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.