The most recent name to emerge as an option for the Chicago Bears GM position is Eliot Wolf. For those football historians out there, the last name is probably familiar. He is the son of Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf, the famed architect of the Green Bay Packers’ resurgence in the 1990s that culminated in their 1996 Super Bowl victory. His trade for quarterback Brett Favre and signing of star pass rusher Reggie White altered the course of the franchise. Several quality drafts soon made them an NFC powerhouse.
Perhaps what stands out most about Wolf’s legacy is the incredible array of future GMs he produced. GMs that would go on to build championship rosters. Ted Thompson was a scout under him in the ’90s and eventually became Packers GM in 2005. He rebuilt the team into a champion by 2010. John Dorsey was another scout that rose through the Green Bay ranks, become Kansas City Chiefs GM in 2013. He laid the entire foundation of their eventual championship team six years later.
Last but not least was John Schneider.
Wolf brought him in as a scout in 1993 and they spent four seasons together. Schneider went elsewhere for a time before returning in 2002. There he rose up the ranks and eventually became GM of the Seattle Seahawks. Together with head coach Pete Carroll, they rapidly rebuilt the roster into a defensive powerhouse. Together with a two-man duo on offense of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, they stampeded to a title in 2013.
Contrary to popular myth though, there was no nepotism involving Eliot.
Wolf had been retired for years by the time his son joined the Packers as a scout in 2004. That didn’t stop the young man from proving himself over the next several years. He had a big hand in their long run of success to follow, eventually becoming a vice president of football operations by 2016. After being passed over for GM in favor of Brian Gutekunst, he left in 2018. Since then he’s played a big part in helping the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots successfully overhaul their rosters.
Wolf explained to Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times that despite his personal bias, Eliot has proven he is ready to be a GM.
“You have to understand that I’m his father,” Ron Wolf told the Sun-Times on Wednesday. “But let me say one thing: He is his own man. I’m delighted he’s going to get this opportunity and I know there are a lot of people also in line to get it. Does he deserve the opportunity [to interview]? I certainly think so. He’s paid his dues. It’s interesting because he kind of grew up in that division…
…I could only go on what people who have worked with him have told me,” Ron Wolf said, “people who have had success in the game and they’re very high on him. He’s had some good teachers: Ted Thompson, Reggie McKenzie, John Schneider — those are three pretty good ones.”
Bears are right to give Eliot Wolf a serious look
Not only because he’s highly experienced but still quite young (39-years old), but also because he has a deep understanding of both the Packers and Patriots. Two of the most consistently successful organizations in the NFL. This gives him valuable insight into what it takes to build a winning culture and sustain it from year to year. The fact he’s well-traveled by now also means he should have strong connections around the league.
What it will come down to is the interview itself. As of right now, the rumblings are Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds and former Texans GM Rick Smith are the favorites to land the Chicago Bears GM position. That is far from guaranteed though. All it takes is for somebody to come in and nail their interview. Similar to how Ryan Pace did back in 2015. Eliot Wolf has a chance to do exactly that. Having his father as a sounding board to prepare him certainly won’t hurt.