me to). It’s not something I can afford, but if I don’t do it every year, I lose them, and I can’t do that to my kids and grandkids.
It’s part of my heritage, like so many of you, a piece of who we are.
I don’t expect a Super Bowl every year, or the playoffs, and I don’t even demand a winning record.
But it seems more than fair to expect a professional effort – a well-prepared team that will never fail because of mental mistakes, lapses in judgment or a lack of effort.
I would never accuse these players of a lack of effort without paying the price in the trenches with them. They’re a good group of young men, and I don’t believe they would do that.
But they were as poorly prepared and had as many lapses in judgment and mental mistakes against the 49ers as I’ve seen on a football field this season.
The people who actually pay for the Bears – all of us – are being cheated.
It is Fox’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen. That is why he is being paid millions of dollars a year, and yet it happened Sunday for the third time in four weeks.
Against a far superior team like the Eagles, it was understandable; against the 49ers, it is not.
Here is what Fox had to say about it after the game.
“It was hard to even talk to the team after this loss,” he said. “I think we had a great week of preparation. I think the guys’ mindsets are good, and they are working at it.
“Obviously, this was a very disappointing loss. In a nutshell, if you don’t give up an offensive touchdown, you’re going to win your share of games in this
league. That wasn’t the case today.”
There is absolutely no way that embarrassment was the product of a great week of preparation, and just because Fox keeps saying it doesn’t make it true.
Secondly, your players’ mindsets may be good, but they clearly either aren’t working at it hard enough, aren’t being coached properly, or both, because they got pushed all over Soldier Field by a team that cared more than they did.
That is why there were more than 10,000 no-shows reported at the last home game and more than 8,500 this week in spite of the fact it was almost 60 degrees and sunny on the first Sunday in December.
The greatest fans in the world have had enough.
There are some good, young players on this Bears team, and if management does nothing about what happened Sunday, it is telling them it’s fine to lose, and to lose ugly.
I don’t want to see anyone fired. I want the Bears to, at the very minimum, be competent and competitive.
So answer me this: If any of us stunk at what we do the way the Bears did today, how long would we keep our jobs?
You can’t fire the whole team, so who is left to change but the coaches in charge?
• Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.