Not one Chicago Bears fan is likely to forget about the 2018 NFL off-season anytime soon. Like, ever, to be completely honest. Yet, to this day, the chief architect of this team still has yet to receive full dues on the work he’s put into this roster.
So much, in fact, that he has been named Sporting News’ Exec Of The Year. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times was the first to report the news. This award was presented and ratified by his peers during the latest annual league meeting at the Arizona Biltmore. This is unlike Colts’ GM Chris Ballard’s Exec of the Year from the Pro Football Writers of America, where a selected panel casts their votes for nominees.
His full list of accomplishments would take hours to describe in detail. Rather, here are some of the highlights from his 2018 year alone:
- Traded for All-Pro OLB Khalil Mack
- Signed Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton
- Re-signed Kyle Fuller & Prince Amukamara
- Drafted Roquan Smith, James Daniels, Anthony Miller, and Bilal Nichols
- Hired NFL Coach of the Year Matt Nagy to replace John Fox
He, Pace, faced a great deal of adversity headed into the 2018 season. After starting off his career 14-34 as the Bears’ presiding GM, people were quick to pass judgment and ask for his firing on social media platforms. Not many GMs can say they’ve survived their first head coaching hire despite that hiring turning into a disappointment.
Instead, Pace faced the challenge head-on, and his hard work finally began to pay off with his monumental change at the coaching staff. He took his efforts to another level, and built a young championship-caliber roster which is ready to compete for years to come. Players like Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller, Charles Leno Jr., and Eddie Jackson all earned their first Pro Bowl honors this year alone.
And his work is still not done. Redemption is a rare opportunity in the NFL; Ryan Pace has certainly fulfilled that opportunity. Here’s to hoping for many more years of excellence under Ryan Pace’s vision.