George S. Halas was the king of the Chicago Bears. Not the head coach or general manager. Not the Director of College Scouting. Not the Player Personnel Consultant. He was the king. And he ruled with a fist that would make iron blush. The Bears don’t need to replace their offensive coordinator or adjust controls inside the war room. They need to anoint a leader. They need a king. The king’s name is Mike Holmgren.
There are viable general manager candidates out there that could stabilize the front office. Ernie Accorsi risked his reputation on Eli Manning and won the Giants a Super Bowl. Charley Casserly risked his reputation and took Mario Williams over Reggie Bush – a move that made him the laughing stock of the NFL. Has everyone sent their letters of apology to this now-genius bit of evaluation?
There are also viable coaching candidates. I favor Shanny’s ability to implement the stretch running game and utilize the ability of quarterback Jay Cutler over Bill Cowher’s grit but really couldn’t complain if either was brought in to lead the team.
But Mike Holmgren is a different story. The big man studied coaching under the great Bill Walsh in San Francisco and management under the brilliant Ron Wolf in Green Bay. He elevated the Seattle Seahawks to consistent success for a decade. (There are even rumors of Holmgren returning to run the ‘Hawks.) Holmgren would receive total control of football operations and thus total accountability for the ballclub’s success or failure.
Hiring Mike as the man upstairs could also lead to a second coup: a high-profile, Holmgren disciple as coach. Might it be enough to convince Jon Gruden to spare the nation another year of that inane blabber he spews on Monday nights? Gruden would be, in a lot of ways, a remarkable hire. A combination of Shanny’s offensive ingenuity and Cowher’s fire.
Do I think this will happen? No. But this is how the Bears should be thinking. Big. Don’t tweak. Overhaul. Don’t tinker. Rebuild. And do it with the football people who earn respect merely by walking through the door. How would you feel about Holmgren/Gruden in 2010? I’d feel pretty damn confident.