O'Donnell: Vegas odds say Flores, but Bill Polian's back pages circle much closer to Super Bowl XX
MAYBE IT'S ONLY FOR fans of Wayne Newton, but some odds gods in Las Vegas are indicating that the favorite to be the next head coach of the Bears is Brian Flores.
Betting on the recently fired Dolphins coach at a low price means ignoring a major caveat.
And that is:
Has Bill Polian already made up his mind about the "special advice" he's going to give George McCaskey regarding who the next HC of the Bears should be?
And the Polian tea leaves say that it's not Flores.
FIRST, THE TOTE BOARD:
According to BetMGM -- ironically an online service not available in Illinois -- Flores is the 8-5 (+160) chalk to be the next transitting whistler in Lake Forest.
Directly below the 40-year-old surprise free agent are:
• Ex-Bear and current Buffalo DC Leslie Frazier, 6-1;
• Bills OC Brian Daboli, 13-2;
• Colts DC Matt Eberflus, 13-2; and,
• Underemployed Super Bowl 52 Philly cheese champ Doug Pederson, 8-1.
A competing odds ranking has Jim Harbaugh up as the second choice behind Flores at 4-1.
EITHER ORDERING LETS SLIP some prominent past statements and actions by Polian touting the merits of Frazier.
Most notably, at his 2015 induction speech at The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Polian cited scores of people as "valued colleagues and friends."
One of them was Frazier.
Their professional interface peaked in February 2007 when Frazier served as assistant head coach and defensive backs mentor on the staff of Tony Dungy as Polian's Colts beat Lovie Smith and the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17.
FRAZIER'S RUN AS A BEARS DB sadly ended amid all of the pomp and glory that was SB XX in New Orleans.
On a nonsensical reverse ordered by Mike Ditka and special teams ace Steve Kazor during a second-quarter punt return, Frazier took a flip from Keith Ortego and blew out both of his knees.
The play was a "no go" prior to the exchange since Ortego had forgotten the play call and illegally signaled for a fair catch.
The Bears walloped Tony Eason and the Patriots by that unforgettable 46-10.
Frazier never played another down in the NFL.
THE ALCORN STATE ALUM also checks another intriguing box in terms of what makes a contemporary Super Bowl coaching winner.
As head coach of the Vikings from 2011-13, Frazier technically "failed," crafting seasons of 3-13, 10-6 and 5-10-1 before getting quick-hooked by recently deposed GM Rick Spielman.
Of the eight men who have coached a SB champ in the last decade -- with Bill Belichick capturing the Lombardi Trophy three times in that span -- fully six have similarly "failed" in a final stop elsewhere before delivering the NFL's most golden charm.
That list includes: Belichick (Patriots after Art Modell's final iteration of the Browns), Bruce Arians (Bucs/Cardinals), Andy Reid (Chiefs/Eagles), Gary Kubiak (Broncos/Texans), Pete Carroll (Seahawks/Patriots) and Tom Coughlin (Giants/Jaguars).
Only Pederson (Eagles) and John Harbaugh (Ravens) were up, up and away at first tasking.
SO THE ODDS OF VEGAS say Brian Flores will be the next head coach of the Bears.
That could prove to be a lure only for the schmucks who go to see Wayne Newton.
Because the tarot of Bill Polian strongly suggests that there is a burnt orange-and-blue ghost in the machine.
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• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.