The following is a transcript of new Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman’s opening statements from his introductory press conference tomorrow morning. Don’t ask how we got this.
Hello, distinguished members of the Chicago media! It is a true honor to stand before you today as the 14th head coach of one of the great organ-I-zations in pro football, the Chicago Bears. I’d like to start out by thanking Ted Phillips, the McCaskey family, and, most of all, Phil Emery for taking a chance on an old Canuck who thought his big chance south of the border had came and passed years ago. The warmth you all have shown me over the past week and a half is enough to make me discard my tuque and bunnyhug and stand proudly out in these temperate Chicago winters in nothing but my dressing gown and runners. I promise you will never be disappointed with my dedication to this position, eh.
I’m sure there are some Bears fans out in the metro area and all across these great States who were taken aback by seeing my name among the listed candidates for this storied position and even more surprised to hear that I had accepted the job. No doubt, there are those who are saying to themselves, “What’s this hoser doing mucking around in these parts of the North American continent? I don’t know if I’d trust him to remember my double-double order at Tim Hortons correctly!” As well, others among you may be asking themselves, “Hey, why has this man who’s lived in the States for all his life outside of the last five years completely soaked up Canadian English idioms into his dialect?”
Well, to answer that last question, I’m originally from Minneapolis, which is essentially Canada anyway, eh. But as for the first: I never gave up my ambitions to become an NFL coach. I was always straightforward and forthright in my dedication to climbing the coaching ladder as best I could. Somewhere along the line, NFL GM’s just stopped listening. I think it was the exact point in time was 2004, when I couldn’t turn A.J. Feeley from a mickey into a Texas mickey. No offense intended to the fine young man, I doubt anyone could. But that’s life, eh? Sometimes when you’re chasing Loonies, you wind up in the pogey. No shame in that. So rather than continue along a well-defined path that I had already traversed many times before here in the States, I leaped at the opportunity to join the outstanding organ-I-zation they’ve got up in Montreal with the Alouettes and tried my hand at Canadian League ball.
It took a little while to get used to some of the rule changes – to be frank with all of you, I’m still not completely certain what a rouge is – but once you get down to the quiggly of the matter you find it’s much a similar game to the one being played down here. It’s like I always told my players on the first day of summer training camp: “Remember, the goal of the game is to get the ball into the end zone and to prevent your opponent from doing the same.” And do you know how those young men responded to that information? I tell you, 80% of the players I coached said that was the best coaching strategy they had ever heard and that they now, for the first time, clearly understood what was being asked of them during a given contest and why the ball wasn’t circular, black, and rubber. I don’t take the credit for these leaps my players made, however: it was the open minds that these youngsters came in with every year and the willingness to try new ideas that, frankly, seemed a little kooky for Kraft Dinner at the time. And I can only hope that the men I work with now in this fine organ-I-zation have the same attitude and work ethic.
It is true, yes, that I found success on the field with the Alouettes – we won two Grey Cups and a lifetime supply of cheezies from Mr. Doug McArthur’s Great Canadian Cheezies factory for our 15-3 record in 2009. And I thank Mr. Doug McArthur for that generous gift every day. But sometimes the greatest coaching lessons don’t come on the field – but, rather, another place entirely. I am, of course, referring to a location off the field. We were holed up in the team motel in Hamilton the night before a big game against the Tiger-Cats and I was going over our team strategy one more time with our young men. But before I could get to the part where I remind them to keep their opponent from getting into the end zone, a bit of a tussle was beginning in the back of the room. I ran back to investigate the problem and found that things were much worse than I could have ever dreamed. One of my players, an linebacker from Nova Scotia, was having a disagreement with a offensive lineman who hailed from Newfoundland. And as I’m sure you can imagine, the conversation was tense. The Nova Scotian was saying, “Look what you’ve done, you darn Newfie, you’ve eaten all my maple syrup! You’ll have to pay me four loonies in recompense!” And the Newfoundlander was equally adamant in his position, saying “Drop the gloves, you bluenoser! That maple syrup was in a community jug and I had politely asked for the right to drizzle it over my waffles!”
Clearly, my team was on the brink of civil war. If our team continued to harbor this level of discord and resentment against each other, there’d be no way we could make it through the night, let alone face Henry Burris, Avon Cobourne, and the rest of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This was the greatest challenge I ever faced as a coach – an issue that would potentially define the rest of my career. Thinking quickly, I reached into my back pocket for the emergency flask of maple syrup that all good Canadians carry with them in their back pocket, handed it to the both of them and said, “This is no problem, friends. Take my emergency maple syrup flask. It’s yours now. I entrust it completely to your dual control.”
Everyone in the room was completely taken aback by the gesture – one player even shouted, “You can’t just give away one of your children like that, Coach Trestman! Eh.” But I stood firm. I knew these boys needed the healing powers of the maple syrup more than I did. With tears in their eyes, both players gratefully accepted the flask and embraced each other with a promise to never let this happen again. And do you know what our result against Hamilton was? A 38-3 victory. We went on to our second straight Grey Cup victory later that season. A Grey Cup that could have been tainted by the blood of poor, misplaced maple syrup if we hadn’t been so fortunate.
I understand the game is different down here. I understand the players are quite a bit different as well since the last time I was in the league (although as long as Rich Gannon is in the league, I’ll never feel completely lost!). But coaching is the same at any level: your assignment is to help your players play up to their greatest potential and to prevent their opponent from doing the same. And if any emergencies arise…*reaches into back pocket and pulls out a flask of maple syrup*…I’ve got a solution at the ready. *laughs heartily* Alright, I’ll take your questions, eh…