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Bears trying to emulate Seattle Seahawks with Fox and Pace

The Bears have embarked on their latest attempt to close the talent gap between them and the Green Bay Packers and build a consistent winner. After watching the NFC Championship game it's clear whom they're using for the blueprint: the back-to-back NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This morning John Fox was introduced as the 15th head coach in the franchise's history by their new general manager Ryan Pace, the youngest in the NFL.

At first glance it may seem strange to see a 37-year-old be the boss over a 59-year-old, but it makes sense to pair a fresh-faced, first-time GM with a veteran NFL coach. The mix of knowing how to win and new ideas could breed sustainable success. That's the idea anyway.

It's a reason for optimism in Chicagoland today; this is the dawning of a new era, another chance to right the ship and bring the Bears back to their rightful place as the most storied franchise in the league. The damage done by the ill-fated Phil Emery/Marc Trestman regime is gone and, while it may not be quickly forgotten (thanks to Jay Cutler's monster contract and the decimated defense), it should not be dwelled on.

No, today is the first day of a new era of Bears football. There is no reason not to be excited until the pair's moves actually cost the team games. Some may poo-poo the hire of a coach known for not winning the big games, but can a franchise whose last appearance in a big game was over four years ago really afford to be picky?

The Bears are chasing the success of the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens, and other teams who always seem to be in the postseason mix year after year.

The Packers are most often cited as the team for the Bears to chase, and with good reason; they are the Bears' biggest rival and a big part of that is that they share a division and, until further notice, the NFC North is controlled by the Packers.

However, with the Pace-Fox hiring the Bears are actually copying another NFC team: the two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks have the young-GM, older coach marriage, with the 63-year-old Pete Carroll manning the sidelines and 43-year-old GM John Schneider. The dynamics will be different, sure - in Seattle Carroll carries final say over personnel moves - but the model is similar.

While the Seahawks first brought in Carroll, who then hired Schneider to be his right-hand man, the organization still took a chance on an older re-tread head coach instead of going the up and coming coordinator route.

Like Carroll, Fox is getting a third crack at being a head coach in the NFL. Carroll didn't have much success as an NFL head man with the Jets (6-10, 1994) and Patriots (27-21, 1997-99), holding a 33-31 record when he came to the Northwest in 2010 at age 58. He was 1-2 in the postseason.

Though Fox has more success (119-89 overall, 8-7 postseason) he still hasn't won big in the playoffs enough.

The Carroll-Schneider tandem overhauled the Seahawks' roster, and has built them into a young team that has a strong ground game and ferocious defense.

Sound familiar? John Fox is known for a grinding run game and tough defense.

Of course, Russell Wilson might be the biggest factor in the turnaround, given the quarterback-driven nature of the NFL. But Schneider and Carroll were able to identify and draft Wilson in 2012, after they'd already been to the playoffs once. Maybe Jay Cutler isn't the answer but Fox should be good enough, and shrewd enough in his assistant coaching hires, to get the most out of him and get the team competitive while he and Pace work to identify their guy.

The Packers might be the target for the Bears, but the Seahawks are the model. Pace and Fox are going to be following in the steps of the franchise with the first back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 10 years.

Hopefully it will work out as well.