This is a special piece from DBB contributor Chris Marrs. Marrs doesn’t cover the Bears professionally. He’s just a fan who spends too much time thinking about this team. Longtime reader, first time caller, he looks forward to contributing to DaBearsBlog, which he considers the ’85 Bears of blogs.
There is something magical about that navy backdrop in the press room at Halas Hall – you know, the one behind the podium, featuring the iconic logo that stands unmistakably for pride, tradition, and the excellence we’ve come to expect from Hyundai (the Bears’ logo is on there too). When otherwise bright, accomplished men sit in front of it, they magically transform into clumsy, tone deaf, empty suits in orange ties, barfing so many corporate clichés that you’d swear they were doing shots of them backstage.
It has been a few weeks now since the Bears latest autopsy press conference on January 10th. This one was bigger, though, serving as an introduction of sorts to Bears fans’ most recent knight in shining armor: new Team President Kevin Warren. This moment would be his first true time-of-crisis Q & A as the boss.
There was such hope for Warren. First new president in 25 years. Accomplished. Connected. Dynamic. Ted Phillips was The Penguin. This was Batman.
We all saw Warren’s comments days earlier at Lurie Children’s Hospital – by the way, cheers to Warren and his family for their support of Lurie. Good people. Wonderful gesture. Makes these next several paragraphs tougher, but such is life. Because five days later, sitting in front of that navy backdrop, Warren’s ideas weren’t fresh or new or encouraging. To put it as elegantly as I can, Warren swung a two-by-four into the nuts of Bears fandom.
The Prez opened his comments with an inane suck-up-to-reporters icebreaker, noting the “sacrifice” everyone makes to be away from their families, even on a “day like today” – this was a Wednesday at 3pm. They were at work. What followed was the most disappointing Bears interview since Savannah Guthrie lovingly consoled Cody Parkey on the Today Show.
As evidence of just how little Warren has been available to speak, the assembled beat crew took this chance to waste valuable minutes on the stadium “issue.” In the beat’s defense, I Warren did include in his opening comments his commitment to build the most “…smartly priced, on time, under budget stadium development project that has ever been built.” Woah! Way to fire up the fans, Kev! Now talk about municipal permits!
We wanted a team president; we got a general contractor.
(Frankly, the Bears could build the Sydney Opera House – with attached mall, fan shop and Dave & Busters! – drop it in downtown Naperville and it’ll just be all that more embarrassing when they’re 2-6 in late-October every year.)
But here was Warren, telling us how “deliberate” he is about it all. He thinks deliberately. Plans deliberately. Has learned the way to build a champion is “deliberately” (George must’ve taken him aside and noted ‘collaboration’ hadn’t gone over great, so let’s find a new banal corporatism and really lean into it – done!).
Warren pointed frequently to the ocean of NFL experience he earned building that dynasty… wait, sorry… building that building in Minnesota.
He also had the gall to several times reference his time with the Super Bowl XXXIV champion Rams (LinkedIn tip: if the last SB you were a part of doesn’t have an L in the Roman Numeral? Take it off your resume). Warren spoke as if he were a key component in the Rams wild success 24 years ago. I’m sure he was. After all, he was the VP of Football Administration & Legal Counsel. Critical. Quick! Name the VP of Football Administration & Legal Counsel for the last 10 Super Bowl winners! Go!
He touched briefly on his time at the Big Ten, but this is about the Bears and we can examine some other time how he Ed Gein’d the Pac 12.
It was all so soul-crushing. The man we saw as our agent of change was making it abundantly clear he is an agent of same. Warren was the great unknown of the last year. The one true hope as an outsider who rode into town and won’t accept the losing any longer. The guy not afraid to bring in an alpha coach like a Harbaugh or a Belichick or a Tomlin. The big-time thinker here to save a small-time outfit. The guy who would end the rich tradition of milquetoast head coaches who hover around .500, vacation in January and get endlessly throttled in Green Bay.
But the magic backdrop got Kevin Warren, too.