The Chicago Bears made a big move by hiring Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren as the team’s next President and CEO.
Warren replaces longtime leader Ted Phillips who is retiring. Warren will be tasked with helping the Chicago Bears potentially build a new stadium in Arlington Heights, Illinois along with overseeing the job general manager Ryan Poles is doing.
This hiring is going to dramatically alter the way the Chicago Bears do business. By tabbing Warren to run the NFL’s charter franchise, it means the mom-and-pop shop days are over.
Warren is the first team president with no direct prior ties to the franchise.
The McCaskey’s are finally signaling to the world that is time to act like a big-market franchise operating in the 21st century instead of thinking it is still 1921.
Outside of maybe hiring Theo Epstein, this is the best hire team chairman George McCaskey could have made. Warren is the man who expanded the Big Ten into the West Coast. He negotiated a huge television contract for the conference as well.
Warren also was a tremendous asset in the Minnesota Vikings front office as their chief operating officer.
The Bears have the chance to go from a sleeping giant franchise to revenue power. Warren was instrumental in helping the Vikings build US Bank Stadium.
Looking at building a new stadium, the Chicago Bears went out and hired the most obvious choice to help them achieve this goal. Phillips did his best to help the McCaskey’s secure ownership for future generations but that was about all he did.
Phillips’s legacy is getting Soldier Field renovated but it was an unimaginative retrofit that left the Bears with one of the smallest stadiums in the NFL.
Warren has a proven track record for developing a world-class facility that is more than just a football venue. It made sense to go big and get the Big Ten commissioner to come and run the team.
This hire is going to help the Chicago Bears become a powerhouse NFL team.
Warren has a track record for making an NFL franchise a lot of money. He also has a record for making an entire conference a ton of cash as well.
You can bet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is going to tap into Warren’s ability to negotiate television contracts especially as the league continues to deal with streaming services.
He has the potential to morph the Bears into a franchise on par with the New England Patriots, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Los Angeles Rams as a power broker franchise.
This is a man who believes okay is not okay. Okay has been a normal business practice in Lake Forest ever since Mike Ditka left town.
He demands excellence and that is something that has been lacking at Halas Hall ever since Papa Bear George Halas passed away in 1983.
To be fair, the McCaskey family wanted to win they just did not know how. The history of their hiring showed they were never interested in networking and being connected in league circles to bring in the best people to make football decisions. In fact, they were always doing what others told them to do.
The problem is when you pay consultants like Bill Polian or Ernie Accorsi to help make big-picture decisions, they are not going to stick around to make sure the choice works out.
Consulting with the other family-owned franchises like the Rooney’s, the Mara’s, and the Bidwell’s is also turning to people that might not have your best interest at heart.
Now the Bears have a person in place who can tap into an abundance of resources for feedback and advice if he needs it. He may not need a lot as Warren is well-connected and has the experience needed to accomplish the goals he is being tasked with.
He has enough NFL experience to be able to properly assess the job Ryan Poles is doing. He has the relationships and expertise to get a start-of-the-art stadium built.
Also, let’s not overlook the historical significance this hiring has made. The Bears now have a black president, general manager and starting quarterback.
The Chicago Bears are making all sorts of progress. It is good progress which is something that does not get said about the franchise a lot over the last 40 years.