Going purely by the comments section on Windy City Gridiron and on the hyperbole flying around other social media, the single biggest factor missing from discussions of Ryan Pace’s impact on the Bears is that fans seem to lack an overview of the entire NFL. This article is intentionally light on any analysis. When I provide commentary, it will be in sidebars. Otherwise, this simply reports numbers—most of which were gathered from the incomparable Pro Football Reference. I made no judgment as to role, using the executive reported by PFR as the general manager, even when this included coaches who were listed in that role or owners.
In each category, I compare the Chicago Bears and Ryan Pace to three groups. The first group includes all NFL teams since 2015, regardless of how many GM switches other teams might have undergone in this window. The second group includes all active GMs who have been on the job long enough have managed a team for at least one season (this excludes five rookie GMs); this required my first actual judgment, which was sure to offend someone either way—for GMs who were on the job prior to 2015, I only included their records since 2015 (so the early years of Jones and Johnson are excluded, as are Belichick’s 2000s, for example). Finally, I excluded all GMs who established themselves prior to 2015 and compared Ryan Pace only to the GMs who have been on the job for the same amount of time as he has (or for less time).
Win/Loss Record: 42 wins/54 losses (44%)
Of 32 NFL teams, 22 have better records since 2015 and 8 have worse records (the Chargers are tied with the Bears during this time). The best team (the Kansas City Chiefs) has 71 wins, the median teams (the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans) have 49 wins, and the worst team (the New York Jets) has 23 wins.
Of 27 General Managers whose teams have played under their management, 20 have better records since taking over their teams and four have worse records (Ron Rivera and Tom Telesco have the same winning percentage as Ryan Pace). The best GM has a 78% winning record (Baltimore’s Brian DeCosta), the median GM has a 52% winning record (Jerry Jones), and the worst GM has a 28% winning record (Joe Douglas of the New York Jets).
Of 15 GMs who have only been in charge since 2015 (or more recently), 10 have better records since taking over and three have worse records (Ron Rivera is tied with Pace). DeCosta and Douglas remain the best and worst markers, with the 48% winning record of Dolphins’ GM Chris Grier becoming the median.
Winning Seasons: 1 winning season (17%)
Of 32 NFL teams, 22 have more winning seasons since 2015 and 0 have fewer winning seasons. However, it is worth pointing out that 4 teams have fewer wins than the Bears did during their sole winning seasons. The best teams (the Chiefs and the Seahawks) have had winning seasons every year, the median teams (8-way tie) have had two winnings seasons in this time, and the worst team remains the New York Jets, who not only have only a single winning season, that winning season had the fewest number of wins in this group (10) and the team itself had the fewest overall wins.
Of 27 non-rookie General Managers, 19 have had a higher percentage of winning seasons than Pace and 5 have a lower percentage of winning seasons (Kiem and Brown are tied). The best GMs (5-way tie) have had winning seasons every year since 2015, the median GMs (3-way tie) have had winning seasons 50% of the time, and the worst 5 managers have yet to record a winning season.
Of the 15 GMs who have been in their jobs for no longer than Pace, 9 have a better percentage of winning seasons and the other 5 have worse percentages. Otherwise, the same markers hold.
Playoff Runs: 2 (33%)
Of 32 NFL teams, 13 have more playoff runs than since 2015 and 13 teams have fewer playoff runs since 2015 (five other teams also have 2 playoff runs in this time). The best team is the Kansas City Chiefs (with 6 playoff runs), the median teams would include the Bears and five other teams, and the worst team would be the Jets (the only team not to make a playoff run).
Of 27 General Managers, 15 have had a higher rate of playoff runs than Ryan Pace and 10 have had a worse rate of playoff runs (Pace is tied with Jerry Jones over this time with a playoff run in 33% of available seasons). The best performance belongs to Brett Veach (four playoff runs in four seasons), with four teams having a 50% playoff run rate at the midpoint. Four active GMs have yet to enjoy a playoff run.
Of the 15 GMs hired since 2015, 8 have a better ratio of playoff run seasons and 6 have a worse ratio of playoff run seasons. Veach (4 for 4) is the best, Ballard (50%) is the median, and Hurney and Gettleman are the worst (0% with three seasons).
Playoff Wins: 0 (0 per season)
Of 32 teams, 25 have more playoff wins than the Bears and none have fewer. The best team would be the New England Patriots with 9 playoff wins, the median would be the eight teams tied at two wins, and the worst is a 7-way tie that includes the Bears.
Of 27 General Managers, 21 have more playoff wins per season and none have fewer. The best GM be Veach of Kansas City, averaging 1.75 playoff wins per season. The median would be a six-way tie with 0.5 playoff wins per season. The worst rate would be Ryan Pace or Mike Brown, both of whom have yet to record a single playoff win despite having the most opportunity to do so (6 seasons).
Of the 15 GMs hired since 2015, 10 have a better rate of playoff wins per season than Ryan Pace and 0 have a worse rate. The best of these would be Veach (since he had the best record of any GM he would still have the best record of new GMs), the median is still set by having 0.5 playoff wins per season (but now only Beane and Lynch qualify), and the worst would be Ryan Pace, who has had the longest time on the job without managing a playoff win.