Yes, another subjective list to debate about.
It is the offseason after all.
I happen to get a kick out of the numerous lists that trickle out during the "slow" times in the NFL, because I enjoy seeing how writers justify the rankings and seeing which players make a ruckus over being snubbed.
Whether it be a Top Players list, a Most Important, or the Top 100 Most Influential People in the NFL, like the list were spotlighting today, it provides good fodder for us to digest here on WCG.
The Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) is the NFL-only offshoot of Sports Illustrated and they are currently running down their picks for the 100 Most Influential People in the NFL. They're down to number 81 so far and one member of the Chicago Bears' organization has appeared, head coach John Fox checked in at 96.
The first public salvo in the mission to light a fire under Jay Cutler came in March, from coach John Fox: "It's all an open competition. Obviously you've got to start somewhere and my experience in football, really in anything, it's not where you start a competition; it's where you finish it." Will David Fales start over Cutler in the season opener? Don't bet on it. But you can bet on the Chicago staff—including highly regarded coordinator Adam Gase—to make it very clear to Cutler he is at a career crossroads. And yet it's not in Fox's character to put the screws to a quarterback.
As a Chuck Noll disciple (the only member of Chuck Noll's coaching tree still leading an NFL team), Fox has a noted happy-go-lucky way of doing things. Among the things Fox has said he admired most about Noll: "He was not a screamer. He wasn't up or down." That's just what Chicago fans didn't like about former head coach Marc Trestman: his perceived lack of emotion. But if Fox can squeeze a bounce back season out of Cutler—and if he and Vic Fangio can work some magic with an undermanned, overwhelmed defense—Bears fans will give him a pass.
John Fox may have an even-keeled personality, but I don't think any Bears' fans are comparing him to former coach Marc Trestman. And besides, the lack of emotion complaint has hung over not only Trestman, but his two predecessors as well.
But when I think back, I don't remember many complaints coming from fans when Dick Jauron or Lovie Smith were winning. If John Fox wins, he could coach with a clown mask on and fans wouldn't care.
The few times Fox has met with the media, his "happy-go-lucky" nature has shined through, and that's a far cry from the stoicism of the last few coaches.
Fox was brought in to be a stabilizing force for a franchise that clearly lacked direction, professionalism and leadership. An improvement over last years win total would be nice, but I'm mainly hoping the Bears aren't a laughingstock like they were at times the last two seasons.