Ever hear that NFL means Not For Long? That phrase applies to the players but it can also apply to coaches and the Bears, like any other team, may end up having a coaching change that surprises everyone.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be ideal for the Bears to promote from within as they may want to look outside the organization for a new head coach. One big name that always comes up is former Pittsburgh Steeler’s coach and current CBS television personality Bill Cowher. Cowher has been a very successful coach in the past and rumor has it that he might be interested in coming back into coaching. Could he have some interest in the Bears if current head coach Lovie Smith heads out of town?
One thing that is unique about the Bear’s coaching staff is the number of former head coaches that they currently have on that staff. Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice, now the offensive line coordinator has been a huge asset to the Bears and is the kind of coach that the Bears seem to like. He understands the game, likes playing tough smash mouth football and isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
Mike Martz has been a head coach and coordinator with the St. Louis Rams and a coordinator with the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers so he has a lot of experience. Granted, his time in Detroit and San Francisco wasn’t nearly as successful as it was in St. Louis but he could still be a viable head coach again.
Finally, Rod Marinelli has been a head coach in the NFL, with the Detriot Lions, but he’s not been successful. In fact he is known as the guy that coached the worst team in NFL history (the 0-16 Detroit Lions).
So if, for some reason, the Bears decide to let Smith go at any point prior to his contract running out (and these head coaches are still part of the team) is it possible that the Bears could promote from within? And which of these three coaches would be the best fit for the Bears?
You can pretty much throw Marinelli out of this conversation. He has proven that he is a much better assistant coach than a head coach and it’s highly unlikely that he will see a head coaching job anywhere in the NFL again.
Martz has had success and failures as a head coach and a coordinator but he has traditionally been difficult to deal with at times. If he was to become head coach the Bear’s defense would most likely be forgotten while the offense would get better. Teams would be able to score on the Bears in bunches but the Bear’s offense would be able to score a lot of points.
Tice may be the most capable coach out of the three and may be the guy that ownership would choose if they had to replace Smith. Tice saw some success when he was the head coach in Minnesota (even though there were a few problems every now and then). He’s a “Chicago kind of guy” as he has the attitude that the team could really use.
In addition to that, with his experience on offense, he would help make the Bears offense strong by working up front first and building a strong offensive line. And he wouldn’t neglect the defense either.
Tice would be the best fit out of the three and that is clear. The team has made an extra effort to keep him around because they really like him (and he’s been good for the Bears) but deep down inside they could see him as a potential replacement for Smith and will do what it takes to keep him there. Is it possible that Bear’s ownership could be looking at Tice as a potential successor to Smith?
If anything, the experience that these former coaches have made the Bears better last season and should make them better in 2011. We should just know that one of these guys could be the head coach in the future and the Bears might be better off for it.