Chicago Bears Coaching Search: Why Buce Arians Is the Top Candidate

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IJanuary 8, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 21:  Interim head coach Bruce Arians of the Indianapolis Colts watches as his team takes on the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Browns 17-13.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery is certainly casting a wide net in his search for the next Bears head coach. He has interviewed, or is scheduled to interview, at least a dozen candidates. All of those candidates are documented here.

Of all the potential choices, I like Bruce Arians the best and here's why.


Head Coaching Experience

Although previous head coaching experience is neither required nor an assurance of success, it is something that provides us with more data from which to judge a potential coaching candidate.

Assistant coaching candidates can say all they want about what they would do if given the opportunity to become a head coach, but Arians has demonstrated it by taking over a team and coaching it to a 9-3 record during Chuck Pagano's cancer-related absence. 

In addition to his jobs as OC, he was the head coach at Temple University for five years.


Offensive Mind

I've said I wanted a HC with an offensive background, and judging by the candidates that Emery has selected, he agrees. Arians has that type of background.

Arians was the OC for the Colts until he became interim head coach when Pagano fell ill. He also served as the Browns OC from 2001-2003 and the Steelers OC from 2007-2011.

In addition, he has coached wide receivers and played QB in college.

Of the five seasons he coached the offense in Pittsburgh, his results were only negative once, yet they won the Super Bowl that year. And the following year, they improved by 14 places to No. 7 in overall offense.



Ah, experience. A nice way of saying that the man is old. But look, even at 60, age should not be a determining factor when selecting a HC.

For one thing, he won't coach forever—even the best coaches have a limited shelf life.

For another, age is truly just a number. I know that's a cliche, but it's true. There are many older people I've met who had more energy than other, younger folks.

Meanwhile, with that age comes experience and, hopefully, wisdom. He has experience at almost every level in the NFL. He reached three Super Bowls with the Steelers, winning one when he was offensive coordinator.

The only negative way in which I feel that age may come into the equation is if he's in poor health. We all know he was just released from the hospital on Monday (per the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell), but it doesn't appear that it's anything too serious nor is it related to his age.

Heck, he survived prostate cancer, so he's a fighter.

And none other than Bill Cowher and Bear Bryant have hired this man. I believe you may have heard of these gentlemen. 



Despite assuming the head coaching reins under difficult circumstances, Arians led the Colts to a 9-3 record during his tenure as acting HC. That kind of demonstrated success is something the other candidates just can't show.

His nine wins as an interim head coach are the most in NFL history.

He missed the Colts' Wild Card Game against the Ravens and they lost, scoring just nine points. So without Arians calling the plays, Luck was not as successful, meaning that perhaps not all of Arians' success with the Colts was due to Luck.


His Work with QBs

Emery said (per the Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen) he wants to build around Jay Cutler, so he needs a guy who can work with QBs—even difficult ones. While there is no reason to believe that Luck is difficult to work with, he is a rookie, so that had to be a challenge.

Arians served as Peyton Manning's first QB coach with the Colts and worked with Ben Roethlisberger with Pittsburgh. His work with Big Ben culminated in Roethlisberger's only two seasons making the Pro Bowl.



Arians seemingly has everything you would look for in a head coach. He's got previous head coaching experience, he's worked under great head coaches, his teams have won and he's done well developing young QBs.

And if you're concerned about his age, consider that Tom Coughlin was 58 when he was hired by the Giants. He's 66 now and still going strong.

I'm not in the room when Emery interviews these candidates, so who knows how I would feel if I was a part of that? But with the limited knowledge I do have, I like Arians.

Regardless, I trust Emery to find the right guy.