The Bears have started out the second half of the season with two losses against divisional rivals in games they were favored to win at home. The calls for John Fox’s job reached a crescendo after his failed challenge against the Packers. The embarrassment of that loss supposedly infuriated the 93 year old matriarch of the Bears, owner Virginia McCaskey, according to several Bears beat writer’s across the city.
As someone who lives with an elderly parent around 90 years old, I take this bit of news about Virginia being mad, with a little bit of a giggle. Not a lot, but a little. I don’t want to disrespect Virginia, I have heard she is a great lady. But I kind of treat my father’s temper tantrums like I would that of my youngest niece and nephew, not very seriously. Give it a few minutes, distract them with a different topic, a treat, or a even a joke, and all is forgotten five or ten minutes later.
Don’t get me wrong, things that are repeated over and over on Fox news, get stuck in my father’s craw and can send him into fits of anger at any time. “Those damn democrats!” Which I imagine is similar to Virginia’s blood pressure rising every time she sees a replay of John Fox’s reaction to winning his challenge but losing the ball and the touchdown against the Packers. That was the real cardinal sin that Fox committed; losing to the Packer’s when favored. I think Virginia must have been spurned as a little girl by a Curly Lambeau or even a young Ray Nitschke, to harbor such resentment from the kings of the north. Or perhaps she was angered by the play by play announcer, that pointed out that Green Bay now leads the head to head series against the Bears for the first time ever.
Yes, house McCaskey isn’t what it used to be, or should I say… never was. Serious followers of the Bears can point out and give proper credit to the House Halas. It was the old man, George, who hired all of the coaches that would lead the Bears to glory in Super Bowl 20. Ditka, Ryan and all of the assistants were all old school guys hired by George when he took over the team again after his son, George Jr. the team President, aka “Mugs” Halas, passed away at age 54 on December 16, 1979. The mystery surrounding George Jr’s death and it’s aftermath is like something out of Dynasty.
The current wife, the ex-wife, people being written out of wills, a reorganization of the team and lawsuits galore all happened before they actually exhumed George Jr.’s body to determine his cause of death. The original cause of death, a severe heart attack, was kept when there was no other evidence found due to the extreme decay of the body. Mug’s first wife Therese, believed that the preservation of the body was botched on purpose, so that his real cause of death would never be discovered.
What happened afterward was basically a hostile takeover of the Bears by the McCaskey’s who had the old man’s will re-structured to give the direct heir, Virginia, her percentage, and then give equal share’s to the grandchildren, because McCaskey granchildren outnumbered Halas grandchildren 7-2. Afterward, the Halas grandchildren and their mother lost court battle after court battle when they believed they were due a larger payout for the insurance money. The McCaskey’s revealed that things had been re-organized within the team by the patriarch, George Sr., before his death in October of 1983. The McCaskey family subsequently bought out the shares of the team owned by the Halas grandchildren in order to own the team outright.
In the following years, it’s believed that the McCaskey’s have done further restructuring to sell shares of the team to raise money for projects, like the construction of Halas Hall in Lake Forest. But all restructuring maintains that the McCaskey’s will retain majority control of the team until possibly Virginia’s own passing. The family has said that they will forever own the team, but there are people out there who believe that the family could not weather the inheritance tax they would have to pay in the likelihood of Virginia’s passing. Some people have estimated this tax could be in the hundred’s of millions, since the team is said to be worth 2.85 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
Now son George McCaskey is in charge of the team, the Chairman of the Board, as they like to call it. George followed older brother Michael, and their father Ed, into the big chair. The other person in charge during the past 20 years has been Ted Phillips who was made team president in 1999, after spending 6 years as vice-president to Michael, and the previous decade as bean counter and contract negotiator, after being hired in 1984. Smells like a kiss ass to me. I also find it disturbing that both McCaskey sons, Michael and George remind me of a young Mr. Burns from the Simpsons TV show. They look like they have the same upper body strength as the cartoon villain as well.
It should come as no surprise that Ditka did not like the grand offspring of his mentor, old man Halas. The feeling was mutual, with Michael fired “Da Coach” after the 1992 season, Ditka’s second losing season in three years. Ditka and every head coach hired since then had no previous experience in the NFL as a head coach. Mark Trestman was, and is, a head coach in the Canadian League, about to make another appearance in the Grey Cup with Toronto. Current head coach John Fox is the only previous head coach to guide the Bears, and actually has quite a bit of success on his resume, coaching two different teams to the Super Bowl.
Based on their body of hires in the front office as well as coaches, it seems like the McCaskey’s have an aversion to type A personalities. They seem to like getting their collective asses kissed. Why else would you continue to hire people who are non-confrontational, player’s coaches and people who are inexperienced in their fields? It’s an alarming pattern to follow, parading another son in the family to a podium at Halas Hall to introduce another in a long line of players coaches.
The press around the Bears is never happy and the fandom of Bears nation hasn’t been happy in a long while. The press has lamented about the lack of experience on the sideline at Soldier Field for years, and now that he’s here, can’t wait to run him out of town. Everybody seems to be giving the General Manager Ryan Pace a free pass, because, maybe, or due in part to the fact, that he also had no previous experience in his current job. The press has been publishing item’s like, “let Pace hire his own coach” for weeks. Are they implying that Fox’s hiring came from upstairs in George’s office? Either way it sound’s like a bit of a cop-out. It seems like Pace is getting a pass until it is seen what kind of talent he surrounds his young quarterback, Trubisky, with.
Anyhow, consecutive losses to division rivals and mounting injuries, which means almost no chances to succeed going forward this year, have Fox on a seat growing hotter by the week. The Bears are currently 3-7, one game from my worst case scenario of 4-6. But a trip to Philadelphia against the Eagles, who have won seven in a row, couldn’t come at worse time for Fox. Based on their performance the last two weeks, the Bears seem to have no chance against Philadelphia.
I’ll be shocked if the Bears actually try to save Fox’s job with a performance that keeps them close. I’m predicting total annihilation. The Bears defense has been the bigger disappointment the last two weeks, has lost almost all of it’s original roster of linebackers, the secondary is losing confidence and they are facing an offense, and possible MVP quarterback Carson Wentz, that has been steamrolling people. Eagles 47-20.
That would make them 3-8 and mean that this season is over, for all intents and purposes. The only step from here, is to develop their prized quarterback Trubisky as quickly as possible and not get him killed in games that get out of hand, behind an offensive line that is deteriorating as fast as their season.
Someone tell Glennon to get warmed up.