You simply cannot be in the 2013 NFL playoffs without a significant strand of your coaching thread that runs through Chicago.
Three of the NFC Final Four are former Bears players: Jim Harbaugh coaching San Francisco, Ron Rivera in charge of Carolina, and former “Spare Bear” Sean Payton directing the New Orleans Saints. The fourth – Seattle – has as its offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was one of the three finalists for the Bears’ job that went to Marc Trestman.
Over in the AFC: Former Bears receivers coach Ivan Fears coaches New England Patriots running backs. Eric Studesville, former Bears assistant, is the Denver Broncos’ running backs coach. San Diego’s defensive line is coached by Don Johnson, who held that post with the Bears during Lovie Smith’s administration. And Andrew Luck’s offensive coordinator in Indianapolis is Pep Hamilton, who was Bears quarterbacks coach under Ron Turner.