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Chicago Bears: Failure Starts at the Top

At face value, the problems with the Chicago Bears rest on their terrible offense and coaching. There is no doubt that these problems are the cause of Chicago losing week to week. However, the Bears issues go much deeper than that. The Chicago Bears failures truly start at the top of the organization with the McCaskey family and President Ted Phillips.

Ted Phillips and the Bears

In the past 20 years, the Bears have only made the playoffs five times and reached one Super Bowl. Chicago has made many bad hires during the past two decades, both at the general manager and head coach position.

The man controlling these team decisions is Chairman George McCaskey. He is a member of the McCaskey family, the principal owners of the Chicago Bears and direct descendants of founder George Halas. As Chairman and a leading member of the McCaskey’s, whatever he says goes.

However, George McCaskey claims to not have much football knowledge. That is why he relies on the President and CEO of the team, Ted Phillips, for advice.

(George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Phillips was appointed President of the Bears in 1999, or 20 NFL seasons ago. It would not be a stretch to say that Phillips, a man with little football knowledge himself, could be a reason for Chicago’s recent struggles.

There is no doubt that Phillips has done some great things things for the Bears franchise. He helped attract fans and improved the organization through actions like moving the Bears summer camp back to Illinois, overseeing the renovation of Soldier Field and raising the Bears into the top 10 most valuable NFL franchises. The Bears have skyrocketed financially under his leadership.

This is not to mention Phillips’ loyalty to the organization and the McCaskey family. He has worked for the Bears since 1983 and is highly trusted by the McCaskey’s.

For these reasons, Phillips is still around. However, the Chicago Bears will not be a consistently good team as long as Ted Phillips is controlling football operations.

The Pattern

The Bears issues over the past five years are a perfect example of why Ted Phillips is the wrong president.

In January of 2015, Chicago hired Ryan Pace to take over the position of general manager. This ultimately was Chairman George McCaskey’s decision, but Ted Phillips, being in the inner circle of the Bears organization, was the one whispering in McCaskey’s ear. In the end, with the help of a consultant, Phillips was really the person who chose Pace to be the general manager.

(Mike Schmidt/Chicago Sun-Times)

After hiring Pace, this inner circle decided who the next Bears head coach would be. Instead of allowing their new General Manager to select the head coach, they completely undercut him and chose John Fox, who ended up doing poorly in his two years with the Bears. In doing so, they got off to the wrong foot with their new General Manager and wasted another two seasons of Chicago football.

Once Ryan Pace took over, he made plenty of bad decisions. He drafted the wrong quarterback in Mitch Trubisky and put together one of the worst offenses in Bears history. Beyond selecting Trubisky, he has a long history of early round draft misses and has completely ignored issues with the Bears offensive line.

This all shows that the Bears problems start at the very top. Phillips’ decision to hire Pace was terrible, and the negative impact on the team is very clear.

This five year catastrophe is a pattern with the Bears. It is why they have not selected a good quarterback or had a successful offense in Phillips’ 20 years with the organization. There is one way to fix things for good – hire a new, better president. This rests on the shoulders of the McCaskey family to fire Phillips and find the right person to replace him.

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