On the Sunday morning prior to the Bears/Lions matchup, a report from Jason La Canfora of CBS indicated that Bill Polian, former General Manager of the Bills, Panthers, and Colts, would be open to an NFL return in 2017. La Canfora speculated that one team in particular stood out among the pack:
A senior executive, advisory position with the right franchise would appeal to Polian, sources said, and there is a possibility the Bears restructure their front office in a scenario where Polian would be a senior adviser who oversees coaching and football operations in 2017 and then makes determinations about how he believes the organization should move forward. Some NFL execs have suggested Los Angeles as a possibility for Polian as well. However, sources close to Polian maintain a Midwestern team would have appeal to the veteran personnel man, and noted he has had a strong affinity for Bears ownership over the years. – Jason La Canfora
This set off a fury of mixed reaction. Some fans and pundits alike wondered, if Polian did indeed come to Chicago, what that would mean for current GM Ryan Pace and Team President Ted Phillips? With the smoke curling out of Halas Hall since late October that the team was working with a consultant and re-evaluating their entire football operation, this latest chunk of rumor adds a unique type of intrigue to that Ian Rapaport report.
I thought initially that the October report was extraordinarily worrisome, especially considering the team seemed quite invested/enamored with Ryan Pace, and I had heard rumors that John Fox wasn’t exactly in lockstep with the upper crust, even though by all other eyeball indications things were, at worst, discontent.
So would George McCaskey fire Ryan Pace and possibly John Fox in another house cleaning in just 2 years? La Canfora joined WSCR’s morning show to discuss the possibilities:
“This wouldn’t be micro-managing everything, scouring the waiver wire, making every decision, deciding what temperature the coffee should be and all that stuff. I do think he would be in the building. He would be watching things closely. He’d be making recommendations to ownership. The way I’ve heard it is it would be a senior advisory position, come in and see how decisions are being made, seeing what processes are in place, see how they’re getting to some conclusions they’re getting at and give recommendations on what he thinks is the best way to do things, kind seeing who’s pulling their weight and maybe who’s not and then trying to get a long-term structure in place to be more of a winning franchise.” – Jason La Canfora
After the great purge of 2014, the Bears turned to former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, “renting” him for a few months to consult McCaskey & co. in their search to replace Phil Emery.
They’ve come a long way since then, and the organization could benefit from adding a “czar” of football operations, helping sculpt the future of the machinery within Halas Hall and, most importantly, exorcising the non-football people within the organization into a non-football, non-spotlight, non-media-covered portion of the brass.
Essentially everyone under and including Ted Phillips needs to be quarantined away from the football part of the operation, and I believe the team feels the same way about getting their ducks in a row.
Winning cures everything, and while the Bears haven’t done that much this season (or against Detroit yesterday), small progress is progress. If Polian is brought in as a sculptor of the Chicago Bears football operation, there’s even more reason to feel optimistic about the coming years.
…at least until up until about 5 minutes after I published this piece, when this came across the wire:
And THAT is how quickly things can change in the modern era of “news.”