Imrem: Experience counts with Super Bowl winners

Most interesting about the Bears hiring John Fox is that his name will fit nicely into most headlines.

No, no, no ... only a newspaperman would say that.

Most interesting is that for a change the Bears hired a head coach who previously held the position in the NFL.

There was a debate over whether this time the Bears needed a veteran head coach or a fresh face on the job.

Let's not quibble. Even those among us who preferred someone younger, newer and fresher must concede that this was a solid hire.

Younger, newer and fresher came in the shape of 37-year-old general manager Ryan Pace. Older and experienced comes in the form of the 59-year-old Fox.

As a columnist I prefer opinion over facts, though I do let the latter get in the way of a good story if they surface.

This rookie head coach / veteran head coach question drove me to the history books, which reveal how this issue has evolved over the course of the Super Bowl era.

During the first 31 years, only three championships were won by someone who previously coached another team: Weeb Ewbank with the Jets in Super Bowl III and Don Shula with the Dolphins in VII and VIII.

The next 23 were won by coaches who hadn't coached a different NFL team before ... until Mike Shanahan won in XXXII and XXXIII.

The list of first-time coaches included some all-time greats in Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson.

And don't forget that Vince Lombardi won the first two Super Bowls for the Packers, his first NFL team as a head coach.

Clearly, the thing to do early on was to find a younger coach who had indicated as an assistant that he could take a team to the next level or in some cases the next two levels.

So if today were 1978 or 1986 or 1994, the trend would say to skip over John Fox and hire one of the younger available candidates such as Adam Gase or Dan Quinn.

The Bears probably would have because that was their inclination back then anyway.

Something changed in the 1990s when the Raiders fired Shanahan, the Broncos hired him and he won two Super Bowls with Denver.

Of the most recent 17 championships, 11 were won by head coaches who had previous head coaching experience with another NFL team.

That list - Shanahan (2 championships), Dick Vermeil, Bill Belichick (3), Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy, Tom Coughlin (2) and Pete Carroll - also includes some all-time greats.

The Bears are Fox's third team after the Panthers and Broncos. Only Carroll won a Super Bowl while head-coaching his third NFL team.

To review, three of the first 31 Super Bowls were won by head coaches with head coaching experience elsewhere; then 11 of the next 17 were won by head coaches who were with their first teams as a head coach.

Will the trend continue in the upcoming Super Bowl? Hard to tell.

Belichick is still alive with the Patriots and Carroll is trying to repeat with the Seahawks. Meanwhile, Mike McCarthy, who already won a title with the Packers, and Chuck Pagano with the Colts haven't head-coached with other NFL teams.

Maybe the Bears, with a young general manager, would have been better off hiring a first-time head coach to join him in what figures to be a rebuilding project.

But if young Ryan Pace is comfortable with an older hand, it's hard to argue with John Fox's credentials.

Now excuse me while I nap after doing all that research.

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