Saturday, January 17, 2015

Crazy like a Fox

So the Bears have a new coach now, and what you can at least say about him is that, as retreads go, he's still got a fair about of wear left on him. But is John Fox is a great hire?

Beats me. What's "a great hire"?

These days, "great hire" seems to be code for "he'd better be putting his fingerprints on the Lombardi Trophy within three years." By that measure, there are very few great hires in the NFL anymore. What there are, instead, are a lot of good hires, garnished with a smattering of OK hires and "meh" hires.

Say this about Fox: He's not the latter. And there's a lot of other things he's not.

He's not, to begin with, Jim Tomsula. The 49ers just made him their new head coach mainly because he's a nice guy who gets along with management. His only previous head coaching experience wasn't even in the Western Hemisphere (Rhein Fire, Germany, NFL Europe). That pretty makes him the working definition of a "meh" hire.

Fox is also not a guy whose last known address (speaking of the Rhein Fire) was the Toronto Argonauts. Or the Montreal Alouettes. The Bears tried going that route. It didn't work out so well.

Instead, what they get with Fox is a guy who's won 119 games as an NFL head coach. And who's gotten two different teams to the Super Bowl. And whose Carolina teams in particular were defensively stout -- in five of his eight years, they ranked in the top five in the NFL in fewest points and yards allowed -- which would seem to put him in good stead with the Bears, home to Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary and defenses that traditionally would just as soon punch you in the face as look at you.

So he's got that going for him.

You can wonder how he'll get along with Jay Cutler, but, given that it's Cutler, you'd wonder that even if the Bears hired Gandhi. And you can wrinkle your brow, if you like, about the fact that, in two of Fox's four seasons in Denver, the Broncos lost at home in their initial playoff game.

Big deal. At least he got them to the playoffs, a magical place the Bears have seen only once since they played in the Super Bowl seven years ago. And at least he's not Tomsula or some guy snowshoeing in from Calgary.

A great hire?

Again, beats me. But these days, in Chicago, he doesn't really have to be.     

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