Matt Eberflus Winning Over Critics Even with Hot Seat Nearby

On one hand Matt Eberflus is favorite for coach of the year while critics rush to defend him. On the other hand, he's among favorites for the hot seat. Ultimately it all makes sense in this NFL.
Matt Eberflus listens to a point being made by Nsimba Webster at Bears minicamp. Eberflus is a coach of the year favorite but also said to be one of the hot seat candidates.
Matt Eberflus listens to a point being made by Nsimba Webster at Bears minicamp. Eberflus is a coach of the year favorite but also said to be one of the hot seat candidates. / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

It's the Hyman Roth effect again.

"This is the business we've chosen," said Roth, the Godfather II antagonist.

No matter what Matt Eberflus does, he's going to be cast as a coach on the hot seat until the Bears actually have accomplished something beyond win several late-season games over struggling teams. 

Even though the Bears coach is a co-coach of the year favorite according to DraftKings (+900) and second for coach of the year according to FanDuel (+1000), Eberflus remains very much one of the coaches in play for the proverbial hot seat.

At least this is the view at CBS Sports, where Cody Benjamin has him ranked with the eight coaches who are "hot seat" candidates.

Eberflus brought the Bears defense up from the depths of the league at 31st overall to 12th last year and they led in rushing defense while finishing tied for the takeaway lead. Still, he is No. 4 on the list of coaches most likely to be hot seat candidates.

Eberflus is even ahead of perennial hot seat candidate Mike McCarthy, whose departure always seems to be a Jerry Jones whim and phone call from occurring.

Jets coach Robert Saleh is No. 1, Giants coach Brian Daboll No. 2 and Saints coach Dennis Allen No. 3 on this list.

McCarthy was fifth. Of the top four, only Daboll has had his team in the playoffs.

The Bears last were in the playoffs in 2020 under Matt Nagy, with a .500 record. They have had one winning season since 2012.

Benjamin noted how the Bears defense improved and upgrades GM Ryan Poles has made to the roster, including QB Caleb Williams, wide receivers Rome Odunze and Keenan Allen and running back D'Andre Swift.

"Even so, 10 wins in his first two seasons means there will be pressure to finally sniff the playoff race and/or properly shepherd Williams' development, one year after his staff endured in-season turnover," Benjamin wrote.

The head coach must take responsibility for in-season staff turnover, even if the situations didn't arise from football—defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned and later running backs coach David Walker was fired following human resource investigations. And Eberflus did own up to the fact he is the man in charge after the season and when those incidents occurred.

All of that is ancient history now, and the Bears appear set up for success with the third easiest schedule according to opponents' winning percentage. Eberflus has even won over many of his harshest critics in the media.

As anyone knows, however, the hot seat becomes easier to find if a team loses against teams it is expected to beat.

And it's always easier to find it again until your team has actually accomplished something in the wins department.

This is the business they've chosen.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

Published |Modified
Gene Chamberlain

GENE CHAMBERLAIN publisher Gene Chamberlain has covered the Chicago Bears full time as a beat writer since 1994 and prior to this on a part-time basis for 10 years. He covered the Bears as a beat writer for Suburban Chicago Newspapers, the Daily Southtown, Copley News Service and has been a contributor for the Daily Herald, the Associated Press, Bear Report, CBS and The Sporting News. He also has worked a prep sports writer for Tribune Newspapers and Sun-Times newspapers.