There is a strong Indianapolis Colts influence to the Bears coaching hunt at the moment, even if that franchise's contributions to the GM hunt has diminished with the withdrawal of Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds.
Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus must be regarded the current favorite as the only candidate to get a second interview for now, but there is no indication the Bears' hiring committee is finishing up with initial interviews of the coaches yet.
On Friday, the Bears were to interview Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the former Bears cornerback and Vikings head coach. Much speculation or "insider" reporting centered around Frazier being among favorites even before his interview.
On Friday, ESPN's Dan Graziano reported former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell turned down requests for interviews from the Minnesota Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders and that this "indicates strongly" that Caldwell believes he is a strong candidate for both the Bears and Jacksonville jobs. He interviewed already for both.
Graziano concludes, "If I had to bet right now, I'd say Caldwell ends up in Chicago, where former Colts general manager Bill Polian is helping direct the search, though it's obviously interesting that Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is scheduled for a second interview there."
Reports of these types do nothing but fuel speculation. The report was almost comical when Graziano reported he was told "...there's still support for Frazier in their building."
In their building? From the cooks in the players' cafeteria, the janitors? The team hasn't interviewed Frazier yet so strong support in the building is too ambiguous and perhaps premature.
If it means the Bears are planning to hire from a list of people only with past ties to Polian, then George McCaskey definitely isn't getting his money's worth out of his top assistant on the committee for hiring. The Bears owner surely could have simply put in a phone call to Polian at the outset and asked ahead of time who had been a coach for one of his Colts teams to consider as a coach.
Of all the people in the league who can interview and be hired for Bears coach and we are left to believe all Polian can come up with is Caldwell, a head coach he once hired already, or Frazier, an assistant on the Super Bowl team he built that beat the Bears in January of 2007?
At least Eberflus carries a bit more promise as a coach on the rise and not someone whose defense collapsed once he became head coach of the Vikings, like with Frazier from 2011-2013. And at least Eberflus has no past ties to Polian other than he works for the Irsay family, which brought Indianapolis its team by vacating Baltimore under cloak of darkness.
Frazier hadn't even interviewed, as of Friday morning so let's at least make him go through this silly little formality before anointing him a finalist.
If these truly are the top picks Polian could come up with for consideration, then McCaskey already has flopped in trying to find someone for the franchise as head coach and Polian has failed him.
"We will be thorough, diligent and exhaustive," McCaskey told everyone.
He might as well have said Polian will be thorough and exhaustive at exploring all possible ties to his old franchise.
The last anyone checked, the Colts won a single Super Bowl. Polian won only one Super Bowl in all his years as an NFL executive. It's not like he or Indy have a history of producing champions.
It kind of helped they had Peyton Manning. In fact, if not for an ill-advised Rex Grossman pass and Muhsin Muhammad's inability to simply reach out and pull Kelvin Hayden a foot or two out of bounds, the Colts might not even have that Lombardi Trophy and there would be two in that trophy case with cobwebs on it at Halas Hall.
There is one tie to Indianapolis not yet explored, apparently. It's one they should be more serious about but it's an Indy tie that occurred before Polian came there from Carolina.
Indy's Captain Comeback, Jim Harbaugh, hasn't been contacted yet by the Bears, according to former Bears coach Dave Wannstedt.
Talking Thursday on the Parkins and Spiegel Show, Wannstedt said that he has been told of Harbaugh, "...he has not been contacted by the Bears."
Negligence doesn't appropriately describe this process if this truly is the case.
Polian and McCaskey need to expand their scope outside the Indianapolis city limits a bit. They've talked to Doug Pederson and Mat Flores and yet the search is centering around only people Polian hired or people who work for his old organization.
The Bears asked Polian to interview coaching candidates from around the league to find one, not to just consider cronies.
Indianapolis is a nice place to go to watch a race, to go for the scouting combine, or to have a steak at St. Elmo's. It's not the beat-all, end-all for head coaches.