Although it seems his advice is temporary, Bill Polian is today the most important man in the Bears hierarchy.
It is more than a little strange that on every occasion George McCaskey, and for that matter the entire McCaskey family, has made the point to his customers that his expertise is limited when it comes to the product he is selling and the business. that he owns, the game of Football.
And it’s even more curious that the family continues to seemingly blindly trust a man with even less connection or expertise in the product, the family’s former accountant, Ted Phillips?
To be fair, that doesn’t mean that McCaskey or Phillips are bad businessmen, unable to keep the business afloat or for that matter make a lot of money.
They actually did a hell of a job of it.
But first, McCaskey told us on Monday, “I’m just a fan. I’m not a soccer reviewer.”
Then McCaskey said this in response to a question about whether or not Matt Nagy had discussed relinquishing the starting quarterback position to Justin Fields.
“Matt and I talked about it,” McCaskey said. “At one point he asked me what I was thinking and I said, ‘I’m uncomfortable that you even ask me the question. “”
It only remains to wonder how McCaskey expects to build a winning team.
If that’s what he chooses to be, of course that’s his right. But how can you expect him to hire or fire his top footballers if he has nothing but a fan’s most often colorful view of the product?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
The two most similar ownership situations in the NFL are the Pittsburgh Rooneys, who have only hired three coaches in over 50 years – Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin – and since 1991 two general managers – Tom Donahoe and Kevin Colbert – and have been among the best and most successful organizations in the NFL.
The Mara and Tisch families in New York City selected Hall of Famer George Young, Ernie Accorsi and Jerry Reese as general managers, and coaches Bill Parcells, also in Canton, and Tom Coughlin.
The reason is that Rooney and Mara’s children and grandchildren, beyond being raised around the game, have studied it with passion all their lives. Now the third generations of both families, raised in the same way, are waiting behind the scenes.
For whatever reason, none of the McCaskey children chose this route, and to my knowledge there are also no grandchildren currently in the pipeline.
That’s why they desperately need Polian.
In his first year as Bills general manager, Polian hired future Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy and then put together the teams that would go to four back-to-back Super Bowls.
After a three-year hiatus from the game, Polian resumed the Carolina Panthers expansion in 1995, hired 1996 NFL Coach of the Year Dom Capers, and built the squad that would go to the NFC Title game in its second season only.
In 1998, he took over the Indianapolis Colts, hiring first Tony Dungy and then Jim Caldwell, who combined the two to lead them to eight straight playoffs, a victory over the Bears in Super Bowl 41 and a loss in Super. Bowl against the Saints three years later.
The list of Identified and Written Polian Hall of Famers and All-Pros is too long for this space.
There is simply no one else in the NFL landscape with those credentials to match McCaskey’s self-proclaimed lack of expertise.
Although retired for a decade, Polian has remained very active and visible to the media side and as well connected as anyone in the company.
To those of you who are working overtime to eliminate the occasional hiccup on the Polian Hall of Fame resume, please!
Find us perfect and then we can talk.
This is why Polian is so perfect for this task. He is clearly the closest.