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Bears Hire Colts Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus As New Head Coach

CHICAGO (CBS) -- New Bears general manager Ryan Poles didn't waste any time picking a head coach, as the Bears have hired Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.

The Bears announced Thursday evening that they have officially hired Eberflus. He replaces Matt Nagy, who was fired earlier this month.

"I couldn't be more excited to have Matt become the next head coach of the Chicago Bears," Poles said in a news release. "His experience, passion, character and attention to detail made him the right man for both the job and the culture we intend to establish here at Halas Hall. Throughout the search, Matt impressed me when detailing his vision and plan for our team. We look forward to getting to work and assembling a top-notch staff and roster that will help us consistently compete for championships."

Eberflus, 51, was one of three candidates to get a second interview with the Bears after Poles was hired as general manager on Tuesday. The other two finalists were Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and former Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. Eberflus also was considered as a finalist for the Jaguars' head coach vacancy.

"I would like to thank Ryan and the McCaskey family for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the Chicago Bears, one of the most storied franchises in all of sports in one of the greatest cities in the world," Eberflus said in the release. "I am truly humbled and honored to be named your head coach and together we will do everything in our power to bring a Super Bowl championship back to Chicago."

The Bears also interviewed Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, and Dolphins head coach Brian Flores during their search for a new coach.

Eberflus has spent the last four seasons as the Colts defensive coordinator, and helped Indianapolis steadily improve over that time. The Colts had the ninth best scoring defense in 2021 and ranked 16th in average yards allowed per game.

He started his coaching career in 1992 as a student assistant at his alma mater, the University of Toledo, where he played as a linebacker for four seasons, earning All-MAC honors as a junior and senior. He also served as a graduate assistant, recruiting coordinator, outside linebackers coach and defensive backs coach for the Toledo Rockets before becoming defensive coordinator for the Missouri Tigers in 2001.

His first NFL job was as linebackers coach for the Browns in 2009, before taking on the same role for the Cowboys in 2011, and then joining the Colts as defensive coordinator in 2018, overseeing a consistently solid defense.

The Colts had three winning seasons in four years with Eberflus leading the defense, and it was that side of the ball that kept the franchise balanced while they rode the quarterback carousel after Andrew Luck's surprising retirement.

The Colts' defense ranked 30th in the NFL in points and yards allowed in 2017, the year before Eberflus took over. In 2018, they finished 10th in points allowed and 11th in yards allowed per game. In 2020, they finished 8th in yards allowed and 10th in points allowed.

They also ranked in the top 10 in takeaways in all four seasons under Eberflus, leading the AFC in turnovers in 2021, when the defense also ranked 9th in the NFL in points allowed, while sending three players to the Pro Bowl in defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard, and cornerback Kenny Moore II.

With their new GM and head coach now in place, the Bears can turn their focus to the rest of the coaching staff, and improving the roster around promising rookie quarterback Justin Fields.

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