Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey spoke with reporters while at the NFL’s owners meetings in Orlando. You can get the full scope of what he had to say on a variety of topics from Kevin Fishbain (The Athletic), Adam Jahns (Sun-Times, here and here), Colleen Kane (Tribune), and Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly).
For now, here are some highlights alongside some thoughts of my own:
- McCaskey does not mince words as he sets out some pretty lofty expectations. “I’ve said it many times. The goal every year is to win the Super Bowl. You saw what happened with the Eagles last year. They came together. They got it done. It’s something that we’d love to see but we understand also that Matt will take time to grow into his role and finding the right composition of the team takes time.”
- More championship-caliber thoughts: “Whatever it takes to win the Super Bowl. If it’s offense, if it’s defense. It’s become much more of a passing league, as you know. But I still think the adage applies, defense wins championships. When the Bears were the Monsters of the Midway they had a pretty darn good offense. Whatever it takes to win.”
- It all starts at the top with GM Ryan Pace and his hire of new head coach Matt Nagy, a move McCaskey seems to be pleased with. Pace has talked about having conviction in decision-making, and it appears the strength in his conviction that the team has made the right hire in Nagy has rubbed off on McCaskey. “The biggest reason is because Ryan believes in him so strongly. He’s just very impressive from the get-go. You’ve seen it already – very dynamic presence, very confident leader, an innovator. We’re looking forward to him doing great things for the Bears.” Same here, Mr. Chairman.
- Brian Urlacher’s time in Chicago ended abruptly when former GM Phil Emery did not offer a new contract to the Bears legend when his deal expired. With Urlacher entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, the 2018 season seems like a good time to bring the legend back into the fold. And McCaskey seems optimistic it can happen. “[W]e’ve been trying to get him to Soldier Field, open invitation. We didn’t want it to not be until the year he got in but it’s turning out that’s how it’s working out. I’m hoping at least for the presentation of his ring we can get him over there.
- In what appears to be a popular move based on the response of the majority of folks we have interacted with, the Bears will fade to orange in 2018 in a move that seems to be going over well with a majority of you folks out there. But why? McCaskey opens a window to change. “What I like about it is, because I don’t want to say throwback, but it is reminiscent of our uniform in the 1930s when we had the then-record for consecutive regular-season wins, largely wearing orange jerseys.”
- Look good. Feel good. Play good. Bonus points if you can pull off a Nathan Vasher:
- Beyond having new jerseys, McCaskeys is optimistic about the Bears’ future. Perhaps it has something to do with the new players who will be wearing those jerseys. It’s definitely not just us who feels like a new day is upon us when it comes to Bears football. “Well, we’re encouraged; we’re hopeful. But Ted (Phillips) hit the nail on the head. We have to get results. Bears fans have been remarkably patient, and we need to reward that patience.”
- While the Bears will bring out a new-look jersey, one thing that isn’t changing is McCaskey’s stance on protests of social injustice during the playing of the national anthem. The Bears were among the group of teams to lock arms in solidarity during the playing of the national anthem, and if that’s what the team decides to do in 2018, McCaskey says he will back the team. “We also said that we would support them in whatever they decided to do, and we strongly encouraged them that whatever they decided to do, to do it together, and that’s what they did.”
- Until Mitch Trubisky is out on the gridiron putting up big numbers and winning games, thoughts of the wasted time (and money) on Mike Glennon will continue to pop up in conversations. “Ryan has acknowledged his role in that and taken responsibility for that. Mike is a great guy. He represented the Bears well. It just didn’t work out. And when his role changed, he handled it in as classy a manner as you could possibly want from somebody, and that’s, I think, an indication of the type of person Mike is.”
- Sigh. Despite it all, I can’t shake the fact that the Glennon deal was a bust. And we say that while considering how team-friendly it was in the sense that it was basically a one-year pact because of how it was constructed. Despite the whiff, McCaskey still has faith in GM Ryan Pace after this winter’s spending spree.