A sense of entitlement has always bothered me both from a personal standpoint and a professional one. It’s because I grew up with nothing and never had anything given to me. That’s why I found the words Chicago Bears Chairman of the Board George McCaskey said in a radio interview last week so distasteful. During an interview on WSCR 670 in Chicago, he said, “We feel we are uniquely qualified to carry on George Halas’ legacy,” when speaking of his family. I wished the interviewer pushed him to clarify the meaning behind those words, because outside of being one of Halas’ many grandchildren, what other qualification does he or anyone named McCaskey have?
The Bears have been a laughing stock under McCaskey’s ownership. Outside of a few playoff appearances under Lovie Smith—and his teams underachieved magnificently for those who wax nostalgic—the Bears haven’t been relevant in Chicago since the eighties. In his last move running the Bears, owner and league founder Halas hired former Bear Mike Ditka to take over the team. While you can question his legacy too, he was the coach the only time the Bears lifted the Lombardi trophy.
Halas died on Halloween in 1983. A little more than two years before his last move paid dividends and Bears fans had a reason to be truly proud of their franchise. It’s appropriate he passed on Halloween, because the Bears have been run by clowns ever since. Maybe not in costume, but there is no question the organization has been rudderless under McCaskey ownership.
And for those hoping perhaps the family would sell the team, George put the kibosh on that—alluding to his brother Pat saying the family intends to hold onto the team until the second coming. He discouraged anyone from even attempting to make an offer, no matter the price. And that’s really bad news for Bears fans.
In a sense, ownership of a sports franchise is like a public trust. It’s not really your team even though you make the money and decisions. You are managing the team for the fan base. Because without their support, you wouldn’t have a team anymore. As I have written before, fans are abandoning the Bears in droves. They are tired of the endless deficiencies with the way this franchise is run.
Outside of Cubs fans, Bears fans have been the most loyal in town. And it’s not deserved. There’s only one team in town, and the McCaskey’s are lucky for that. There were two teams in Chicago back around the time when the Bears were actually Monsters of the Midway, but you have to go back to the 50s since the fans had a choice. The Bears were the favored team in town by a mile. But I think if the NFL granted Chicago an expansion team today, the Bears would become the White Sox compared to the Cubs in terms of popularity.
Ownership of a sports franchise is a privilege, not a right. The McCaskey family seems to think otherwise. In their warped way of thinking, it is seemingly a birthright that allows them to hold the team hostage. To keep them rooted in the past century. There is no forward thinker in the family. And with a bunch of simpletons running the inheritance into the ground, there is very little hope anything is going to change anytime soon. Unfortunately, football is foolproof, as the family has proven. And you can’t lose money no matter how incompetent you are. The fans may stop attending games at the mistake by the lake, (Sorry, Cleveland, for stealing your line) but with the built-in revenue the NFL provides, the McCaskey’s can carry on with blinders just as they have for the past 34 years.
The McCaskey’s never did anything to deserve ownership of the team outside of being born into the family. Should that be enough to give them total domain of the local football viewing fans in Chicago?
Shouldn’t there be a provision in sports that if cities are handcuffed by inept ownership, those in charge are required to put the team up for sale? Otherwise, the league takes over and runs the team until they find qualified owners to give the fans an ownership group that understands the game. An ownership group that cares about the fans. That hasn’t been the case in Chicago for so long. And the arrogance of the family, their sense of entitlement that the team should be in their family for perpetuity angers me to no end.
I’m not talking about the league stepping in after a few bad years, either. But when you see decades of ineptitude, doesn’t something have to be done? The teams really do belong to the fans, even if the local entity doesn’t acknowledge it.
When fans of the team such as this writer are rooting for the Green Bay Packers, the Bears hated enemy, something is wrong. I can’t speak for others, but I envy Packer fans. They have had back-to-back Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. They play football the right way and are fun to watch. Throughout a lifetime of Bears games, they have rarely been fun to watch. I just watched because that’s what you do on Sunday. But no more.
I’m tired of Bears football. And if the status quo is what I’m stuck with, I can find other things to do. As attendance figures show, lots of other fans are jumping on the bandwagon. The Bears had their lowest attendance numbers since 1979.
Years of losing has taken a toll. If the arrogant McCaskey’s aren’t careful, they might be captaining an empty ship.