In trying to pare down the list of coaches who should replace Lovie Smith, I have two top choices, and neither is Bill Cowher.
It's not that I don't like or respect Cowher, it's that I'm looking for the Bears to make a radically different move when they hear me and finally dump Smith after the season.
The Bears usually buy off the rack. They tend to hire someone else's hot coordinator who doesn't have head coaching experience. One reason might be that those hires come cheaper than accomplished names. Another issue might be that experienced coaches scare the football-challenged in Lake Forest.
The other bad trend is the Bears always hire a defensive-oriented coach, or at least they have since Mike Ditka. This is not your Papa Bear's NFL. Someone with a television in Halas Hall should alert Bears authorities.
I mean, inexperienced head coaching and defensive leanings have produced exactly how many parades the last 20 years?
I'll hang up and listen for my hummena-hummena-hummena.
The demand should be that the Bears replace Smith with someone who has experience as a head coach and brings offensive expertise. Those traits require money and brains to acquire. Unfortunately, those traits always seem to be rationed in Halas Hall.
The demand also should be that price is no object. The Bears shouldn't place their backbones in a blind trust when it comes to potential bidding wars. Act like you're the Chicago Bears, even if Smith is coaching the team down to Jacksonville Jaguars levels.
The Bears haven't won the Super Bowl since January, 1986. They're doing a lot of things wrong. Wise up, people. The Bears have moved slowly or stupidly, or both. If you can't self-scout your hiring process and the profile of those hires to see how it has failed, then you're smoking crack if you think you can win the Super Bowl.
So, presuming the goofy Bears wonks weren't lying and Phil Emery is actually allowed to exercise his authority, he must make a first big run at Sean Payton.
I don't care if it involves playing dirty. Payton is all about dirty. He lied and cheated with the Saints, and he'd be my first choice. Lying and cheating worked for Bill Belichick. Lying and cheating works pretty good in the NFL. Just be smarter about covering it up.
The oily and suspended Payton and the cheating and fined Belichick have won Super Bowls. The Boy Scout Smith hasn't. Ballgame.
Enough with all the Dudley Do-Rights since Ditka. Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron and Smith are some of the nicest men in the world, but there isn't a Super Bowl title as head coach among them. They're nice people and defensive coordinators. Time to get dirty and offensive. That's the point.
If Payton can't get out of Roger Goodell's maximum security lockup, then I'd go after Jon Gruden. I might even chase him first, but you get the idea.
Gruden was bounced from the Raiders because he didn't get along with that crazy old man who owned the team, not because he couldn't coach or build a team. Gruden built a Super Bowl team in Oakland and then beat it with Tampa Bay.
I don't know what Gruden could do with Jay Cutler, but I know what he did with Brad Johnson in a Super Bowl after turning Rich Gannon into a Super Bowl quarterback. This is a quarterback's league to a far greater degree now. Quick, someone wake up the mopes in Halas Hall and relay this information.