By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) When we can see what others can’t or won’t, allegiances shift in uncomfortable ways.
This is an awful place; the conflicted, self-doubting place. Any reasonable fan who wants the Bears to move closer to winning the Super Bowl has to hope for losses, the worse the better. Incredibly, the argument for the moves to be made needs even more supportive evidence, so striking as to make retention of this coach and possibly even this general manager untenable.
This is hate-watching, like seeing Justin Bieber posing at the Grammys, Anne Hathaway basking in emaciated self-satisfaction at the Oscars or Lena Dunham anywhere doing anything.
Another defeat for the Bears (5-8), this time a 41-28 home setback to the Cowboys on Thursday, could conceivably compel some kind of response, but likely will not. All the after-the-fact, garbage-time silliness will play well in Lake Forest, where inertia is powerful and the nebulousness of leadership has created inherent, diffuse weakness. It would mean a person taking charge and standing strong, and that person has yet to emerge since everything started to rot.
Remember, something almost happened a month ago, until it didn’t.
After the consecutive embarrassments against New England and Green Bay, it was clear that the Marc Trestman experiment wasn’t working. His lack of authority and gravity had been evident for some time, but the appalling collapses on the field finally forced a reckoning by senior management.
They gathered behind closed doors at Lambeau Field that night and again the next day at Halas Hall. Ownership confronted all possibilities after the Bears were pantsed in front of the nation, finally aware of the enormity of failure. They debated possibilities, with some arguing for immediate change and others content to keep riding it out.
The latter faction won, and nothing happened — the comfort of the status quo victorious yet again.
Too-close wins over terrible teams followed in the next two weeks, and any heat on Trestman cooled, congealing into a glob of grim acquiescence and financial reality. Even the ensuing loss in Detroit has done little to push Bears leadership back to any crisis point. Sadly, they’re living up to their reputation as fearful of change and the confrontation, uncertainty and expense it creates. Those meetings don’t appear to be reconvening any time soon.
And that’s why we are where we are, in full divergence. Bad is good and good is bad, and bad enough is good enough until it’s too good to be good enough.
Damn. Cognitive dissonance hurts.
When general manager Phil Emery fired Lovie Smith after his 10-6 team missed the playoffs two years ago, the standard was stated.
“Our No. 1 goal has to be to win championships,” he said. “And to win championships, we have to be in contention on a consistent basis, and to be in contention we have to make the playoffs on a consistent basis.”
You’re not making the playoffs, Phil. You’re not in contention for anything except the honor of being the league’s most painful disappointment. Your hand-picked coach is just swamped, now. It’s over, whether you want it to be or not.
It would be over for you, too, if somebody in that building with more power had understandable trepidation about you conducting another deliberate search for another coach.
Emery set the organizational standard. It may take someone else to uphold it, if it even still applies.
Anybody wanting his words to continue to matter has to be rooting against the Bears, which just sucks. We see it, and everyone else sees it. It’s just there, and can’t be hidden. More of it means prodding the stodgy, cloistered, sclerotic ownership to action.
Bears as sadomasochism should feel better.