Bill Polian was under no obligation to help the Chicago Bears this offseason. Not only because he is 79-years old and long since retired, but also because he underwent surgery not too long ago. Still, when George McCaskey gave him a call at the insistence of Tony Dungy, Polian felt obligated to help. He had tons of respect for the McCaskey family and wanted to see that organization do well. So in December, his evaluation began.
According to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Polian studied film on the team. How it was built and how it performed on the field. He then consulted with respected colleagues around the NFL to get their opinions. His final assessment wasn’t glowing. Outside of maybe six or eight players, the rest of the Bears roster wasn’t good. They would need a lot more if they were going to compete in the NFC.
The next step was finding the right man to make that happen.
Polian compiled a list of 13 GM candidates. McCaskey made it clear he wanted to cast a wide net, especially regarding minority candidates. Every avenue was to be explored. Each candidate spoke with the Bears interview team for about three hours over Zoom with Polian asking the most technical questions.
“The nuts and bolts of football, the nuts and bolts of scouting,” Polian said. “The scouting process, creating a draft board, how you’re gonna deal with medicine and training and equipment. Organization on the coaching side. From the offseason program to the Super Bowl. What are you gonna do on a daily basis?”
It was there that he and everybody else came in contact with Ryan Poles. It didn’t take the Chiefs director of player personnel long to stand out above the rest. For somebody so young, he spoke like somebody who’d been running a team for ten years. Polian was surprised and impressed.
“Just a large breadth of knowledge in terms of how to run the scouting operation and some real common sense and insightful points of view in how the football operation ought to be managed,” he said. “And some really good choices in terms of people he wanted to talk to as head-coaching candidates.”
By the time the interview ended, all five search team members had reached the same conclusion. Poles was the man for the job.
Bill Polian and McCaskey had one big problem
They weren’t the only ones eager to hire the man. Not long after the interview, reports emerged as the Minnesota Vikings intended to offer their GM job to Poles when they had a chance to meet with him again. After consulting his people, McCaskey worked fast to set up a second interview 24 hours before his Vikings meeting. Then the Bears owner set the tone for what followed by personally picking Poles up from the airport.
The rest was history.
Announcements came down less than a day later that he would be the next GM of the Bears. Bill Polian was more than satisfied. He felt the process had worked beautifully. After a thorough search, they’d landed on a candidate he deemed more than qualified for the task ahead. Poles was the leader and evaluator the Bears needed. He also had a good plan in mind with his choice of head coach, Matt Eberflus.
One thing that is clear about him is his vision. Poles is a driven man. Watch him in interviews, and he comes across as no-nonsense. Everything is about football. That bodes well. The Bears know they have somebody in charge that won’t stop until he fulfills his promise to make this team a winner.
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