Despite a list of available head coaching candidates that included former NFL coach of the year Mike Vrabel and emerging offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, the Chicago Bears passed on the opportunity for greatness on Wednesday when they confirmed that head coach Matt Eberflus would return for a third season.
It was a deflating feeling for Bears fans to see on Wednesday that the team once again took a half measure in their preference for mediocrity.
Wednesday should have been a landmark day for the Bears' organization. The only option for the Bears was to fire Eberflus, find a head coach who is aligned with general manager Ryan Poles, and move forward with the quarterback of their choice.
Instead, Poles made a declaration on Wednesday that Eberflus is his guy. Sure, Poles may be allowed to hire the next Bears' head coach when the team inevitably misses the playoffs next season. but the failure of Eberflus as the team's head coach will now fall directly on the third-year general manager.
There is only one lifeline left for Poles to salvage the mess that he created on Wednesday with his decision. The Bears must sign Eberflus to a contract extension. If Poles thought highly enough of Eberflus to not even make a call to Jim Harbaugh or have a conversation with Vrabel or Johnson, then he needs to extend the head coach.
The Bears can still be an attractive destination for an offensive coordinator, considering they would have the chance to either work with an immensely talented Justin Fields or a rookie quarterback selected with the top overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. But, in order for that attractiveness to reach its full potential, there has to be a declaration that the coaching staff will not be turned upside down after next season. If not, the dreaded cycle of the Bears' organizational failures will continue.