Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune reminds us that firing Lovie Smith isn’t enough:
“Getting rid of Lovie Smith does not make the Bears a better team.
“Only replacing him with a better coach would.”
“It’s possible Mike McCoy or Keith Armstrong or Mike Sullivan or one of the other assistants who will interview with Emery will come to the Bears and end up with a better record than Smith. Maybe one of those coaches finally can get the offense right.
“But teams once had those kinds of hopes for Tony Sparano, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, Bobby Petrino, Josh McDaniels, Steve Spagnuolo and dozens of others.
“Coaches like Smith are not easy to find. Someday, if not today, a lot of people around here are going to realize that.”
There’s a lot of truth in this. I’ve told this story before but it bears repeating here. I went to the University of Missouri and early in the eighties they had a coach named Warren Powers. Powers’ teams usually hung around 0.500 and pulled off the occasional upset over an Oklahoma here and there but Missouri alumni and students thought they should do better. We moaned and complained and at the end of the 1984 season we sang songs from the stands bidding the man “goodbye and good riddance”. The University fired him and it literally plunged the football program into two decades of misery.
The lesson? No matter how bad off you think things are there’s always the potential to alter things and make them worse. But isn’t that always the case with change?
The situation at Missouri was a little different than the Bears situation now. Or at least so we hope. The administration at Missouri was totally inept and tried to hire the next football coach with a committee in the same way you’d go about hiring a new professor in the Biology department. Doing that was something like hiring a search firm to find a general manager for a professional football team…
But the Bears are likely beyond that. General manager Phil Emery shows every sign of having a plan for this team and if he executes it correctly, they’ll be better for it.
In any case, one thing is definitely true. You can’t get better unless you are willing to take a chance on change and if it doesn’t work, I’d rather live with the consequences of the failure than have to sit and wonder what might have been.