Given the McCaskeys’ track record, what are the odds the Bears get the coach and GM right this time?

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SHARE Given the McCaskeys’ track record, what are the odds the Bears get the coach and GM right this time?
Former Colts executive Bill Polian talks to a reporter before a game between Indianapolis and Miami in 2019.

Former Colts executive Bill Polian talks to a reporter before a game between Indianapolis and Miami in 2019.

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The Bears certainly are busy doing stuff. Talking to job candidates. Gathering intelligence. Diligently doing due diligence. Making friends. So much activity. It almost takes your breath away, this bustle.

Keeping up with who’s on their interview list for coach and general manager is like watching the stock ticker on CNBC. So far, the Bears have met with six coaches about the job Matt Nagy used to have and eight personnel types about the job Ryan Pace once called his. Pretty much everybody from the Colts and the Bills has or will get interviews. It’s probably complete coincidence that one of the major players on the Bears’ search committee is Bill Polian, a former general manager in Buffalo and a former GM and team president in Indianapolis. But if you happen to have a Peyton Manning or Jim Kelly jersey in your closet, don’t be surprised if get you a phone call from Halas Hall.

Given the Bears’ track record over most of the past three decades, it’s difficult to look at all of this without smirking (if you’re a cynic) or weeping (if you’re someone who thinks winning a Super Bowl is sort of the whole idea).

My fellow smirking cynics know the long history of bungling under McCaskey ownership. There was 1999, when the Bears prematurely announced that they had hired Dave McGinnis as their head coach, only for McGinnis to say he had never agreed to their offer. No deal and, hello, Dick Jauron. The Bears could have had Bruce Arians as their head coach in 2013 but instead chose Marc Trestman. They could have drafted Patrick Mahomes in 2017 but instead picked Mitch Trubisky.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that because the franchise blew those situations that it will botch the decisions in front of them now. But, well, you know.

The generous thing to do would be to buy into Polian’s Hall of Fame career as reason to believe that this is the time that the Bears finally get it right. He won a Super Bowl with the Colts, went to three straight Super Bowls with the Bills and went to an NFC Championship Game with the Panthers. That’s a lot of excellence. But the Bears have been a lot of blah under the McCaskeys, and when you think about these two worlds colliding, you can’t help but think that beige will prevail.

I’d recommend not falling in love with whomever the Bears hire for their coach or general manager, at least not right off the bat, but I know some fans can’t help themselves. They’re the ones whose candle for this franchise somehow remains lit. They’re the ones who flog themselves daily with an official Bears stick.

But keep in mind that it’s a crapshoot. Nobody knows which candidate will succeed and which one won’t. So that could be good news. Or it could be the scariest news of all. It’s about luck, and the McCaskeys don’t appear to be in possession of the good kind. So what’s likely to happen here?

The Bears fell in love with Nagy because he came highly recommended by Chiefs coach Andy Reid, a giant in the game. Recommendations are huge in the hiring process. Pace might have had 15 pages of questions for each coaching candidate in 2018, but Reid’s endorsement and Nagy’s nice guy-ness were probably enough to carry the day — that and Nagy saying he really, really wanted to be the Bears’ head coach, which caused chairman George McCaskey to lose all bodily function for a few moments.

The hope would be that Polian is above the who-knows-who boys’ club that is the NFL. Given that he has been out of the league for 10 years, perhaps he has had time to observe people and situations without emotion or outside influence, like a scientist peering through a microscope. But then you see that the Bears are interviewing both Bills coordinators, the Colts defensive coordinator, a former Colts head coach, the Colts director of college scouting, the Colts assistant general manager and the Bills assistant director of player personnel. And you say to yourself, “Fingers crossed!”

It would be nice if whomever the Bears hire for coach or GM didn’t say in his interview what he thought the team wanted to hear. But I’m not optimistic about that either. Do you think any candidate in his right mind would tell the Bears that Justin Fields isn’t nearly as good as the franchise thinks he is? And do you think the Bears would want to hear it?

With this team, you can’t be hopeful and afraid at the same time without pulling a muscle. Pick a side.

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