In Praise of Virginia McCaskey

| August 25th, 2022

Virginia McCaskey is 99 years old. Let’s put that number in perspective.

– When Virginia was born, sound was still four years away from being introduced to motion pictures.

– Virginia was born two months before the first ever publication of Time Magazine, in March 1923.

– Across the country, other icons were born that year. The Hollywood Sign (reading “Hollywoodland”) was erected in LA. Yankee Stadium and the boardwalk at Coney Island opened in NYC. The Walt Disney Company was founded.

Virginia is not in good health. In the last few days, word has trickled to DBB that her condition has become more serious. At her age, the word “good” is relative. (I just turned 40 and now my neck always hurts. If I live another 59 years, which is highly unlikely, will I even have a neck?) She’s on the precipice of living a century so one could argue that being alive, in any state, is playing with house money. But this seemed the appropriate moment to thank her for what she’s meant to the Chicago Bears franchise.

And where does one start?

Virginia is football’s link between then and now, heir to a founding fortune and keeper of one of this country’s most sacred sporting entities. Even while the family she married into has often caused consternation amongst the fan base, she has maintained her position, often symbolic, with dignity and passion. Virginia understands what the Chicago Bears mean to Chicago, what the Bears mean to their fans around the world, and always encouraged those leading the franchise to do whatever necessary to bring home another Super Bowl trophy. While they have failed, she has not.

It has become commonplace to see female owners in the NFL, in Detroit and Tennessee and Seattle. Virginia has been an NFL owner for 40 years. Not the wife of an owner. The owner. How many other women were running major American businesses in the early 1980s? And how many have not only maintained that role but earned the respect of the alpha male tycoon yahoos that surround her? “She’s remarkable woman,” Jim Irsay told The Score. Remarkable barely does her justice.

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Mack Traded, McCaskey Turmoil, More Media: Friday News & Notes Around the Chicago Bears

| March 11th, 2022

These will be a bunch of random thoughts about a host of things happening around the Chicago Bears.

  • Virginia McCaskey is not well. And things inside the McCaskeys are not either. The family has rarely been in this much turmoil over the last thirty years and there are some close to the organization who believe a sale might actually be on the table once Virginia passes. (Reminds of Michael not killing Fredo until after his mother is dead in Godfather Part II.)
  • One of the major issues facing George is replacing Ted Phillips, who is set to retire in 2023. George doesn’t have to plan to do it and is ill-equipped to handle any of the duties currently performed by Ted. (He’s also not particularly interested in doing that much work.) Bears fans have never understood that the team’s connections around the league are Ted’s, not George’s, and ultimately, it’ll be Ted that leads the process of finding his replacement inside Halas Hall. (Also look for Cliff Stein to be an internal frontrunner.)
  • Listen, I don’t know if the new CHGO Sports will be successful or not, but I do like many of the people involved. I do know it’s continuing a movement in sports media away from the written word and almost exclusively to the podcast format. That depresses me. I got into this game because of the work of Mike Lupica in the Daily News and Jerry Izenberg in the Newark Star-Ledger. I came to love writing about movies because of Roger Ebert in the Sun-Times. As I grew older and discovered the likes of Hamill, Breslin and Royko, I found there was a place for a unique style in an old medium. Newspapers may not be what they used to be but it’s sad to think their legacy is being lost, especially in the sports genre.
  • James Daniels has been a focal point of #BearsTwitter but Ryan Poles was less than impressed with the guard in his initial evaluations of the roster. It’s not that he doesn’t think Daniels is a good player. He does. But the inconsistency is alarming.
  • “What if the Bears let Daniels walk and broke the bank for Terron Armstead at tackle?” Armstead will be 31 this season and has never played 16 games. I don’t see a rookie GM taking that financial risk.

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