Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate CHGO Sports Community!

Hoge's Bears Things: It always starts at the top with the Backwards Bears

Adam Hoge Avatar
September 27, 2023

Good morning, Bears fans.

It’s been a remarkable 17 days for the Chicago Bears. The last time they took the field at Soldier Field, there was an incredible amount of optimism. 

Today, it seems like the organization is headed down a familiar path, with changes inevitable. 

How did we get here? I spent Tuesday looking at obvious red flags. To be honest, I found a bunch, but the biggest one was staring right at me on Jan. 10, 2022 when Bears chairman George McCaskey announced his search committee to find the next general manager and head coach for the organization.

While announcing that search committee, McCaskey revealed that the new general manager would report directly to him, and not to then-CEO Ted Phillips — either an admission he had lost faith in Phillips or an acknowledgment that Phillips was headed towards retirement, which had long been assumed.

And yet, Phillips was still on the search committee to find the next GM.

Naturally, I pressed McCaskey on why Phillips was still involved.

“Because I trust Ted implicitly,” McCaskey responded. “Because I have great respect for his judgment, his analytical skills, and his instincts when it comes to the people that we’re interviewing.”

Less than eight months later, the Bears announced Phillips was set to retire. And yet, Phillips was still able to hire his fourth GM and sixth head coach since he was named team president in 1998. 

A few months later, McCaskey hired Kevin Warren to replace Phillips. 

So here are the Backwards Bears, with a new team president that inherited a GM he didn’t hire, and a GM that inherited a quarterback he didn’t draft. 

Remarkably, three-fifths of the search committee that landed Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus was gone within a year of the search. While Phillips retired, Lamar ‘Soup’ Campbell was ironically fired by the guy he helped hire, as Poles let him go in July 2022. Bill Polian, meanwhile, came and went as consultants do. Only McCaskey and senior vice president diversity, equity and inclusion Tanesha Wade remain.

And we’re supposed to be surprised that the Backwards Bears are back in a familiar place? 

As usual, it starts at the top.

PS — Brian Baldinger will be on the CHGO Bears show today at noon with Nicholas Moreano checking in from Halas Hall, where Justin Fields and Matt Eberflus will be talking with the media. Also, make sure you get your tickets to this Sunday’s tailgate before the Broncos game. Why not guarantee yourself at least one high point for the day?

Get Chicago's Best Sports Content In Your Inbox!

Become a smarter Chicago sports fan with the latest game recaps, analysis and exclusive content from CHGO’s writers and podcasters!

Just drop your email below!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Scroll to next article