Emma: No Doubt, John Fox Is The Right Hire For Bears
By Chris Emma-
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) -- Dressed to the nines in a navy blue pinstriped suit and orange tie, John Fox looked the part as the Bears' new coach.
Fox sounded the part, too, offering the charisma and vision a befuddled Bears franchise needs in its new leader. His one-liners better compared to Rodney Dangerfield than that of a football coach.
"I'm just me," Fox said Monday at his introductory press conference at Halas Hall. "I'm not smart enough to be anybody else."
Make no mistake, though: Fox gets respect. He can say whatever he wants, because his coaching record does the real talking.
A résumé with seven playoff berths in 13 seasons, two Super Bowl appearances with two different teams and accolades all across football couldn't be passed up by Chicago. When the Broncos made a mutual parting of ways with Fox, the Bears were on the phone within the hour.
Ryan Pace, the Bears' general manager for just a few days, knew deep down in his gut that his search for a coach was over.
"He became the perfect man to lead our charge," Pace said.
To the credit of Pace, he approached Fox, 59, with an open mind, treating him the same as Todd Bowles, Doug Marrone and Teryl Austin. Pace is just 37 years old and had only conducted those three interviews. Putting Fox on a pedestal would be a disservice, especially after a sudden exit from a 46-18 regular-season run in Denver.
Pace responded rapidly, working a thorough process with Fox. He consulted with Ernie Accorsi, who has a history with Fox, along with Sean Payton, his trusted ally in New Orleans. An interview was quickly scheduled, Fox was at Halas Hall on Wednesday for a formal meeting, then Pace followed him back to Denver on Thursday, with his wife, Stephanie, joining for a more informal interview.
What Pace and the Bears would find is that Broncos general manager John Elway made a mistake. He let a head coach a year removed from the Super Bowl walk out the door. He didn't see the Broncos "kicking and screaming" as they exited the postseason, and he threw Fox away.
One man's trash is another man's treasure. Pace reaped the rewards.
By Friday morning, Fox had signed on the dotted line. Pace even went as far as offering Fox his first-class seat on the flight to Chicago. Hopefully the McCaskey family had some free drinks for Pace in coach seating, because he certainly deserves it.
"It was Ryan's show, and he was very decisive in determining that John was the guy we wanted to go after," said chairman George McCaskey, who described Pace as a "rising star."
Fox is everything the Bears wanted in a head coach. More importantly, he's everything Pace had hoped to find before beginning his own personal evaluation. He kept an open mind and was rewarded with the right candidate.
What the Bears have in Fox is different direction from the disastrous tenure of former coach Marc Trestman. Fox is a leader who will take charge of Chicago's collection of selfish egos. He wouldn't toss out lies of a good week of practice,.he'd throw the blame at Brandon Marshall for running the wrong route if it's deserved and he would never let a Lance Briggs miss practice fly to a restaurant opening.
"I'm brutally honest," Fox said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I'm not afraid of intimidated to tell people the truth."
All the rhetoric makes Fox sound like the right guy. It's what makes him so well-liked by his players and trusted throughout football circles. But it's also just talk.
Fox has a daunting task ahead of him. The Bears were historically bad during their two years under Trestman's laughable leadership tactics, and there's addition and subtraction needed to make this team better.
If Fox says holding jello is difficult, as he did Monday, wait until he tries to get the Bears' train wreck back on the tracks.
Taking Carolina to the Super Bowl was one impressive feat. Winning a playoff game with Tim Tebow and those brutal Broncos was even more remarkable. Building the Bears into a winner (he could become the first coach to take three different teams to a Super Bowl) would top all accomplishments.
"That trophy out there looks kind of lonely," Fox said, referring to the hardware from the 1985 Super Bowl win.
The Bears believe Fox is the guy who can add to the trophy case in Halas Hall. He's a proven winner with a track record of success.
Fox looks like the right guy, sounds like the right guy and undoubtedly is the right guy for the Bears.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.
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