Chicago Bears Coaching Search: Is It Out of Control, or Is Emery Sly as a Fox?

Bob WarjaSenior Writer IJanuary 10, 2013

Is this man a spy?
Is this man a spy?David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I can see it now: a new game show hosted by Regis Philbin called "Who Wants to Be the Next Bears Head Coach?" And even you, dear reader, may be a candidate!

But seriously, I know many of you are wondering what the heck is going on with Phil Emery's coaching search. He has interviewed, or is scheduled to interview, 13 folks, all of whom are offensive coordinators or special teams coaches with one glaring exception.

That exception is Mike Singletary. The addition of his name has gotten Bears fans in a tizzy, but not to worry. I believe that Emery is just doing this as a favor to Singletary and the McCaskeys and the former middle linebacker is not going to be the next Bears head coach.

That is a good thing, because Singletary was a dismal failure in San Francisco. That point is proven by the fact that the same team that went 6-10 under him ended up developing into a Super Bowl contender once he left the building.

So just what is going on with the search? Well, there are a couple schools of thought regarding the rather lengthy list of candidates that GM Phil Emery has assembled for the Bears' head coaching vacancy. There are those who say the list is too long and is getting unwieldy, while the other camp believes that Emery may be using this as an fact-finding mission.

Only Emery knows the truth, of course, but since we in the media love to speculate—after all, gossip isn't just for those who watch The View—let's take a look at what's been going on and examine why the process has seemingly gotten out of control.


Does Emery have a plan?

The first question that some people ask when discussing the Bears' coaching search is whether Emery has a plan or not. The rationale behind this thinking is that in order to fire a somewhat successful head coach like Lovie Smith, one would have figured that the GM would have had a candidate in mind.

But the problem I have with this line of reason is two-fold. First, that wouldn't seem to fit what we've learned about Emery as a person and as a manager. He seems very organized, as his presser would indicate, so to believe he doesn't have a plan seems ludicrous to me.

Additionally, one has to bear in mind that the league has the so-called "Rooney Rule" that requires a minority candidate get interviewed, so even if Emery had someone in mind, he would have needed to add at least one name to the list in order to satisfy that requirement.

Incidentally, I have heard from people—even some minorities—who think the Rooney rule is a waste of time. And, on the surface, I suppose it does seem almost degrading to interview someone who has no chance of being hired.

But one thing to consider is that it does allow a candidate to go through the process and learn from it, so he can interview better the next time. It also gets his name out there in the public spotlight, which could help with future coaching vacancies.

And who knows, perhaps someone could "wow" a GM during an otherwise meaningless interview and actually become a real candidate.


Is Emery biding his time?

Another reason why Emery may be casting such a wide net in his search could be that he knows he has to wait for Bruce Arians' health issues to be put aside, as well as having to wait while candidates who are in the playoffs become available to interview a second time.

With that train of thought, perhaps Emery feels he may as well spend that time in a productive manner, interviewing as many candidates as possible rather than sitting idly by.


Due Diligence?

Perhaps Emery is just doing his due diligence, even if he has a couple top candidates in mind, just to make sure that the guy he hires is the right one for the job.

Plus, in order to make friends around the league, and to show respect for his own head coaching candidates, especially Dave Toub, maybe Emery feels an obligation to interview more people for the job.


Espionage Mission?

Then there are those who believe that Emery is on a fact-finding mission, using the process to learn about his own team as well as gaining critical information about other teams.

The problem I have with the second part of this idea is that I doubt that these coaches are telling intimate team secrets to Emery, nor are they revealing plans to him. But he may be getting a fresh perspective about his own team, and if that is happening, that could be of some value.

(Note to conspiracy theorists: Phil Emery is a bookseller in the UK associated with books about spying, such as this one).


So just what do you think is going on with Emery's coaching search? Also comment if you've been asked to interview so I can update my running list.