Syracuse assistant makes “loose” comparison of Marc Trestman to Phil Jackson


With nearly three decades of coaching experience to his credit, the Bears’ Marc Trestman has a wealth of knowledge to share.

This spring, Syracuse offensive coordinator George McDonald was able to tap into the insight of the Bears’ head coach. According to, the 38-year-old McDonald was invited to spent time with the Bears with an eye on learning more about how Trestman worked at his craft.

Via, McDonald told’s Nate Mink that Trestman’s philosophy was akin to a Hall of Fame basketball coach’s approach.

“For a loose term he’s kind of the Phil Jackson of the NFL in terms of how he sees the game from a different picture other than just football and Xs and Os,” McDonald said, per “I’ve always been intrigued by him. I’ve heard a lot of great things. I think he sees the game from a different perspective. He’s really good with dealing with players and communicating his vision.”

Jackson is also akin to Trestman in that both worked in other leagues before getting head coaching jobs at the highest level. Jackson coached in the CBA and in Puerto Rico before becoming a Bulls assistant, while Trestman had a successful stint in the CFL before taking the Bears’ job in 2013.

Chicago sports historians will note that Jackson won his first NBA title in his second season as the Bulls’ head coach. Trestman, of course, is entering his second year with the Bears.

36 responses to “Syracuse assistant makes “loose” comparison of Marc Trestman to Phil Jackson

  1. I’d be pretty surprised if Chicago won a championship this season. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but coming through the NFC is going to be difficult with all of the more complete teams they need to compete against.

  2. Trestman is a great coach and was an outstanding hire by the Bears. Marc Trestman was waiting years and years to get this gig, he’s gonna be around for awhile.

  3. That’s may be, but the Bears don’t have a Michael Jordan. I’m not even sure they have a Scottie Pippen.

  4. I’ve basically heard of this comparison before, in the way they approach leadership. If you pay attention to just the things Trestman has done this offseason, you can see where he’s coming from.

  5. bassplucker says:
    Jul 9, 2014 12:57 PM
    That’s may be, but the Bears don’t have a Michael Jordan. I’m not even sure they have a Scottie Pippen.


    Of course they don’t have a Jordan or a Pippen. Those two guys are basketball players. What would they be doing playing for the Bears? Now do the Bears have an All-Star cast on offense and defense? He’ll yeah, and they’re getting better by the year!

  6. No Jordan or Pippen, but Marshall, Jeffrey and Bennet with Cutler behind a good O line- I believe that is the offensive side of a championship team. Let’s see what the defense produces this year-I can’t wait..

  7. No disrespect at all to Trestman, but so much of an NFL HC’s success (or failure) has to do with his relationship to the team’s GM.

    Bears GM Phil Emery hired Trestman, and the two are very clearly in sync — which wasn’t completely in evidence last year but I believe will really start showing up this season. Whereas Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo never seemed to be on the same page, and Emery and Lovie definitely weren’t.

  8. Bears win it all? I’m a long time fan and don’t buy into that at all. I just hope they don’t turn into a gimmick offense, with Cutler just throwing it up in the air to the now two tall guys that he has.

  9. Marc Trestman is going to be the New York Knicks’ President of Basketball Operations?

  10. Phil has 11 rings. 11.

    Maybe some of Trestman’s approaches are similar to Jackson’s but I believe the essence of what he is that he’s saying is that Trestman, like Jackson is an out of the box thinker. Just because he’s out of the box doesn’t mean he is different in the same way that Jackson is.

    So what does that mean? Not much.

  11. ideabook2014 says:Jul 9, 2014 2:06 PM

    Bears win it all? I’m a long time fan and don’t buy into that at all. I just hope they don’t turn into a gimmick offense, with Cutler just throwing it up in the air to the now two tall guys that he has.
    Except that if those tall guys come down with the ball 70-80% of the time, it’s not a gimmick offense. It’s simply maximizing your personnel. And the Bears have more than two of them. They have three (Marshall 6’4, Jeffery 6’3 and TE Bennett 6’6). Actually 4 if you count 2nd-year guy Marquess Wilson (6’3) who it appears will be their #3 WR this year.

  12. I’m so glad Bears fans think Trestman is the next Phil Jackson. You know, going 8-8 in a division which sent an 8-7-1 team to the playoffs, as opposed the to year before, Lovie went 10-6 when the NFC North had 3 10 win teams. I know Chicago natives haven’t seen offense in a while, so their excited, but you still need to have a defense that is slightly better than historically bad.

  13. Trestman is a mad scientist and will take the Bears to a 12-4 record or better. What they do from there will be up to them, but a playoff team at that.

    To the idiots who continue to bash Cutler…the most important stats for an NFL QB

    4th Quarter Comebacks

    Jay Cutler – 16
    Matthew Stafford – 10
    Aaron Rodgers – 6

    Game Winning Drives

    Jay Cutler – 20
    Matthew Stafford – 12
    Aaron Rodgers – 10

    4th Quarter QBR (2014)

    Aaron Rodgers – 114.0
    Jay Cutler – 102.7
    Matthew Stafford – 81.5

  14. Too bad shaq and kobe play for the Broncos and Patriots. And Michael and Scottie play in San Fran and Seattle. Karl Malone, Chris Webber, Sir Charles, and Patrick Ewing won’t get it done as 2nd tier players just like Cutler, and that defense won’t beat the top teams.

  15. Moondog7, you obviously have paid attention to the offseason. Phil Emery has fixed this defense in one offseason as he did with the offense.

  16. First Trestman has to figure out how to beat the Lions, and how to beat the Packers when they have Rodgers. He is 0-3 on that count so far. The Bears go nowhere until they can consistently win within the division.

  17. Arguably, Trestman needs only 8 more rings to catch up to Jackson. He was the QB coach at the University of Miami the year they won their first national title, and won 2 Gray Cups up north.

    Granted, I don’t know if they gave rings to NCAA champs in 1983, and I’m pretty sure they don’t in the CFL, but its about what the ring represents more than the ring itself.

  18. Marc Trestman is great head coach and knows exactly what he’s doing. This Syracuse guy is just giving him props. Bears will contend and the opposing NFC North teams all know it regardless of the trolling opinions.

    Trestman’s 39 years of Football(33 years of coaching):
    1975-77: Played as a backup quarterback for the University of Minnesota for three seasons.

    1978: Transferred to Minnesota State for his senior season.

    1978-79: Received invitations to training camp to play as a defensive back by the Minnesota Vikings.

    1981-84: Begin his coaching career as a volunteer coach for the University of Miami. Trestman was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 1983, where he oversaw the development of Bernie Kosar.

    1985-86: Returned to the Vikings as a running backs coach as part of the staff of Bud Grant, who was coming back from retirement.

    1987: Served as the quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the strike-shortened 1987 season, which doubled as Vinny Testaverdes rookie year.

    1988-89: Reunited with Bernie Kosar as the Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach in 1988, and was promoted to offensive coordinator the next season.

    1990-91: Returned to the Vikings for the final time to serve as a quarterbacks coach, where he worked with quarterback Rich Gannon for the first time.

    1992-94: Out of coaching

    1995-96: Got back into coaching as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the San Francisco 49ers. With Steve Young at the helm, the 1995 49ers led the NFL in scoring and passing yards.

    1997: Coached quarterbacks for the Detroit Lions. With Trestman, Scott Mitchell topped 3,000 yards passing for the final time in his career.

    1998-2000: Filled the dual role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals. The 1998 Arizona Cardinals broke a 51-year franchise drought for playoff wins.

    2001-03: Moved on to become the quarterbacks coach of the Oakland Raiders. When Trestman was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2002, the Raiders won the AFC and led the NFL in total offense and passing, and quarterback Rich Gannon won the MVP award.

    2004: Served as the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins and assistant head coach to Dave Wannstedt.

    2005-06: Returned to college coaching to serve as the offensive coordinator for NC State.

    2007: Out of coaching

    2008-12: Traveled to Canada for his first head coaching job with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. In five years, Trestman has won two Grey Cups and lost in the final of a third.
    Tres has 2 Championships in the CFL and 1 NCAA Championship.

  19. Phil Jackson has win 11 rings as a coach, never missed the playoffs and never had a sub-500 season. So yeah, they are a lot alike since Trestman has two rings as a HC (Grey Cups – but really, who is counting those as major championships?) and has missed the playoffs in his one season at Chicago.

  20. , Trestman has won two Grey Cups and lost in the final of a third.
    And would have gone to a fourth if his receiver didn’t drop a sure catch in the end zone in the 2012 Eastern Final against the Argos.

  21. Comparing Trestman to Jackson is silly. But, just because a guy who has been an NFL HC for one year hasn’t yet won a SB doesn’t mean he is no good. It sure was nice to reminisce about those dominant Bulls teams though.

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