Low Expectations and Fan Apathy Could Figure into Bears 2024 Decisions

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune has 10 thoughts after the Bears blew a big lead in the last 4 minutes at Detroit on Sunday:

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make a case for why [Matt Eberflus] should remain in his position in 2024. The Bears are again two games away from their first two-game winning streak under Eberflus. They have yet to defeat an opponent with a winning record. They are winless against NFC North teams since the beginning of the 2022 season.”

“‘This is an ugly loss right here,’ defensive end DeMarcus Walker said. ‘I feel like this is the worst one. I don’t know, man. I’ve seen a lot of football, but, damn, you know. I don’t know, man. Honestly, I couldn’t answer your questions. I’ve got to watch the film. Because I really want to see, like, what the (expletive) happened.’

“That’s what makes it disingenuous to sort through a game like this and pull out the positives — and there were plenty — while glossing over the ‘what the (expletive) happened.'”

Some of you who follow this blog may remember that I ended my post on Sunday with a relatively positive assessment of the Bears.

“Between a couple of games pre-injury and this game, [Justin] Fields has looked much better to me. The day that he complained about how his head was spinning with all of the things that he was supposed to be looking at was a turning point. I’m guessing that the Bears simplified the offense and tailored it more to his strengths at that point. The defense was notably more opportunistic than usual today and the defensive line looks better. The team over all has come a a long way since that first miserable game against the Packers.”

I wasn’t trying to be “disingenuous” when I wrote that. It was what I genuinely thought and, as Biggs, himself, admits, what I said is basically true. But reading Biggs’ comment, I decided to take a close look at my own feelings about this game and why those were my final thoughts of the night when the Bears failed to finish again instead of something more negative.

The first thing is that, like Biggs, I’m starting to think about Eberflus’s future. In doing so, I’m trying to be balanced. I definitely think that Eberflus’s team should be winning more games. No doubt about it. But, probably like most fans, I’m tired of just starting over and over again on the coaching merry-go-round.

Like the majority of the Bears hires over the last 30 years, Eberflus is a first time head coach. When you hire a guy like that you have to realize that he’s going to have to grow into the position. Basically, he’s getting on the job training. Under those circumstances, you have to ask yourself if you are pulling the plug too early on a guy who could potentially be a good head coach if you give him more time.

Why do I think that maybe he could potentially be a good head coach in the future? When I think about it, I think about the improvements that I see. And I’m trying to balance that against all of the negatives and failures. It’s not a slam dunk decision.

But that doesn’t completely explain why I wasn’t raging at the end after yet another tough loss. The complete answer is that, well, I think I’ve done the one thing that you don’t want your your young football team to do. I’ve gotten used to losing.

My expectations for this team are so low right now that I can’t really find it in myself to get angry any more. Its been five years of this stuff since 2018 and it wears you down.

I watch the Bears on Sunday and I’m completely numb. And I think that most fans are, too.

That’s really bad new for the Bears. Good or bad, angry or sad, the last thing that you want your fans to be is apathetic. The Bears have to do something to inject more excitement into the fan base. It probably hasn’t affected the profits much. Yet. But I’ll bet things like jersey sales are already way down. Eventually it will affect the bottom line and, you wonder if, in the end, that will figure into the Eberflus decision the most.

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