Marc Trestman will become the 14th head coach of the Chicago Bears. The team announced the news Wednesday morning.
(So, if the number 13 is unlucky, does that give Trestman an edge over Lovie Smith right out of the gate? Double sevens, baby! Alright, I digress ...)
Here’s the deal:
In his first season as offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers in 1995, Trestman helped his team to the best overall point differential in the NFL, the best overall yardage differential, the second-best total offense, and the first-ranked total passing offense. The team went 11-5, losing their first playoff game. But in 1996, the team did one better all-around, finishing 12-4 and making it through the first round of the postseason.
That was with Steve Young at quarterback.
In 1998, Trestman began a three-year, unimpressive stint as offensive coordinator in Arizona, working with a below average QB in Jake Plumber, and a bad offensive line. My pointing those things out is not a defense mechanism, it’s a reality. But, despite the poor-passer, poor-protection, Trestman helped a dismal Cardinals team to a 9-7 record and a playoff win—the team’s first in 51 years—and their first nine-win season of the previous 14.
And by the turn of the century, Trestman had built a name for himself as bit of an offensive Einstein.
In 2002, Trestman was hired as the offensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders. Richard Joseph Gannon, the team’s starting QB at the time, went on to have a career year under Trestman, throwing for 4,689 yards, 26 TDs, 10 INTs and a 67.6 completion percentage. Was it Trestman? Tough to say considering Gannon missed significant time due to injury the next two seasons and never returned to the NFL.
That’s the short and skinny on Trestman’s NFL career as an offensive coordinator. What does it all mean? I’m not sure, really. You could argue that in the role of coordinator, which will be his role in Chicago regardless of who he hires to carry the title, Trestman has brought immediate success to every team he’s gone to. You could also argue, however, that the League has evolved. And while it was doing so, Trestman was north of the boarder, working in the CFL.
There, as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes, Trestman led his team to back-to-back Grey Cup championships—the CFL’s version of a Super Bowl—and 2009 CFL Coach of the Year honors. But the CFL is not the NFL.
The question as to why, if Trestman is such a great offensive mind, has he not been able to sustain a long-term run in the NFL is a fair one. But those who’ve worked closest with him continue to sing his praises as a QB guru and an offensive innovator.
The only thing that is certain is that Bears’ GM Phil Emery led an exhaustive search to find the right guy—a search that led some candidates to say they’d never seen someone as prepared for an interview as Emery—and that search ended with Trestman. All that matters now is what happens moving forward.
The goal is championships, and the race to the top starts today.
. . .
The Bears will hold a press conference to introduce Trestman on Thursday, January 17 at 11:00 A.M. CT in the Mugs Halas Auditorium.
Trestman's Coaching Career:
1981-1982: University of Miami (FL) - Volunteer Assistant
1983-1984: University of Miami (FL) - Quarterbacks Coach
1985-1986: Minnesota Vikings – Running Backs Coach
1987: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quarterbacks Coach
1988: Cleveland Browns - Quarterbacks Coach
1989: Cleveland Browns – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
1990-1991: Minnesota Vikings - Quarterbacks Coach
1995: San Francisco 49ers – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
1996: San Francisco 49ers – Offensive Coordinator
1997: Detroit Lions - Quarterbacks Coach
1998-2000: Arizona Cardinals – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
2001: Oakland Raiders – Senior Assistant
2002-2003: Oakland Raiders – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
2004: Miami Dolphins – Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks
2005-2006: North Carolina State – Offensive Coordinator
2008-2012: Head Coach – Montreal Alouettes (CFL)
2013: Head Coach – Chicago Bears