Some people are fans of the Chicago Bears. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Chicago Bears. This 2022 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: He still owns you.
Your 2021 record: 6-11, which was enough for the Bears, at long last, to divest themselves of head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. All they had to do was refuse to start the rookie QB they traded a mint for, get publicly embarrassed by Aaron Rodgers, dutifully help Rodgers’s Packers get back on track after a shaky start to their season, doink-not-doink a potential game-winning field goal at the gun against the Steelers, allow Tyler Huntley to drive the field and beat them with 22 seconds left, lose at home to the Vikings in a game that even Steve Levy couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for, watch Nagy fire himself as play-caller but refuse to admit it, watch Nagy also commit an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that led to an opposing field goal, buy up some land in the Chicago equivalent of Santa Clara, watch their fans fight for the title of @ScottBears with more ferocity than they ever put into rooting for this team, let their QBs get sacked 58 million times, and lose nine of their final 12 games. That’s all. Quite painless.
It is an everlasting curiosity to me that coaches are fired so frequently in the NFL, and yet are always fired so late. The 2021 Bears didn’t have to happen. They could have fired Nagy three years and 58 kickers ago. They could have fired Pace then, too. They didn’t. Instead, they let Pace and Nagy draft a quarterback KNOWING that they were gonna fire both men soon thereafter. Then they let that QB twist, wasted a full season, and then fired their braintrust. I’ve seen McDonald’s franchises run more efficiently. Why do teams do this? Don’t they know how precious these games are? Fans get 17 piddly shit games a year. It’s bad enough to throw away ONE of those fucking games. Ask the 2020 Eagles. But to blithely discard all of those games, just because? You deserve to BURN.
I’m gonna miss Nagy, and not merely because I cheer for a rival team that occasionally benefited from his idiocy. I’m gonna miss him. I’ll miss him displaying all of Mike Ditka’s bipolarity with none of the success to go with it. I’ll miss him opening every postgame presser by whipping himself with a cat o’ nine tails. I’ll miss his son getting booed at local high school games. I’ll miss waiting for a report from Patch.com about him getting fired to pay off like a good “wait for it” viral video. It’s much more fun when a coach is demonstrably bad instead of quietly so. Which brings us to the new guy …
Your coach: Eric Bie… NOPE.
That’s former Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, whose last name sounds like a prescription nasal decongestant. After firing Pace, the Bears outbid Minnesota to bring in new GM Ryan Poles from Kansas City, and Poles immediately vowed to “take the North and never give it back.”
Poles shrewdly never said WHEN his Bears would take the North, leaving himself an open window to put off that conquest until … oh, let’s say 2030. No reason I picked that timeframe. Given Poles’s pedigree, Bears fans were excused for anticipating that he would bring some offensive coaching talent—namely Eric Bieniemy—with him from the Chiefs and then use those people to build an offensive juggernaut around second-year quarterback Justin Fields. Instead, Poles quashed that potentially exciting development right away by hiring the defensive architect behind a 26-11 Week 18 loss to the Jaguars that cost Indianapolis a playoff spot. Matt Eberflus has already been cited for abusing contact restrictions in team OTAs. FUCK YEAH, BABY! NOW THAT’S BEARS FOOTBAW! Finally, you have a coach who’s dedicated to playing defense and running the ball, the way only the most successful NFL teams in 2022 do. Abuse of the term “hard-nosed” is also in the offing.
Your new offensive coordinator is Luke Getsy. The Bears have never had a good offensive coordinator in my lifetime. Look at this list and tell me you feel anything but abject despair. This team’s QUARTERBACK history is less depressing by comparison. Will Getsy, who has never called plays in his life, break this pattern? Listen man, I don’t even have to make an educated guess here to be right. I have more of a chance to be wrong guessing that next month will be September.
Your quarterback: Justin Fields, who’s fucking terrible. You can blame the Bears’ historic incompetence for this if you’d like. Or you can be like me and admit that Fields is just a faster, more-alive version of Dwayne Haskins. Nagy baffled the world and enraged local fans by starting Andy Dalton at the beginning of 2021, presumably to give Fields a bit of extra time to prepare for the job of NFL quarterback. Turns out Nagy did us all a favor, because Fields will never be ready for this job. He’s much better off sitting on the bench, where fans can jerk off to his potential upside, instead of taking the field and instantly dashing all of those hopes by running around behind the line of scrimmage like a frisky Labrador before throwing the ball out of bounds.
Every fun play Fields made last season was a crust of bread thrown to a starving crowd down below. If you’re a Bears fan—and remember: many, many more people are not—you watched Fields occasionally scamper for 15 yards on busted play and you said to yourself, Hey there now ya know he could make dat play every game! No, he can’t. The mobile quarterbacking revolution will continue without Justin Fields. He’s not good enough, and neither is his team. Want proof?
What’s new that sucks: You are tanking. Quite openly, in fact. The 2022 Bears are an exercise in subtraction by subtraction. Gone is rapidly aging edge rusher Khalil Mack, traded to the Chargers for a handful of picks that will instantly prove forgettable (like second round safety Jaquan Brisker). They lost their only good O-lineman in James Daniels. They lost Akiem Hicks, who single-handedly made this defense good whenever he was healthy. They watched Eddie Goldman skip town and then retire. They let Tarik Cohen, perhaps the only bright spot of the Nagy regime, limp out the door.
Oh, and wideout Allen Robinson fled to LA and now sleeps like a baby every night. How is it that I can pick any offensive position on the field and point to the Bears having a storied history of failing with that position? Do you know who they added to their receiving corps this offseason? Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown: two wideouts who were underwhelming despite having Hall of Famers throwing them the ball. And then they traded for N’Keal Harry, which is like trading for syphilis. What do you even trade to GET N’Keal Harry? A fucking ColecoVision has more value than this slob. Harry is hurt already, and an injured N’Keal Harry can only be an improvement over the healthy incarnation of N’Keal Harry.
The good news is that, unlike the way they did in 2021, the Bears are tanking by design. You don’t sign Nathan Peterman to be on your roster if you’re serious about winning football games. Poles and Eberflus clearly have little interest in building around Justin Fields, or at least they have a very odd way of showing it. Instead, they’re gonna feed him into the wood chipper with one of the sorriest offenses in football, throw their hands up when he eats shit out there, and then get to the business of rebuilding the team from scratch. Just in time for them to move.
They keep trying to trade Robert Quinn and failing. Roquan Smith wants to leave because the Bears refuse to pay him more than five cents a game. I wonder why they’re so parsimonious …
What has always sucked: Your ownership.
That’s human skin tag George McCaskey, seen here auditioning for the role of Alfred in a dinner theater production of The Dark Knight. George was last seen using the death of ESPN reporter Jeff Dickerson to chastise Bears fans, whose offense was telling Matt Nagy’s son that his dad should be fired, which McCaskey then did. And this man is one of the YOUNGER members of the Bears board of directors, the majority of whom are also members of the McCaskey family. Everyone on this board is so fucking old that they just recorded a video will challenging Richard Pryor to spend $30 million in 30 days.
George—may I call you George, shithead?—used his end of season presser to claim, as team president, that he’s “just a fan” of the team while asserting his right to personally oversee the hiring of Poles. So now you understand why the hiring of Poles and Eberflus means nothing at all. They’re a fresh coat of polish on a badly aged turd.
And frankly, I’ll be happy when the Bears leave. It’s for the benefit of everyone involved. I won’t have to hear ancient Bears fans bring up 1985 ever again. I won’t have to see offseason Cubs fans polluting the Soldier Field stands wearing Darnell Mooney jerseys even though they don’t know who that is. I won’t have to watch Mike Wilbon pretend like Bears-Packers is a viable rivalry of any sort. And, best of all, I’ll watch the Nu Bears lose nine games a year in an empty fucking parking lot. The best of all worlds. Oh what’s that, you say? Lori Lightfoot has a plan for them to stay? Well let’s have a look at that plan.
That plan was designed by John Shoop. This team is dogshit. They’ll never have a great tight end. Their O-line is a string of finish line tape. They have no idea how to intercept a pass. And their uniforms are still butt ugly.
Ratto says: Ed McCaskey didn’t like Matt Nagy’s kid being booed at a high school football game the previous year so he scolded the heartless little bastards and then two months later fired Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. He thus embossed his reputation as a man with a heart of gold and a head of zinc.
What might not suck: David Montgomery is still very good and will still somehow get nowhere near enough carries.
HEAR IT FROM BEARS FANS!
Just this morning ESPN published an article whose headline promised a ranking of every NFL team based on its projected success over the next three years. And I fucking clicked.
I would prefer that Aaron Rodgers was the actual owner.
At this point, it would probably be easier to list the few positives. Fuck.
I recently heard that the Chris Conte game against the Packers led to a Bears fan dying of a heart attack.
Three of the guys we’ve signed or traded for this off-season have been arrested. The others all suck.
Even the Bills and Bengals have quarterbacks now.
Went to the fourth coldest Bears game ever. My friend accidentally slipped on some snow and fell five rows down on top of an innocent bystander. We lost in OT on a FG.
The best QB in franchise history is Jay Cutler.
They still can’t figure out how to get people into the stadium without a 30-minute line.
I grew up in nowheresville, England. As a child, I decided to follow the Bears because they looked mean and they played in fog.
And now I live at the bottom of New Zealand. There is one other Bears fan on my whole island. My family view my fandom as a long-term condition.
They’re the Lions without the laughter.
The only thing giving me hope heading into this season is knowing that Matt Nagy is still paying more than $30,000 a month for his mansion that hasn’t sold even after dropping the asking price $1.5 million.
I put more effort into this comment than the Bears put into building around Justin Fields this offseason.
The defining characteristic of a McCaskey is just dripping contempt for anyone they employ. It’s like they know working for them is a degradation and they revel in emphasizing it.
I’ve lived in Chicago for 20 years and I can safely say that in those two decades the sports fans here have gotten markedly stupider.
In my lifetime, I’ve willingly bought jerseys for Rex Grossman, Mushin Muhammad, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Mitchell Trubisky. The only one of those jerseys I still have? That’s right: Smokin’ Jay.
The only day I feel any source of elation is when the Packers eventually shit the bed in the playoffs. Sure, Aaron Rodgers, you may “own” us, but that’s like saying you own your 90-year-old grandma on the basketball court. Not anything to be proud of.
I’m living in the northern suburbs and there are more Packers fans here than Bears fans. And if I had been born in the 90s or later I’d probably be one as well.
Basically zero Chicago schools have librarians. So that’s Bears $2.2 billion, Chicago students $0.
There are still Trubisky Truthers.
This offseason there have been more Bears players arrested than January 6 insurrectionists arrested.
Summer of 1994 I was a server at an Olive Garden in the Chicago ‘burbs (summer job in college) and Walter Payton came in to pick up a takeout order. I sheepishly asked him to autograph one of my server tickets. He smiled and graciously complied, but then hid behind a fake plant until his order was brought out.
The highlight of my bears fandom was Devin Hester’s return in the Super Bowl. Then Rex Grossman’s fucking baby hands took over and destroyed my belief in God.
I look forward to the game all week only to watch them do something dumb like get a delay of game penalty after a TV timeout. Not sure why I do this to myself.
My cousin’s claim to fame is calling into the Bear Postgame show, inebriated, while on his first tour of duty in South Korea. Our grandma was listening live and it made her whole year to hear him slur through some argument about how Lovie needs to abandon the Tampa 2.
The only thing worth looking forward to with this team is how their new stadium is going to piss off the members of my family that live in Arlington Heights.
Just this morning, my kids were telling me how excited they are to go to Bears training camp next week. My eldest (12) follows Justin Fields on Instagram and said that she can tell he’s going to “break out” this year. I’m surprised no one has called DCFS on me yet.
Virginia McCaskey is eleven years older than Chuck Grassley and more conservative with her money.
“The most valuable thing you can have is a good young quarterback on a rookie deal.” -literally everyone.
So naturally, the Bears spent the entire offseason cutting costs and building an absolute dogshit offense around Justin Fields.
Our biggest strength is that our running backs are ok. This team has been decent twice since Obama was elected and both seasons ended with a vibe akin to 11/8/2016. We traded our best player to LA and I didn’t care about the return. I was happy for him.
As a Bears fan who grew up in Cincinnati, I’ve always been able to defend myself with Bengals fans by pointing out that at least we’re less of a shitshow. This was the year where it finally sunk in that this is obviously not true anymore and honestly has not been for a while (Andy Dalton made the playoffs more than twice as many times in my adult life as the Bears have!!). Now I spend my time getting dunked on in my group chat by people who until a year ago spent most of their time bitching about how Mike Brown wouldn’t shell out the money to get Skyline instead of Gold Star Chili in the stadium. I give up.
Five years from now, this team will playing in the suburbs in a stadium that I’m certain will end up looking worse than the current amalgamation of a second-tier college stadium and a Boston album cover.
No matter who is making picks they cannot stop drafting WRs that will never see the field. The coach constantly forgets he has a top 10 rushing attack for weeks on end. Virginia McCaskey turns 100 next year, one strong breeze off the lakefront could kill her so better move the team to the suburbs. It’s July and I’m already pissed.
The Bears refuse to install field turf because the city won’t pay for it.
I’d rather choke to death on a hot dog with ketchup on it than watch this dumpster fire of a franchise play football, and yet I’ll do it. Eyes bleeding and all.
Send ALL the McCaskeys to the same glue factory they send the ponies from Arlington Raceway to.
The Bears have the dumbest fans in football. Jets fans get more publicity, but I can assure you that the IQ for the average Bears fan is a sloppy old italian beef sandwich sloshing around in their skull. Every national writer that has the audacity of correctly saying the Bears will be a bad football this year is called a “hater” and “only doing it for attention.” We are a slovenly bunch of heart attacks waiting to happen who still refer to Target as “Tarzhay” and will defend to the death the quality of clothing sold at Menards.
I miss Kyle Orton.
I don’t have any special connection to the team or personal stories from my childhood. I just can’t wait for them to get the fuck out of my city.
Growing up going to games in the 90’s, when you could still bring basically whatever you wanted into the stadium, we used to bring a backpack full of sandwiches into every game. Our family rule was that we didn’t eat until either the Bears scored points (not just a touchdown, any points) or the first quarter ended, which meant that we almost never ate before the second quarter.
We’re all afraid to admit we think Fields won’t work, the new coach and GM will end up more despised than Trestman, Nagy, and Fox combined, and the team will become worse than the Detroit Lions because some bald fuck in a visor hat gambled away the future of the team on a prayer and a hope.
My oldest kid is 12. The playoff double-doink hit him hard. But at least he has developed a dry sense of humor about it. Now any time we have a random NFL game on and the kicker misses, my son deadpans, “I didn’t know that team signed Cody Parkey.” Every single time. His grandkids will look at him 60 years and have no clue what the old man is talking about.
If the Bears just commit to fucking off to the suburbs, I’ll have fewer tourists in my neighborhood, the city won’t spend what sliver of money we have remaining after throwing it all at cops to build a dome for Virginia and George, and the Fire will have Soldier Field to themselves. I love the Bears, but that sounds like a good trade to me.
For a country with a long history of treating veterans like shit, Soldier Field—horribly redesigned, hard to get to, and a place we pretend to like—is the perfect building to dedicate to them.
Because they replaced Matt (Nagy) and Ryan (Pace) with Matt (Eberflus) and Ryan (Poles) and because 500 people are going to email you the same thing.
It’s January 27th and the Bears hired Matt Eberflus today. They fired a GM named Ryan and a coach named Matt to then hire a GM named Ryan and a coach named Matt. This literally means nothing, but is that gonna keep from flying off the chain in November and screaming something about how cheap they are and how they only had to change the bottom half of the name plates on the offices at Halas Hall? It will not.
During the 2007 Super Bowl, I was in college in the middle of Colts country. The Bears were playing the Colts, and I was convinced they were about to destroy Peyton Manning and bring glory back to this historic franchise. Devin Hester had just returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, the last time I was truly happy as a Bears fan.
Then everything went to shit. I got drunk, and when the Colts took the lead in the 2nd quarter, my buddy’s girlfriend shouted “not da Bears, da Colts!” I flipped her off. This team turns people into stupid assholes. I immediately apologized and I felt so bad; I couldn’t even enjoy Prince’s halftime show. Since then, my enthusiasm for them has progressively diminished, yet I still watch. I now watch with a resigned contempt, now laughing at those who still care about the team. The Bears, still turning me into a stupid asshole. Fuck this team.
I’d say “I’ll never go to another Bears game if they leave the city,” but how often did I go when they WERE in the city? Three times. And I didn’t pay for a single one of them.
I’m dating a woman who lives a 15-minute walk from where they’re building the stadium in Arlington Heights. I am irrationally excited about this prospect for a 7-10 team, at best, on average over the next 5 years.
You would think Marion Barber’s death would’ve had me over him giving Tebow a victory by running out of bounds. It hasn’t.
I bought my dad a Brad Maynard jersey because it’s the only guy who he’s liked on this team in the past 20 years.
When they had their first picks in the draft, I was bowling with friends for a birthday party. At some point, a woman I had never met before came to the party with balloons for my buddy having the birthday. It would be revealed the next morning that my buddy was having a year long affair with the balloon-bringing woman behind everyone’s back, which would eventually cost him his marriage and fracture our friend group irreparably. Still, the worst thing that happened that night was the Bears drafted Velus Jones.
Bears fans hate when we win because the other team had the audacity to score. Bears fans hate when we sign a good player because they cost too much. Bears fans hate cutting a player to free up cap space. Bears fans hate going to the playoffs if we didn’t win the Super Bowl. Bears fans hate anyone on the team that does anything. I’ve witnesses fans complain that we kicked a field goal to secure a win because, “Dis ain’t Bears football! Dese guys need to be scoring touchdowns! Put me in dere, I’ll run it in, no problem!” I’ve witnessed some version of this many, many times.
My dad still complains about losing to the Dolphins in ’85. The team went 18-1, and he’ll always bring up the loss to the Dolphins. Not because of missing the perfect season, but because it was on Monday Night.
Bears fans hate being fans.
My Bears fandom is by far the most embarrassing aspect of my entire life and it will probably be that way until I’m fucking dead. Thanks, McCaskeys. Maybe y’all can come to my wake and piss on my face, too.
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