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Jim Harbaugh
Chicago Bears

Jim Harbaugh? Pete Carroll? Bears HC Rumors Only Getting Started

  • Bryan Perez
  • January 5, 2022
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The Chicago Bears are expected to make a change at head coach once Monday, Jan. 10 rolls around. Uncomfortably known as ‘Black Monday,’ the ax will fall on several underperforming head coaches around the league with Matt Nagy headlining the bunch. Nagy, who won the NFL’s Coach of the Year award during his rookie year on the sideline in 2018, has regressed in the three seasons since winning the NFC North and finishing 12-4 that year. Back-to-back 8-8 finishes and, at best, a 10-loss season in 2021 has fallen short of the lofty expectations he created in Chicago, and with a young franchise quarterback finally on the roster, the Bears will move on in an effort to protect their most valuable asset. A coaching change will be a welcomed move by Bears fans. Sure, no one wants to see a middle-aged married man with children lose his job, but this is the NFL; the normal rules of society rarely apply. So, yes, Bears fans will celebrate the day the change is made. But as the hours tick closer to a post-Nagy era, the rumors and potential misinformation about which candidates are interested in the job, or who would be a good fit for the position, will reach a crescendo. Take NBC Sports Mike Florio’s blazing hot take on Tuesday as the perfect example. Florio, while appearing on 670 The Score in Chicago, said Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll would be an ideal fit if his time is coming to an end in Seattle. “You can bring in a regime that will keep you in the neighborhood of 10-7, 9-8, maybe you get to the playoffs, maybe you don’t, or you strive for something more,” Florio said on the Mully & Haugh Show. “And I’d be more fascinated by the possibility of bringing Pete Carroll to town if he gets fired by the Seahawks. Because I think the Bears make perfect sense as an immediate landing spot for Pete Carroll. Because the Bears could do and have done a hell of a lot worse than what Pete Carroll did for 10 years in Seattle.” With all due respect to Carroll and the incredible success he’s had with the Seahawks, he would not fit what the Bears are looking for. At least, he wouldn’t profile as the kind of coach who can manage Chicago from the depths of a rebuild into a consistent contender. Let’s face it, Carroll is at the end of his career; the Bears need a guy who’s like a player in his prime (or entering it) in order to have the stamina to see this rebuild through. There’s a reason why the Bears will be searching for a new head coach soon. It’s because their current guy, and the recent guys who’ve preceded him, haven’t had the same kind of success as Carroll has. So, yeah, Chicago can do and has done worse than Carroll, as Florio noted. A lot of teams around the league say the same thing, too. Go ask the Jacksonville Jaguars whether they’d like a coach who’s been as stable and successful as Carroll, especially after the disaster that was Urban Meyer. Carroll isn’t a match for the Jaguars, either. Here’s the point: suggesting Carroll is a good fit because he’s won more than the last few Bears coaches is, in a word, lazy. It’d be a square peg forced into a round hole regardless of how impressive the square peg’s resume is. There’s another rumor swirling around the Bears’ coaching job that’s a little more interesting… and exciting, to be honest. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman reported Tuesday that Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh is getting the NFL itch again, and he listed two teams that could appeal to Harbaugh: the Las Vegas Raiders and, you guessed it, the Bears. Unlike Carroll, Harbaugh would be the kind of coach who not only makes sense for this Bears team but also for the entire city of Chicago. A former first-round Bears quarterback himself, Harbaugh would be greeted with open arms by a fan base that witnessed him turn the San Francisco 49ers from a laughing stock to a Super Bowl contender just a few years ago. The fact he names Mike Ditka as one of his mentors doesn’t hurt, either. The Bears’ coaching search hasn’t even officially begun and two high-profile names who technically aren’t eligible to be hired have already been connected to Chicago. In a way, it’s a compliment to a Bears team that will be viewed as one of the more attractive coaching gigs this year. But a caution flag needs to be feverishly waved before this spin cycle of rumors gets out of control. In the words of a famous Bears villain, R-E-L-A-X. Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride full of fluff, misinformation, and downright lies that will end with a new head coach in Chicago… eventually.

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Bryan Perez