Every great franchise has an iconic team.
And every iconic team has someone responsible for putting it all together.
For the Chicago Bears, it is the ’85 Bears. The Super Bowl XX champs are the standard by which all Bears teams must live up to. One of the architects of that team was General Manager Jerry Vainisi, who passed away at the age of 80. The Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer has the story:
Vainisi served in a handful of roles in spending more than a decade with the Bears — including treasurer and general manager. He began that role in 1983 after replacing Jim Finks, and would remain in that role until the Bears were ousted from the playoffs by Washington after the 1986 campaign. Among the most notable things Vainisi did was give the Honey Bears the boot, as reported by the Tribune in November 1985. He even even said the team could replace the Bears’ cheerleaders with a high school band. That never happened, and the Bears haven’t had cheerleaders since. Vainisi would move on to the Detroit Lions, where he was the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel when the team chose Oklahoma State running back Barry Sanders with the third pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. That guy was pretty good.
In the end, Vainisi lived a solid life. Getting 80 years on this planet, winning a Super Bowl, and getting inducted into the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame is impressive. May his family and friends find peace in this time of mourning.