In recent times we have witnessed a good deal of turnover amongst the Chicago Bears’ coaching staff ever since Lovie Smith was fired following the 2012 regular season. As part of this 30 Day challenge, here is one of many “what if” scenarios we’re set to ask all of you to answer.
“Who is the one coach who got away from the Chicago Bears?”
This answer of mine truly hurts my soul as a sport management degree holder.
Plenty of people will recall Bill Belichick interviewing with the Chicago Bears back in 1999 right before the notorious Dave McGinnis incident happened. Many other coaches, like Bill Walsh, Andy Reid, Nick Saban (okay I’m not really a fan of his either) and Gary Kubiak were all passed on for unknown reasons. Yet here’s the latest example of pure negligence from former Bears GMs.
I bring to you all the most infamous coaching mistake in the Chicago Bears’ history. Bruce Arians was passed over... for this guy.
Marc Trestman. Easily, the worst hiring decision ever in the 100+ year history of the Bears.
The story turns more tragic as information became available regarding Bruce Arians’s direct thoughts about how the process worked out in the spring of 2013. In summary, then Bears GM Phil Emery opted not to hire Bruce Arians, because Arians planned on hiring Todd Bowles as his defensive coordinator as opposed to keeping Rod Marinelli. That’s it. That’s the reason.
And how that turned into a most shortsighted, idiotic decision in hindsight. Hell, I’ll own up to my optimistic ways, I fought hard to justify the Marc Trestman hire. Yet history turned sour so quickly, for me and fellow fans alike.
Marc Trestman didn’t just fail on the field. He turned what was once a strong culture in a locker room filled with exceptional talent from Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman; and set it all on fire. Recently Jay Cutler came on to the Red Line Radio podcast and labeled his time with Marc Trestman as a “sh-tshow.” I agree with his statements entirely.
Marc Trestman is the shortest tenured head coach in Bears history. He lasted just two seasons, before he along with Phil Emery were shown the door in January of 2015. That led into the hiring of current Bears GM Ryan Pace, and his selection at head coach, John Fox. Who, eh, wasn’t overly successful in Chicago either. But, at the very least, he was a coach you could respect.
Meanwhile, Bruce Arians is enjoying his best life. He took a hapless Arizona Cardinals franchise and made them a top notched contender in the NFC for years. Following a brief retirement, he was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019, and now he’s finally won himself a well deserved Super Bowl as a head coach. This, to add onto the ring he won with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their offensive coordinator. I’ll tip my hat with full respect for what he’s accomplished throughout his career in the NFL.
Players love him, the media loves him, and especially the fans. He had the greatest resume of any candidate interviewed by the Chicago Bears. His time with the Indianapolis Colts as an interim head coach was simply astounding. His experience of working with QBs is legendary.
I’m still pissed about how good Jay Cutler and the Bears’ cast on offense would have fit in Bruce Arians’s offense. Oh, and remember the part when I said it came down to Bruce hiring Todd Bowles instead of keeping Rod Marinelli as the defensive coordinator? Well... it wasn’t like Bruce didn’t want Rod Marinelli. Instead, he flat out knew Rod wanted to leave Chicago after Lovie Smith was fired.
Marc Trestman made a feeble attempt to keep Rod Marinelli shortly after Marc was hired. Rod simply said, “no,” and left for the Dallas Cowboys. His contract expired that same offseason, so Hot Rod was more than able to do whatever he wanted. Marc and Phil Emery would later hire Mel Tucker as DC, and the rest is history. Todd Bowles would have had humongous success in Chicago as a DC.
Out of any coaches in the NFL outside of Chicago, there have always been two I begged to see win Super Bowls, just out of respect and admiration for their greatness. Andy Reid, and Bruce Arians. Both coaches have won the Super Bowl these past two seasons. Bruce is just an amazing guy who transforms the culture wherever he goes. I’ll bet on him making the hall of fame some day in the distant future.
I will die on this hill - had Bruce Arians been hired by the Chicago Bears, they would have won a damn Super Bowl. If not make multiple runs. Everything was in place, from the QB who was a perfect fit, to weapons on offense, and world wreckers on defense despite Brian Urlacher’s departure. This could have been us, instead of Tampa Bay.
What truly could have been starting in 2013 had the right choice been made... pain. I feel great pain now.
Alas, now its your turn.
Who’s the coach that you think the Bears let get away?