By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Moments following the conclusion of general manager Ryan Pace addressing the Bears’ football future, chairman George McCaskey stepped outside of the Halas Hall media room to the midway room, a large, spacious corridor that bears images of the franchise’s fame.
McCaskey is in charge of overseeing the entire franchise at every level. It’s his family’s organization, the pride and joy. A self-proclaimed fan, McCaskey relates to the frustration in Chicago that followed a 3-13 campaign, the Bears’ worst in a 16-game schedule.
“Bears fans have been terrific,” McCaskey said. “Through thick and thin.
“We get that the Bears are such an important part of people’s lives, and we need to do our part. Bears fans deserve a winner.”
As the man in charge of evaluating the Bears’ season, McCaskey is sticking by Pace and coach John Fox for a third season in charge of the organization after their two years have produced a 9-23 mark. There will be no restructuring of the front office hierarchy, no consultant to oversee the operation and two coordinators who are currently set to return. The expectation is to produce results in 2017.
“The whole season was disappointing,” McCaskey said.
Pace stated that he believes in the backing from McCaskey and the organization, just as McCaskey expressed his faith in Pace while standing in the same place as two years ago when he declared the franchise had acquired a rising star at general manager.
But the disappointment of missing the playoffs nine times in a decade is greatly frustrating for McCaskey, who has seen his Bears endure one of their worst three-year stretches ever. Meanwhile, top receiver Alshon Jeffery guaranteed the team would win the Super Bowl next season.
That seemed hard to imagine after 3-13.
“It can’t be the norm,” McCaskey said. “The goal everywhere every year is to win the Super Bowl. I think what Alshon (Jeffery) said was great. I think he was trying to put his teammates on notice, that winning the Super Bowl begins in the offseason, and that they should get away from the game, rest, heal up, but then get after it in their offseason programs and be ready to go when we start mini-camp.”
McCaskey was relaying the words of his mother, Bears matriarch Virginia McCaskey. Two years ago, George said Virginia was “pissed off” with the losing when the Bears fired coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery in late December 2014.
Thinking of his mother, McCaskey became emotional.
“She’ll be 94 tomorrow,” McCaskey said Wednesday. “She has outlived her dad, her mom, her only sibling, her husband and a son. She’s had her share of heartache. But she is a remarkably resilient person. I tell people that she’s tougher than her dad was. And those who know her don’t disagree. This is hard for her. Every loss is painful. But she supports what we’re doing. She’s on board. Like every Bears fan, she wants more wins. And we intend to get them for her.”