About twenty days ago, George McCaskey said he was “just a fan” of the Chicago Bears and that comment was met with an array of outrages. How could this man, the Chairman of the franchise (an official, paid position), be so naive as to suggest he does not bear responsibility for the franchise’s success on the field? Why hadn’t this man, tasked with leading the organization, used all the resources at his disposal to not only be more than a fan, but to be one of the more knowledgeable football men in the league?
It was the most damning moment in his tenure and two things happened in the immediate aftermath of that press conference. Ted Phillips and McCaskey had a heated conversation, as the club’s president made clear to its oblivious owner just how bad the press conference had gone. Then, McCaskey left Halas Hall, leaving Ted alone to discuss the GM candidates with the hiring team and organize their schedules. (Ted didn’t leave the building to well after midnight. McCaskey was not in contact.)
The tension thawed. McCaskey was on the Zoom for every GM candidate, although his participation was extremely limited. One source says the questioning broke down about 70-30, with Bill Polian asking the majority of the questions and Phillips asking the Bears-specific stuff. (Ryan Poles’ comments at his introductory presser mirrored the responses from most candidates, in that Polian was an exceptional leader of these calls.) Ted encouraged George to get more actively involved. George resisted, again not believing it was his place to do so.
Then, something changed.
The Bears interviewed Ryan Poles.