We’ve known you for over three years now, but it feels like we have just met for the first time. We’re pretty fired up about it.
We understand it probably had to be this way. You tore our roster down to the studs, and we had to say goodbye to some long-established friends along the way: Matt Forte, Jay Cutler, and Alshon Jeffery amongst others, but this was for something greater than any of us could have expected.
Only 30 percent (16 players) of your first roster in 2015 remains with us today. They, like us, have suffered through some hard years of Bears football.
Within that year of change, you introduced us to players of promise such as Adrian Amos, Eddie Goldman, and Bryce Callahan. They alone couldn’t restore the Monsters of the Midway to their former glory, but you also brought in the man who could very well accomplish that feat, Vic Fangio.
A year passed, and success still evaded our team, but you continued to stack the building blocks to success within our roster. Names like Jordan Howard, Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Cody Whitehair and Bobby Massie became main contributors to an ascending team.
This was maybe where we felt most hopeless as a fan base.
There was no answer to the identity of our future leader at quarterback, and both sides of the ball still lacked talent. There you stood, quiet and poised. The answer was coming.
2017 brought more of the same in the win column, but for the first time in years, we had hope. Prince Amukamara, Adam Shaheen, Eddie Jackson, and Tarik Cohen entered, along with the one you deemed capable of leading our Bears to prosperity – Mitchell Trubisky.
This was the year where our roster showed its promise, but also its pitfalls. Moreover, you saw the team needed a new leader on the sideline. John Fox helped instill discipline, but the team needed a spark. You saw that spark and a high-flying offense with Matt Nagy.
You understood the need to move quickly as you hired our new coach only a week after Black Monday. However, hiring a premium head coach wasn’t enough. You filled out the entire staff with all-star after all-star.
Nagy’s creativity became paired with one of the best offensive minds in the college game, Mark Helfrich. You also brought in a man known for training and developing monsters on the offensive line, Harry Hiestand. Moreover, you retained the defensive staff that helped restore the bite in Chicago’s defense.
Though we had a quarterback and a new coaching staff, we still had many needs entering free agency and the draft this season. We needed reliable receivers for Trubisky to torch opposing defenses with. You answered with the blue-chip signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel.
However, that still wasn’t enough for you. You continued to stack the odds in Trubisky’s favor by trading back up into the second round and acquiring Anthony Miller.
Speaking of the draft, you brought in a dynamic linebacker named Roquan Smith, who looks poised to be the heart and soul of a defense that even legends like Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher can tip their cap to. Then, you took another step in making the offensive line more athletic by drafting James Daniels.
You’ve been through a lot of losses with us … 34 to be exact.
You took the criticism and jabs from us on the chin. People claimed you got yourself fired when you drafted Trubisky. Now, those same people are heralding your roster. When your back was against the wall with every statistic saying your time was up, you delivered.
We like guys with that kind of attitude if you haven’t noticed.
With hope and optimism coming off the coast of Lake Michigan for the first time in years, it’s time we end this encounter the way we started it:
Pleased to meet you, Mr. Pace.