January 8, 2010
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
I know I'm going to get grief for this, but the thought crossed my mind the other day, and like Degrassi High on the N network, I go there.
Watching that debacle of a press conference the Bears put on the other day—and the results that came from it—made me think back to something that happened a few years back that changed the fate of another franchise in Chicago—the Blackhawks.
Hockey was dead in Chicago.
The newspapers barely covered it, and there was nary a word mentioned about it on the local sports radio stations. In fact, there was an edict on one of the stations not to mention the Hawks because they were afraid listeners would turn the dial.
Then something dramatic happened.
Team owner Bill Wirtz passed away in 2007 and his son Rocky took over running the franchise.
Fortunately, he wasn't a chip off the old block.
While Bill was like his father Arthur before him and had the Hawks relegated to the "stone age," Rocky came in and changed everything, including putting the Hawks home games on free TV.
What was a forgotten franchise with a few token hard-core fans now sells out the United Center every game and are mid-season favorites to drink from Sir Stanley's cup.
The Hawks were once the toughest ticket in town in the early sixties with Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita amongst the stars on the team, and they are again relevant because of an owner with foresight.
The Bears don't have to worry about being forgotten about because they're the only game in town when it comes to football, so they have a fan base that isn't going anywhere.
But the inmates are getting tired of seeing this once proud franchise built by the father of football and the Chicago Bears, George Halas, run into the ground.
A Sunday staple for its fans now has guys giving in to the wife and following through on the honey-do list during the game because they are so tired of the same old thing every year.
The only solace from this disappointing season was supposed to be change at the top of the organization.
Instead we got a reshuffling of the deck chairs on the Titantic.
Obviously losing isn't enough to make this franchise take the necessary steps to do what is necessary to win instead of preserving the pocketbook.
Like the Blackhawks, the Bears are a family run organization with eighty-seven year old Virginia McCaskey captaining the ship.
Unfortunately, it has run off course and I don't think she knows how to right it.
When you get to a certain age, nothing is promised to you, including tomorrow. I'm not wishing for anything bad here, but when the inevitable happens, it will shake up the franchise.
This is the family business, and there are a bunch of siblings that are all going to be fighting for a piece of the pie and the only way to slice it up might be to sell the team
I think that's the only way there will be real change with this organization.
Getting a new owner with vision like the Hawks did might put the Bears on the path to the Super Bowl. There are no guarantees, but almost anyone would have to be better than the McCaskeys.
I fought writing this article and I hope my girlfriend doesn't see it because she's not going to be happy with me, but it had to be said.
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