The Bengals open on Sunday at noon local time on Chicago’s Soldier Field. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the Bears’ off-season transitions, the Bengals are still three-point underdogs. Of course Chicago, one of the NFL’s founding franchises, leads the league in victories, Hall of Fame inductees, and retired jersey numbers. They’ve won three straight season openers and four of their last five. But how much of this history can be converted to scoreboard on Sunday? Do we really know who the 2013 Bears are?
To begin with, their new coach, Marc Trestman, returns to the NFL after a successful tenure as head coach for the CFL’s Montreal Allouettes. In five seasons, he lead them to a 59-31 record, four conference championships and two consecutive Grey Cups. Trestman played quarterback in college before graduating from The University of Miami Law School. As a player in the NFL, he worked just two preseasons with the Vikings in 1978 and 1979 before he returned to Coral Gables as a volunteer coach in 1981.
Later, at The U, he served as quarterback coach for Bernie Kosar’s national championship team in 1983. From there he moved into position coaching in the NFL including quarterback coach at Cleveland during Kosar’s years and their three consecutive AFC Championship losses. So while Trestman takes the reins as NFL head coach for the first time, he brings plenty of experience with him.