Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


The Chicago Bears Hire a Jewish Coach

A look at Marc Trestman, the NFL’s lone Jewish coach

Print Email
Marc Trestman(Getty)

When the Chicago Bears announced their decision to fire their coach of nine seasons, Lovie Smith, on Dec. 31, my friends and I started a new email chain about our beloved Bears discussing who would be Smith’s successor. Names like former Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Cowher and Denver coordinator Mike McCoy came up, but it was all speculation in the days after the announcement of Smith’s firing.

About two weeks later, one of my friends started a new chain: “A Jewish coach?” I opened the email to find a link that casually mentioned the Bears were in talks with Marc Trestman, head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, sandwiched in the middle of about eight other possible candidates. Those of us Jews included in the email balked at the idea of the Bears adding one of our own to their list of coaches, let alone a Jewish coach from the laughable CFL. So, it came as something as a double shock this morning when I read that the Bears have indeed hired a Jewish coach whose greatest success has been coaching in the Great White North. “I guess it was either the Jew or the guy named Arians,” one friend emailed in reference to one of the other finalists for the job, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

What will Trestman bring to the franchise? The Bears are hoping that the coach will help be the spark that finally ignites the offense, manned by quarterback Jay Cutler, that has had difficulty firing over the last few seasons. Chicago, traditionally one of the best defensive teams in football for decades, has shifted their focus to the offense, with mostly tepid results. Trestman, a graduate of the same Saint Louis Park High School in Minnesota that Al Franken, Thomas Friedman, and the Coen Brothers all attended, is a quarterback’s coach. Besides being the only of the few coaches to win back-to-back league championships, Trestman has worked to help develop NFL quarterbacks Bernie Kosar, Steve Young, Scott Mitchell, Jake Plummer and Rich Gannon as a quarterback coach for various teams. Trestman is also one of the most sought after coaches for top-ranked college quarterbacks preparing for their Pro Day and the NFL Combine.

Trestman’s hiring comes just under a year-and-a-half after another of Chicago’s iconic franchises, the Cubs, hired former Boston Red Sox General Manager, Theo Epstein. The Cubbies hoped Epstein would do for the Cubs what he did for his former team: lift a supposed curse that has doomed the Cubs from winning a World Series since 1908. The Bears, who haven’t won a Super Bowl title since 1985, are now the second Chicago team in under two years to hedge their bets on a Jewish guy to help lead their team to victory.

There is one interesting note to point out: Sid Luckman, the great quarterback who helped revolutionize the modern passing game in the 1940s, played for the Chicago Bears. With Luckman running the offense, the Monsters of the Midway won four NFL championships. So maybe there’s something to be said about the Bears needing a Jew to have a successful quarterback? Maybe this Jewish gamble will be the one to help bring my Bears back to glory.

Lovie Smith Fired As Bears Coach After 9 Seasons
[CBS]Sources: Theo Epstein, Cubs Agree [ESPN]

Print Email

He joins lineman Gabe Carimi. Not a minyan yet.

Hopefully he can get Gabe to play better. I think he’s going to be great if they can keep him healthy and motivated.

Gene Whitman says:

In the tradition of Allie Sherman, Sid Gilman, and Marv Levy….L’Chaim!

tony nikko says:

I was supportive until the Dig at the CFL. At least he could find a decent bagel in Montreal.

Lorne Goldenberg says:

Pretty sure Jason NEVER played football or has seen a CFL game, what is laughable is the in 1962 the Hamilton Tiger Cats beat the Buffalo Bills in an exhibition game. Since then the NFL did not want to play anymore games up north…Jason do your homework before writting about things you do not know? Where you in the chess club in high school?

Before Marc Trestman took the head coaching position with the Montreal Alouettes he was a quarterbacks coach who worked with Steve Young. What are the odds that Jason Diamond doesn’t know who that is?

Allie Sherman was coach of Winnipeh Blue Bombers, Marv Levy was Alouettes coach then hired as head coaches for Giants and Bills.

Just a couple of items. Lorne, in 1962 the NFL could have cared less if the Hamilton Ti-Cats beat the Buffalo Bills because the Bills were members of the old AFL. Also the great Marv Levy was head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs before taking over the Bills and was never HC of the NY Giants. Only wanted to tidy things up a bit.

disqus_U4pbmFKHlX says:

Aren’t Jewish people white?

Its all downhill from here. We’re supposed to own the team, not coach it.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Chicago Bears Hire a Jewish Coach

A look at Marc Trestman, the NFL’s lone Jewish coach

More on Tablet:

Wolf Blitzer Explores His Jewish Roots

By David Meir Grossman — CNN host visits Yad Vashem and Auschwitz for the network’s ‘Roots’ series