It is always important not to get swept away in media narratives regarding decisions made by the Chicago Bears. Yes, Matt Eberflus was not the expected choice when GM Ryan Poles hired him last month. What must be made clear is the media or fans did not expect him. Inside NFL circles, plenty of people weren’t surprised. That includes other potential GM candidates, by the sound of things.
Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian spoke to Adam Jahns of The Athletic about the entire process that led to Poles and Eberflus arriving in Chicago. It was here he explained one common misconception. The idea that Eberflus was some wild card choice out of nowhere. This wasn’t the case at all, far from it. From what Polian says, it seems the former Colts defensive coordinator was a prominent option for several other GM hopefuls. That includes some who interviewed for the Bears job.
The next step — or the “outgrowth,” as Polian called it — was understanding how such philosophies led to not only cap operation or personnel selections but also the relationship with the head coach. GM candidates submitted their lists for coaching candidates to the Bears. Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was included by Poles and others.
“You’d be surprised; while not homogeneous, the same names cropped up time and time again,” Polian said. “So it wasn’t unanimous, but certainly there was a plurality of the same names. So we felt good about that going forward. And we certainly felt good about that with respect to Ryan when we zeroed in on the people that he wanted to talk to.
Matt Eberflus deserved his opportunity
This was not a case similar to Marc Trestman or Matt Nagy. Trestman spent almost a decade away from the NFL toiling in Canada. While he did succeed there, the CFL isn’t in the same league in terms of talent, competition, or personalities. Nagy was an offensive coordinator for just two years in Kansas City. Most of that time was spent not calling plays and having direct control of the offense. One could’ve made an easy argument he wasn’t ready.
Such was not the case with Matt Eberflus. The man was far more experienced and prepared for this than previous candidates. He’d spent four years having total control of the Indianapolis Colts defense, leading them to three top 10 finishes in four years. Before that, he’d spent eight seasons running the defense at Missouri from 2001 to 2008. That gave him over a decade to get ready for this chance.
That is why he sounds so self-confident when he speaks. It isn’t arrogance. It is a hard-won experience. Something purchased through years of hard work and learning from mistakes. Several GM candidates recognized this in doing their research on him. Kudos to Poles for having the courage to ignore the media narratives and giving the guy a shot.