By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist
(CBS) He’s soooo over that offensive lineman you like. That skill-set is like, totally 2009.
When Bears GM Phil Emery uses a first-round pick on somebody you never even thought about, it’s because he’s been on that tip for a while, already. You know, before it was cool.
He makes his selection, props his fedora on his head just right, and then hops on his bike — salvaged from vintage parts, of course – and pedals to his Logan Square apartment. He used to live in Wicker Park, but that neighborhood has been out of style for months, ever since it went all mainstream.
He sees things in Kyle Long that you just can’t, okay?
Anybody can look at hours of college games and break down several full seasons of performance, but it takes a really special scouting skill to be able to make that call with just five starts to analyze. It’s no different, really, than when he heard that one cassette Ben Gibbard released in 1997 when he was just playing guitar for Pinwheel, and he told everybody that this guy would break through. He’s not interested in Death Cab For Cutie anymore though, because now everybody is.
And he’s rolling his eyes and chuckling at your coaching hire. Go ahead and take that guy from that other NFL franchise who has actually coached a team in the league. Real original. Same goes for the successful college coach with pro experience and connections, since anybody can make that decision. Where’s the creativity, cleverness, blasé counterculturalism and personal style in that?
His guy, you see, is a lawyer. He says things in a way that forces you to think, because you feel have to figure it out. And he’s from a completely different league with separate rules, where the field even has a different shape and all kinds of stuff happens that you wouldn’t even understand.
According to sources, after the press conference to introduce Marc Trestman some others in the front office wanted to go out for a beer. Emery declined, saying “I’m in the process of making a few of my own beers, so no thanks. My birch/spruce doppel-bock is about ready for its secondary fermentation, but I think the Baltic-style porter should be just about drinkable.”
Then he stopped at the farmer’s market for some Dahi chutney, quinoa, and two ears of huitlacoche-infected corn.
Just a year ago it was the selection of defensive-end/linebacker hybrid Shea McClellin that showed you that he doesn’t need these national-consensus scouting reports that agree in large part on the general value of college players. Other teams may have a third-round grade on a guy without a natural professional position, but the masses don’t know anything.
Phil Emery would get a seersucker jacket from a thrift shop, but he wouldn’t be caught dead listening to “Thrift Shop.”
He’s cooler than you are, and he’ll show his peers that his aesthetic is more fashion-forward than theirs. He’ll find that guy that’s off the beaten path, and a little more exotic. Others just can’t appreciate these players like he can.
At least we know the reason for the Buddy Holly glasses, with the lanyard holding them on only worn to complete the statement of fully cynical authenticity, we can assume. Some nihilistic ‘50s/’80s vibe he’s got going.
Hipster Phil, doing things his way.
Dan Bernstein joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995, and has been the co-host of Boers and Bernstein since 1999. Read more of Bernstein’s columns, or follow him on Twitter: @dan_bernstein.
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