(CBS) When the Bears hired veteran football executive Ernie Accorsi in late December — presumably at a hefty price — to be a consultant in their search for a new general manager and coach, some were understandably skeptical.
Not of Accorsi so much, but in regards to this: Why?
Why is a consultant needed anyway to point out the top candidates when group think largely determines the best individuals to interview?
Well, about three weeks later, we have our answer. It was Accorsi who saw the potential in and identified new Bears general manager Ryan Pace, a 37-year-old who was working as the director of player personnel for the Saints. While former Bears talent evaluator and current Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard was the hot name, Pace made the most of his interview and impressed the Chicago decision-makers.
“One of our best moves was bringing on Ernie Accorsi as a consultant,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said on Bears All-Access on Tuesday night. “He’s got Hall of Fame credentials. He’s got two Super Bowls rings. He’s been around the league. He knows the ins and outs of the league. He kept up on the game. Having him was a real asset to us, and he helped lead the process that led us to Ryan as general manager. And then Ryan took over, and with Ernie’s help, led us to John Fox as our head coach.”
Accorsi brought credibility to the process and notably the interviews themselves, McCaskey said.
“Just having a high confidence level, knowing he’s on your side and knowing that he can be relied on and leaned on to guide you through the process,” McCaskey said. “With all of the candidates — general manager candidates and head coaching candidates — he established an immediate rapport with them. They knew his credentials. They knew that he knew what he was talking about, and he got them to talk about themselves and about their vision for the Bears. In short order, made them very comfortable with the process, and I think leaned very candid and valuable answers from the candidates.”