Word around the New England Patriots that Bill Belichick might somehow come available on the coaching market, based on reporting by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, didn’t create much more than a brief what-if buzz in various cities of teams in search of head coaches. It shouldn’t have.
One big reason was laid out by Paul McCartney, who is reported to have said in response to one in the constant stream of questions about a Beatles reunion, “You can’t reheat a soufflé.”
More to the Bears case in point, notably perhaps, none of the candidates targeted in the early days of the search are coming directly from head-coaching spots. The only two at this point with head-coaching experience – New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (Denver), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur (Cleveland) – flopped as head coaches, other than Shurmur going 1-0 as Eagles interim coach after Chip Kelly was fired.
Successful head coaches who suddenly become available for reasons other than via basic fired-for-losing usually sound good; they come with records of proven success. Jon Gruden in Oakland?
But the Bears just got over one of those – John Fox – and the likelihood that Bears GM Ryan Pace would entertain hiring another 60-something head coach is considerably short of zero. And Fox came nowhere near repeating the turnaround successes he’d accomplished in Carolina and Denver, probably because he couldn’t bring Peyton Manning and Von Miller with him.
Sometimes second-chance coaches do work out, quite nicely. Dick Vermeil left Philadelphia after a run of playoffs with the Eagles, then came back from 15 years in the broadcast booth to take both St. Louis and then Kansas City to the playoffs in his third seasons with each.
Bill Parcells got every team he head-coached to the playoffs – the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys – and wasn’t fired from any of his postings. Tony Dungy and Marty Schottenheimer achieved more success with teams after being fired than they did with teams that fired them.
Jim Schwartz retuned to respectability as Eagles defensive coordinator after his 29-51 five years coaching the Detroit Lions. But Schwartz does not fit any of the template that the Bears appear to have set with the majority of their other candidates.