Bruce Arians, near-Bears coach

Posted by Darren Urban on September 16, 2015 – 9:49 am

It’s fairly well known by now that Bruce Arians, who was the last coach hired in the hiring-coaches round of 2013, nearly became the Bears’ head coach before he even interviewed with the Cardinals. But the Bears decided to go with Marc Trestman. That obviously turned out well for the Cards and not so well for the Bears, who fired Trestman after last season and have moved on to John Fox.

Arians, of course, has won 21 games in two years with the Cardinals (even without his starting quarterback for 10 games last season) and won Coach of the Year in 2014. Since the two teams are playing each other Sunday, it’s not hard to see why this might be brought up in Chicago, and Arians was asked about it this morning by the Chicago media.

“They were the first ones to put paperwork in for me, first ones I gave an interview to, and I felt very comfortable,” Arians said. “(The Bears) were great. It was a day I thought went very well. They made a decision and I went on with it.”

Asked if he was surprised about not getting an offer from the Bears, Arians acknowledged he had been.

“When I left, I thought I don’t think anything could have been any better throughout the whole day,” Arians said. “I didn’t look back thinking I did anything wrong. It was just their decision.”

Arians said he never did hear from the Bears why they went with Trestman. But he also chuckled when it was pointed out that things have worked out pretty well for Arians.

“I’m just happy they said no,” Arians said to the Arizona media later Wednesday.



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32 Responses to “Bruce Arians, near-Bears coach”

  1. By Fan in Chi Town on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    I can tell you all that on sports radio here in Chicago a few broadcasters believe the Bears are going to win on Sunday. They think because Ellington is out that the Cards will not have a run game and that Palmer is an immobile statue.

    A Bears win is certainly possible, but after only giving up one TD to Brees I feel pretty confident our guys can take them and that our defense will harass Cutler and Forte all afternoon. It would be nice to get a convincing road win against a rebuilding team.

  2. By georgiebird on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    The Bears can mess things up every ten years. Circa 2013, the newspapers said that the Bears had hired Dave McGinnis as their new HC. One small problem, the Bears and McGinnis had never come to an agreement on a contract.

  3. By georgiebird on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    sorry Darren – the McGinnis mess up was circa 2003- with of course, BA being 2013.

  4. By steve on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    I seem to remember reading that the Bears wanted Arians to retain some of their position coaches which he did not want to do.

  5. By Rick R. on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    As a football Cardinal fan since 1952,(Are there any more of us still around?), I am particularly interested in seeing the Cardinals win. I still haven’t forgiven George Halas and the Bears for the Cardinals having to leave town. These are good days after all of the mediocre or worse days. Do it for Ollie Matson and the others, Big Red!

  6. By clssylssy on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Chi Town is a rabid sports town and to state publicly that the Bears would not win against the Card would be blasphemous! Actually, there is a great deal of misperception about Palmer’s abilities due to his being out for half the season last year and people only remembering his Raider days–which, IMO, is to the Cards advantage, kinda like having a secret weapon! Carson is one of the candidates for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week against Brady and Rivers which is pretty good company.
    No doubt about the value of HFA and crowd support, but if we can just stay focused and use the weapons we have to play smart, be tough and finish strong, we should be able to win this one on the road.
    BA didn’t lose anything by not getting the job in Chicago. The golf is better here in Phoenix, and it really sucks to have to scrape your windshield and drive on black ice! Who has it better LOL?(Aside from the difference in football teams)

  7. By Bob on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    @Fan in Chi Town

    I would think if Chris Johnson had the same opportunities as Ellington had in the opener that he’ll get the job done on the ground. We have pretty good depth at RB right now, plus Kerwynn Williams is on the practice squad if we really need him, but I feel comfortable with what we have now. They only gave David Johnson one touch last weekend (which he rolled in for a touchdown) so our stable is looking pretty good.

  8. By Scott H on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    WOW!!!! How must it feel to be a Bears fan these days and know that you ALMOST had Bruce Arians but ended up with Macr Trestman instead???

    That’s gotta hurt…..

    Seems almost ridiculous NOW to think that the Cards were the last team to hire a coach in 2013 and Arians was still there to be had. Can’t remember who all the other teams were but gotta think at least some of them are kicking themselves for letting BA get by them.

    Hiring him has to be one of THE best decisions they ever made, with anything.

  9. By Scott H on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Sorry, I meant Marc, not Macr. And though Trestman was a disaster as a coach in Chicago, at least they only stuck with him for one year. And I think they really got it right with Fox.

  10. By Vinh on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Let’s thank the Chicago Bears for letting B.A. slip to our open arms!!!

  11. By Steve on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Darren: Had the Bears hired Arians do you recall whom the Cards had on their short list of potential head coach hires?

  12. By Darren Urban on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Arians

    I don’t know who they would have turned at that point. They had interviewed Jay Gruden and Darrell Bevell.

  13. By jeffgollin on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    I just looked at the matchups. Unusually intriguing. Although there are a boat load of variables (i.e. luck, injuries, refs, funny bounces etc.) that can blow up the most favorable oof odds, I like our chances. While the Bears have 3 or 4 genuine superstars (like Jarod Allen or Matt Forte) they don’t have enough breadth of talent to force the Cards to spread themselves thin (We can afford to focus on stopping Forte, containing Cutler and providing extra help vs. J Allen). At the same time we can use the home run ground threat of the Johnson Bros. to help keep Bear pass rushers honest while overloading a relatively unknown Bear secondary with a receiving corp. that’s 5-deep plus the receiving threats posed by Fells and D Johnson. Coaching-wise, I think it will be Possession/Field Position Football vs. BA’s Chunk Yardage game.

  14. By Credit Card on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Judas is to Jesus as Cutler is to a head coach

  15. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    I didn’t realize how close they were to hiring Arians. This article also says that Arians was Marinelli’s “runaway” first choice (even if Arians wasn’t going to keep him around).

  16. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    Trestman lasted two seasons.

  17. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    I remember back to that time after the 2012 season and this blog was livid with fans lamenting that we were dragging our feet while guys like Mike McCoy (some people’s choice) and Andy Reid and others got snapped up. Last to make a hire, but we got the best guy. Who’s eating crow on that one?

  18. By krehbieo14 on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    You are accurate. According to reporter Mike Mulligan, Arian’s was told by the Bears GM that Defensive Coordinator Rob Marinelli (and other position coaches) would be retained under BA’s regime. After Trestman was hired, the GM was later dumped. I’m sure BA is glad he wasn’t chosen to live in that organizational mess!

  19. By krehbieo14 on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    It is my understanding that the hiring process in Chicago was weird. GM Phil Emory tasked DC Rob Marinelli with the hiring of the head coach. Marinelli liked Arians and wanted to work with him. It appears that BA thought the interviewing process was somewhat unusual but would have taken the job. From what I gather from various reports, it seems BA would have preferred to bring in his own coaching staff to the Bears, however. Subsequently, GM Emory hired Trestmann and Marinelli left the team because he was furious that BA was not given the job. Fast forward and both Emory and Trestmann were let go. Interesting scenario. My son lives in Chicago and witnessed it all!

  20. By krehbieo14 on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Marinelli was tasked with INTERVIEWING the coaching candidates.

  21. By Scott H on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin –

    I stand corrected. My bad. At this moment, I cannot even remember what the Bears did in 2013, good or bad. Doesn’t matter. 2014 was obviously bad enough for them to part ways with Trestman. I DO remember that any time I saw the Bears playing and they would show Trestman on the sidelines, I would think to myself that guy just has NO presence as a head coach. None.

    I still think the Bears made a mistake firing Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season. I don’t know why that made sense. That is a winning season and usually a record that gets you into the playoffs. And maybe they were in the playoffs that year, I don’t remember that, either. My memory for Bears recent history is obviously pretty bad. Maybe firing a coach after a 10-6 season would make sense if the expectations were for a 14-2 season, top seed in the NFC, and a favorite to go to the SB. I just don’t remember that being expected of the Bears that year. So…why fire a coach who was having success at a level seemingly in proportion to the talent on your roster? I think Lovie got a raw deal there.

    Anyway, after the dismal failure of Marc Trestman, the firing of Lovie Smith looks even worse, in retrospect.

    I think they got it right with Fox, who is just a darn good coach. But they are still stuck with Cutler, who I believe is another Jeff George. He might have all the talent and physical ability in the world, but…he doesn’t have the mental make-up of an NFL QB.

    And why the hell do I care so much about the Bears, anyway???

  22. By georgiebird on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    The Saints did not appear to be a real good team but Brees is still a QB to be reckoned with. Always like to see what Cards’ opponents do the week after they play the Cards’ in order to finalize an opinion on the game.
    This week I see the Bucs covering the 10 point spread in N.O. I really see the Bucs (as bad as they were last week) winning the Saints game outright.

  23. By Richard L on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    I credit Michael Bidwell with hiring BA. In the midst of the Chicago Bears twisted and conditional hiring process he had a clear direction and gave BA the freedom he needed to thrive and succeed. Well done!

  24. By georgiebird on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    Best thing about the BA hire- Ray Horton left town. At the time, the majority of people on this blog wanted Horton but none will admit it.

  25. By time2cRED on Sep 16, 2015 | Reply

    B.A. for President!

  26. By Scott H on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin –

    I very well may have been one of the people expressing some angst over the hiring process after in 2012 after Whiz was fired.

    But I was NOT one of the people saying we should have hired Andy Reid. I was horrified by the all the buzz at the time indicating that Reid WAS probably headed for Arizona. And I was both thrilled and tremendously relieved when the Chiefs stepped in and “took” him first.

    Regardless, we definitely got the right guy.

  27. By NJ Glenn on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    It amazes me how many years BA coached before getting a chance as an NFL HC and that likely would not have happened without Pagano getting sick in Indy. GM’s were probably afraid of him!! We are lucky to have him!

  28. By Scott H on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    NJ Glenn –

    Nice to see another Jersey boy on the blog. Welcome!

  29. By Scott H on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    georgebird –

    RE: Horton

    I really did not think he was ready for a HC job at the time. I WAS sorry he was leaving as out DC. Guess ya never know, huh? Because after Bowles, I would never go back to Horton, given a choice between the two.

  30. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    Another example of people overrating the incumbent (Horton).

    That said, as the Trestman hiring/firing shows, you can also screw up an otherwise OK team with a bad coach or coordinators.

  31. By Red Dead Redemption on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    We would have hired Bevell or Gruden LOL. If the Bears had hired BA.
    Luckily the bears had a bad GM and we got BA. I don’t want to think about a possible feature with either of those guys.

    Horton was possible and could have been good. But Keim and him got in a huge fight and it didn’t work out. The fight started when Horton was promised the job and then they interviewed Arians. I’m guessing the Cardinals assumed the Bears would hire BA and jumped at the chance.

    Happy it all worked out for the Cardinals. The Titans are on the right path and well.. sorry Bears from you were who we thought you were.

  32. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    Red Dead —

    RE: Horton

    Horton was “promised the job?” I don’t think so.

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