According to various sources, there has been “grumbling” within the NFL about the breadth of the Chicago Bears’ coaching search. (And ProFootBallTalk just can’t resist to continue to use the photo of Phil Emery in which he looks like Maxwell Smart). Teams believe that Emery is using the guise of interviews to glean intelligence from other coaches. I don’t have a problem with this. Nor does Dan Pompei of the Tribune.
What I will have a problem with is if the Bears jeopardize hiring the right coach because of the dog-and-pony show they have always insisted on putting on with final head coach candidates. They did it in 1999, they did it in 2004, when they brought the finalists to Halas Hall for last interviews and press conferences. And Emery already announced in his January 1st conference that the final two candidates will be paraded as such.
Let me just remind everyone that the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been an utterly dysfunctional organization for at least five years, identified Andy Reid as their man and stuck quickly. (I’m not saying I would have wanted Reid as the Bear’s coach-I don’t). But they decided they knew who they wanted, and they landed him without pandering to anyone.
Should the final two candidates be available and ready to take the Bears job, not talking to other teams, I don’t have a problem with seeing the final two being interviewed and paraded.
But here’s my fear. Let’s say when Mike McCoy becomes available (if the Broncos are eliminated from the playoffs), there is fierce competition between the Bears and the Eagles to hire him. This is IF McCoy is identified as the right man. Are the Bears going to lose out simply because the Eagles will hire swiftly and the Bears will lose him because he won’t participate in the final interview and conference with the media?
Based on what we have heard from Emery, I would hope to God that this is not a possibility. But we were also led to believe that this was Emery’s show to run, until we heard that he acquiesced to a McCaskey request to interview Mike Singletary. (Side note, why would Singletary and Keith Armstrong go through the motions to be interviewed when they have to know there is no chance in hell either of them are getting hired?)
Anyway, I believe I heard that based on interview length that Tampa offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is very high on Emery’s list, if not at the top. I do not know if time will tell this will be the right hire or not. But I still trust that Emery will make the right decision.
(And I may end up being wrong about that too).