The winds of change are blowing through the Windy City.
The 36-year-old Poles has spent the last 13 years with the Chiefs, winning a Super Bowl with the team in 2020. Now, he’ll be tasked with finding the Bears’ next head coach, as well as with building a roster around second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
Poles was a finalist for the Carolina Panthers’ GM opening in 2021, and was also a finalist for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants general manager positions, so he is held in high regard throughout the league. After Schefter initially reported the news, one top Bears insider shared details of what went down behind the scenes when Poles was hired.
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Bears Insider Has Encouraging Comments About Poles
Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog revealed via Twitter that all five members of Chicago’s selection committee had Poles ranked as the top candidate after interviews. The Bears’ search team was made up of Bears Chairman George McCaskey, team President Ted Phillips, Hall of Fame ex-Colts executive Bill Polian, Bears director of player engagement Lamar “Soup” Campbell and Bears Senior VP for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Tanesha Wade, and Poles clearly made an impression.
Hughes also revealed Poles would be conducting at least three head coach interviews himself: with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, with ex-Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and with Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
Hughes noted Poles would be doing the interviewing “exclusively,” which suggests McCaskey and the rest of the search committee will not be involved.
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Hughes Says Poles ‘Demanded’ Control of Team From McCaskey
McCaskey and the Bears don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to hiring general managers. The team’s previous three GMs, Jerry Angelo (2001-11), Phil Emery (2012-14) and Ryan Pace (2015-2021) had three playoff wins between them over the last two decades — and Angelo had all three.
When the Bears hired Pace in 2015, Hub Arkush, insider for Chicago’s 670 The Score, said on the December 28 episode of the Parkins & Spiegel show that team management pushed hard for Pace — who was a first-time GM — to hire veteran coach John Fox even though Pace wanted to hire Quinn. The Bears hired Fox, who wound up finishing last in the NFC North in each of his three seasons while amassing an overall record of 14 wins and 34 losses.
According to Hughes, Poles “demanded” a strong degree of autonomy from McCaskey when taking the position.
With Poles said to be leading the team’s search for a new head coach, whether McCaskey stays on the sidelines remains to be seen. Early word on Chicago’s new GM has been predominantly positive, which is a good sign for Bears Nation.
Anthony Herron of Chicago’s 670 The Score tweeted he was told Poles is “a really special dude … Smart. Organized. Detailed. Real Football guy with modern day philosophical approach … Combines old school and new school.”
Sounds like a solid combination. We’ll see who he chooses to lead the team, which will say a great deal about him, as well.