It was certainly something Chairman George McCaskey suggested in his season-ending press conference, though it was hard to have much in the way of certain confidence in the way of the plan. The gist: the Chicago Bears would use their five-person search committee to start the general manager and head coach searches concurrently, but they might prefer to settle the GM search first, since the head coach would ultimately be reporting to that GM. It could be a mess to do it in reverse order.
But with the Bears, we don’t rule out messy approaches.
That’s why it was mildly heartening to see multiple reports in recent days that the Bears are aiming to hire the GM before the head coach. I suppose you can’t rule out a situation where, for example, the search crew adores a head coaching candidate who is about to get hired by another club and the only options are to let the guy go or hire him before the GM. But, even in that situation, I’m not sure I’d want the Bears to jump until the GM is settled.
We talked a lot about wanting the Bears to have a true football president – a czar of football operations – but in reality, that’s not wholly necessary so long as the new GM is empowered to truly BE that football leader. Since the head coach will report to the GM, and since the hypothetical GM is going to be better equipped to fully evaluate the head coach hire from the football perspective (at least I sure as heck hope the Bears hire a GM that they would trust with that evaluation!), I want the GM in the room when the final head coach decision is made. Early interviews? A few cuts? A preference list? All that stuff is fine for me if coming from the Polian/McCaskey/Phillips/Campbell/Wade committee. But the final decision? A deep analysis among a trio of finalists or whatever? I want that coming from the new head of the football department.
So, I’m happy to see the reporting that the GM should be coming before the head coach, and I’ll hope that means a decision on the GM is coming in relatively short order, because the top head coach candidates could be snapped up in the coming weeks (if not sooner).
If you’ve missed out on any of the GM search, you can check out some of the latest candidates here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. That’s just scratching the surface. Actually, just go to the Bears homepage here at BN and scroll through the posts and you’ll immediately see the many, many names in the mix already at GM.