The Chicago Bears have fired Jerry Angelo, their general manager since 2001.
Maybe I am a touch more sensitive then most, but I rather dislike how volatile the employment structure of the NFL is. For instance, if a man is good enough to earn an extension one year, then what can possibly change in his level of ability a few years later?
I guess maybe you can learn more about him, but still, his process for player evaluation and acquisition should be clear within the first few years.
When Tom Ricketts first took over the Chicago Cubs, I hoped for a sabermetric revolution (as we are witnessing now), but at the same time, I felt Jim Hendry could be successful (with a stronger, more robust quantitative analysis department) because he had shown an ability to produce occasionally successful teams in the past.
I think Ricketts handled the whole process expertly giving Hendry time to prove himself before instituting an overhaul.
I realize this makes me wildly unpopular, but I will admit: Jerry Angelo was nowhere near the worst GM in the league.
Yesterday, the Indianapolis Colts fired their top executive Bill Polian and his son GM Chris Polian. The St. Louis Rams fired GM Billy Devaney too. For Bill Polian, a long-time GM, maybe we can say the game has passed him by. That seems like a crazy thing to say for a GM who just presided over one of the most successful decades in Colts history.
If a win-loss record tells us all we need to know about a GM, then it is easy to say Billy Devaney was a poor GM, Chris Polian was an outstanding GM (which is highly debatable, given that the Colts' success appeared tightly tied to Peyton Manning's success), and Jerry Angelo was an alright/average GM:
So, if Angelo is at least average, then why replace him? "Only to become elite," has to be the answer.
Look at the New England Patriots. Unlike the Colts, the Patriots have succeeded in times without their franchise quarterback, Tom Brady. Also, they have typically build (this year being an exception) strong-to-average defenses to compliment their elite and innovative offensive structures.
From what I understand, the Patriots have the most innovative and progressive front office in the NFL.
ASIDE: But at the same time, they kind of seem like villains to me what with the cheating and whatnot. Not to accuse the New York Yankees organization of cheating, but they kind of remind me of the Patriots, doing whatever it takes to get ahead. I dunno, maybe that is just some narrative ninja getting to me?
If the Bears hope to upgrade, pulling someone from the Patriots organization would not be a bad idea. Or, heck, maybe Angelo was shown the door because Polian became available? It is hard to say what the thought process was.
I think we can say for certain the Bears who have sold out all their home games since Ditka was the head coach did not make the change because fans were clamoring for it.
Fans clamor. That's about all they do outside of purchase tickets and gear. And with the Bears seemingly incapable of leaving a single, ultra-expensive seat empty at Soldier Field, the only real incentive for changing the GM would be to upgrade, not a appease a mob of fickle, uninformed fans.
So here's to an upgrade. May it come not at the expense of Lovie Smith, whom I think is a wildly underrated head coach.
*dives for cover*