With the Chicago Bears losing their sixth straight game for the first time since 2002, change is surely coming to the Windy City. The Bears haven’t won a playoff game since general manager Ryan Pace took over in 2015, and his two head coach selections, John Fox and Matt Nagy, both failed to turn the team around.
As a result, Pace, Nagy and even Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips are on the hot seat — and there’s a name that’s gaining a great deal of buzz in and around Chicago as a potential replacement for Pace, Phillips or both: Two-time Super Bowl winner Peyton Manning.
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Bears Fans, a Few Analysts, Calling for Manning-to-Bears
Bears fans, in particular, have been vocal about wanting Manning to come to the front office despite his lack of experience as an NFL executive. Manning’s easygoing personality coupled with his unparalleled work ethic when he played are primary reasons many think Manning would be a good fit in Chicago.
Fans have also been mentioning his (albeit loose) ties to the Bears. Manning bonded with team matriarch Virginia McCaskey when he interviewed her last year during the Bears’ 100-year anniversary celebration. The interview was used for a segment of his ESPN series Peyton’s Places, and in it, he established a firm knowledge of Bears history and lore.
“In a lot of ways, this is kind of where my position sort of was born, right here,” Manning said about Soldier Field in Chicago, via Dan Pompei of The Athletic. “The quarterback position with [Sid] Luckman and the T-formation…(George) Halas got that started.”
There are now a growing number of calls by analysts for the Bears to pursue Manning, as well, but would Manning consider a job in the Windy City?
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Tony Dungy: Manning Will Likely Be Ready for Front Office Role in 3-4 Years
Tony Dungy, who coached Manning for seven seasons in Indianapolis, winning a Super Bowl in that time, appeared on ESPN 1000s Waddle and Silvy last week. When former Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle asked the Hall of Fame coach whether he thought Manning would be back in the game in some form, perhaps as a GM or President of Football Operations somewhere, Dungy said this:
“I’ve talked to him a few times and I think he really wants to be in the game, but his kids are at a point now — and he knows himself, and he knows that if he goes back in it, he’s gonna be 100 miles per hour, he’s gonna be at that office a lot. Does he want to do that to his family right now? I think there’s opportunities that he would like to have, and he’d like to do it, but he wants to be fair to his family, so I think it’s going to be three or four years, but I think you will see him back in some organization.”
Would Manning turn down a ton of cash and an offer to be President of the Bears right now?
“I don’t know that he’d say yes this year, but you’d get him to listen, and then maybe … in two more years you might get him.” Dungy replied. “He likes a challenge. You can tell him he’s got a big challenge there, so maybe that might get him,” Dungy added with a laugh.
Manning also told Bleacher Report in May that working as an executive in the league was “Just not something that I have moved on yet,” — although he seemed open to it in the future, mirroring what Dungy said just a week ago.
Bears fans who are holding their breath hoping for Manning to come to Chicago to save the day are likely to be disappointed. His lack of experience in the front office coupled with his disinterest and a few questionable previous recommendations (he recommended Adam Gase for the Jets’ coaching position) should leave him off the list, at least for now.