With the conclusion of arguably the greatest Divisional Playoffs in NFL history, the table appears set for the Chicago Bears. Every head coach candidate they have interviewed or will interview this coming week is available to hire immediately. Such became the case after Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and Buffalo were knocked out of the tournament in some epic games. That list includes Nathaniel Hackett, Todd Bowles, Byron Leftwich, and Brian Daboll.
Insiders have fired back and forth on who the favorite could be for the job. ESPN initially went with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Since then they have shifted to former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. Then there is Brian Flores, somebody the Bears are reportedly “smitten” with after a strong interview this past week. Matt Eberflus, the Colts defensive coordinator, is the only one to have a second interview planned.
However, I am here to present my case that it is in fact Daboll who is the favorite. This isn’t based on pure inside information but instead on strong pieces of evidence pointing that way. They require some educated guessing but the warning signs are there.
Evidence is mounting that Brian Daboll seems like the favorite
Reason #1: Recent success
There isn’t much left to say. Daboll has done outstanding work for the past three years in Buffalo, turning a struggling Bills offense into a top 5 powerhouse. What he did with quarterback Josh Allen deserves special note. The former 7th overall pick went from raw project to superstar. The coach had his offense score a combined 93 points in their two playoff appearances this month with Allen throwing nine touchdown passes. Daboll doesn’t really have anything left to prove. He showed everybody he can make it happen as an offensive play caller. If they want somebody to help Justin Fields ascend, few are more qualified.
Reason #2: Interviewed well and the insider connection
Daboll conducted his interview with the Bears last week. According to Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog, the meeting went well. So it seems he made a positive impression. That is a vital piece to the puzzle when the McCaskeys are involved. Then there is Benjamin Allbright. The NFL insider has said since all the way back in November that Daboll was the “leader in the clubhouse” for Chicago’s head coaching job if and when Nagy was fired. Allbright is known for having good information on such things and hasn’t backed off that stance since then.
Reason #3: The GM dot-connecting
This one might be the most overlooked but it could become prevalent in the next few days. When examining the list of GMs the Bears have interviewed thus far, it is worth noting this. Three of them have direct ties to Brian Daboll. Chiefs director of player personnel Ryan Poles, who is set for a second interview this week, spent a season in Kansas City together in 2012. Jeff Ireland did the same when he was GM of the Dolphins in 2011. Then there is Monti Ossenfort, the Titans VP of player personnel. He knows Daboll better than most, having worked with him from 2013 to 2016, winning two Super Bowls in New England.
Pole obviously impressed in his first interview and rumors are Ossenfort did the same. Ireland has ties to the Bears organization too, his grandfather Jim Parmer being a prominent scouting director for them in 1980s. It wouldn’t be a shock if any of those guys are championing Daboll as somebody they’d want to bring in.
There is a wrinkle in this plan. That being the New York Giants. They just hired a new GM Joe Schoen, the former Buffalo Bills assistant GM. He has worked with Daboll going back four years and the Giants have already interviewed him twice too. If that weren’t enough, somebody with connections to the new GM indicated that Daboll to the Big Apple should be counted on.
And, he’ll be introduced in NY later this week.
— Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey) January 24, 2022
— Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey) January 21, 2022
Something like that can’t be ignored. Brian Daboll might be atop the Bears’ list but it also may not matter. New York has a strong connection via the GM and it’s worth noting he also went to high school and college in New York state. He grew up in the Giants’ backyard. That is a lot to overcome. So unless another candidate draws New York’s gaze, the Daboll plan may not come together.