Obvious fan impatience with the thorough Bears hiring process needs to be dialed back.
It's true some teams are either wrapping up preliminary interviews for positions or already have. The Vikings, for instance, have reportedly finished their initial GM interviews. The Giants are asking Joe Schoen back for a second interview.
The Bears are trying to be thorough, but who can blame them? Then again, it's easy to see why Bears fans feel like they're sitting around waiting for white smoke to emerge from the chimney of Halas Hall.
There are reasons this process needs to take longer.
When they hired former GM Ryan Pace, it was all of 11 days after they fired GM Phil Emery. When Pace announced the hiring of Matt Nagy, it was a week after the firing of John Fox.
How did rushing into those situations work out for them? We all know the answer.
Calcuate in the fact the Bears are interviewing candidates for both positions and the process is naturally going to be a bit laborious.
When they had a GM in place already and head coach was his decision, they could skip over the long interview list and proceed directly into a short list Pace had been compiling all along. So they got Matt Nagy in a week's time, fresh off the Chiefs' blown playoff game against Tennessee. Now there is no GM to help, just Bill Polian, and as an advisor he hasn't been in the league since 2012. He had to get a list together when they already had theirs working for past hires.
2. The Schedule
It's later in January now because the schedule runs later than in the past. They have only gone nine days now since the season ended. The Super Bowl is a week later this year. The entire postseason process is a week later, so don't look at the calendar.
3. The Process
The Bears actually have a clear and verifiable process for how they're doing this. Or at least the participants in the process and the interviews they've conducted are being reported by the team so it seems more transparent. It's not a clandestine rush job. It's not Pace, George McCaskey and Ted Phillips surviving a very rough flight to interview Josh McDaniels quickly so they could make it look like they were thorough when they planned all along to announce Nagy as head coach.
They're actually taking care to really consider minority candidates rather than just trying to meet the Rooney rule obligations like seemed to happen so often with NFL teams in the past. Having VP of diversity, equity and inclusion Tanesha Wade involved is an essential part of this, but the Bears really are making every effort to bring in serious minority candidates. More than half the GM candidates are minority members and half the initial 10 coaching candidates are.
5. Proper Protocol
"Ideally, the GM would be selected first but if we see a head coach candidate we think is the right one, we’re going to do what it takes to get him in-house," McCaskey said at the season-ending press conference. Understandably, the GM list is longer than the coaching list. They could get even more coaching candidates as this goes along. Some possible coaching candidates might be added if they get a GM, and they could be assistant coaches still participating in the playoffs.
All of this said, the Bears are working against a clock as many of their candidates are being considered for jobs elsewhere, too. For example, Ryan Poles is a GM candidate for three teams.
There is also the back-channel drama of Jim Harbaugh to consider. He's not someone they necessarily need to put on any kind of list, but a GM hire might then make an interview of Harbaugh possible even if it's not made public. If they want the GM on board before hiring the coach, it would help to let him interview Harbaugh. Also, it doesn't help Harbaugh to be publicizing his NFL candidacy when he's in the middle of recruiting players to Michigan.
Toss all of these factors into the hopper and impatient fans simply need to realize the committee is doing what's necessary to get this right.
"It's time for us to give them the winner they deserve," McCaskey said.
Time being the key word here, because it takes some.
Then again, they took a full 25 days after they fired GM Jerry Angelo in 2012 to hire Phil Emery and look how that turned out. And he was someone who had already worked for them, so they knew him.
No matter who is involved in the process, there's always the possibility they come up with the wrong answer.