Another Long December for the Chicago Bears

By Jimmy Johnson
Lovie Smith Chicago Bears

There hasn’t been too much football spirit the past two Decembers for the Chicago Bears.

Once the calendar turns from November to the month of the holiday season, Chicago has offered its fans nothing but stocking stuffed with coal: The Bears have gone winless the two-straight seasons in December.

For hyping his philosophy of breaking the season down into four quarters, Lovie Smith’s Bears have faltered to finish out their last two seasons. It’s been a combination of missed opportunities, the failure to capitalize on must-win-games and injuries haven’t helped, either – but what NFL team isn’t dealing with bumps and bruises this late in the year?

Still in a position to win a NFC Wild Card, Chicago needs to defeat an Arizona Cardinal team that’s ranked last in almost every single offensive category and an NFC North rival in the Detroit Lions.

With a little help, Chicago could still find its way into the playoffs. But should wins against the Cardinals and Lions be enough to save Smith’s job?

Let’s say the Bears receive no help. The teams ahead of them – the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks – win outright, but the Bears manage to finish 10-6.

A 10-6 record sounds like a great finish, right? But should Smith be rewarded and remembered solely on how his team once again beat up on two mediocre teams and didn’t win crucial games against the Vikings and Seahawks during the regular season ?

Of course, it isn’t all his fault for the Bears’ struggles, but sooner or later someone needs to be held accountable and more times than not that person is the head coach. Last year, it was Jerry Angelo and Mike Martz who received boots from the organization, and it seem fitting and logical for it to be Smith since this is the natural course of the NFL culture: Coaches and general managers are held accountable more times than not in comparison to players.

His players adore him, as Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman have said he’s more of a father figure than a coach. The impact of having your head coach as a parental figure and stressing the dreaded words any child – or player in this case – doesn’t want to hear: I’m not mad at you; I’m disappointed in you.

But like Brandon Marshall said after Chicago’s 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, there needs to accountability.

Phil Emery Chicago Bears

If he hasn’t already begun to, Bears’ general manager Phil Emery needs to evaluate Smith not solely on what could be a potential trip to the playoffs as a reason to bring back Smith. Emery can’t dismiss the fact this Bears team hasn’t fared well against some of the NFL’s best and better teams as of late, and that’s been on Smith’s watch.

Emery could see Smith has his coach who can lead the Bears to a Super Bowl. It isn’t even worth mentioning or speculating about whom Emery has on his list of potential candidate, but he needs to identify if Smith is his guy and if wants to draft players that fit into Smith’s scheme, and if so, does Emery think the Bears win a Super Bowl with this coaching regime and those kind of players?

That’s what it all boils down to: Will Lovie Smith coach the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl victory? And it isn’t a matter if he can, but more so if he will.

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