Bears

Bernstein: Phil Emery? Um, Ok.

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Soldier Field. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Soldier Field. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Dan-Bernstein Dan Bernstein
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since...
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By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist

(CBS) After interviews with Larry and Curly, the choice is Meh.

The Bears decided on their new general manager after sifting through a list of names that caused no excitement whatsoever, arriving at the perfect culmination of their tedious, uninspiring process. The former Bears scout returns to replace the man for whom he once worked, and any culture change at Halas Hall consists of ordering new letterhead.

Perhaps he’ll make all the right picks, refill the pipeline of talent and chart a visionary course to set the Bears up for a grand future of championship glory. Or not. I have no idea, and neither do you. Nor does anybody else, including the people who interviewed him.

There was not a possibility in play that makes me feel they missed out on somebody special, so we’ll just have to see if a notoriously incompetent front-office got one right. Remember, this is an administration that once held a press conference to announce their simultaneous desires for both massive change and valued continuity, so we have to trust that Emery is perfect for that. He’ll shake up the status quo by preserving it. Or something.

I can’t see how anyone could possibly have a strong reaction to this news. The indifference is intense.

This hire is a nice, healthy bowl of shredded wheat. Not even the frosted mini-kind, either, but the big, weird, pillowy kind that falls apart in like three seconds and tastes like a mouthful of lint.

“Solid football man,” we hear from his former bosses, co-workers and others in the NFL. It’s bland, faint praise for a cipher. Pro Football Talk reported last week that when Emery was telling his counterparts that he was about to get the job, nobody believed him.

I can translate “solid football man” for you. This is socks for Christmas. It’s driving a minivan. It’s any REM album after 1991, house-brand plastic wrap, or watching C-SPAN.

Only the Bears would make an announcement like this early on a Saturday afternoon, which is usually one of the times companies will sneak bad news out: when people are busy and news staffs are light. Stuff more along the lines of “We’ve had a bit of a reactor leak,” “Our senior VP just got arrested for naked unicycling,” or “The Reverend is taking a leave of absence due to ‘exhaustion.’”

Instead, we get “It’s Phil.”

Emery was hired to work for the Bears by Mark Hatley, but stayed on after Jerry Angelo arrived, probably because nobody knew who or where he was, or what he was doing. He was hired to be the college scouting director for the Falcons in 2004, and guess by whom.

Yes, it was Tim Ruskell. The same guy who didn’t make the second round of interviews for the job Emery just got, the same guy who joined the Bears as Angelo’s caddy after Seattle let him go and he needed a job. Then Emery took a similar position with the Chiefs.

While other teams look to find ripe fruit from successful trees, the Bears pluck unknown growths from the knotted vines in their own yard.

But the new GM is here, nominally at least.

Join me in feeling completely, utterly whelmed.



bernstein 90x130 Bernstein:  Phil Emery?  Um, Ok.

Dan Bernstein


Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>

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