By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) Powerful words from the daughter of George Halas were the ultimate impetus for the swift and massive change now sweeping through the offices of the Chicago Bears.
Chairman George McCaskey, president Ted Phillips and other members of the ownership board had long been in discussions over the ultimate fate of general manager Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman and others, soliciting advice from respected voices as to how they could approach the remodeling of the NFL’s founding franchise. Something was going to happen, but the scope of the plan was still undetermined until recently.
George has been described in recent days as angry, frustrated and single-minded in a way none had seen him previously. The reason for that — and the reason the firings came so swiftly and decisively — was Virginia McCaskey, the team’s matriarch and principal owner, speaking up strongly.
“She told George that she was embarrassed,” a source told 670 The Score on the condition of anonymity. “It was in no uncertain terms. She made it very clear how she felt about the current state of the team, and that resonated deeply with George.”
The usual dithering and inertia are gone, with the chairman making essentially unilateral moves. Everything is now on the table, including a business model emulating the Cubs and/or the Blackhawks, with Phillips moved to a business side-only role and joined by an equivalent executive overseeing all things football-related.
George McCaskey is concerned about his legacy and that of the Bears, and he understands the size of the task at hand in the aftermath of a ruined season that exposed a weak roster and ill-considered contractual obligations. He decided to act and was encouraged to do so after hearing the opinion of his mother, the team’s 91-year-old owner.