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Ted Phillips, not George McCaskey, seems to be in charge of the Bears

Chicago Bears President CEO Ted Phillips talks about firing General Manager Jerry Angelo resigning Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz Tuesday January

Chicago Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips talks about the firing of General Manager Jerry Angelo and the resigning of Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz Tuesday January 3, 2012 at Halas Hall. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 5, 2012 8:11AM



Tuesday was the day, 4 p.m. the time.

That was the scheduled coronation for George McCaskey.

And why not? Throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, McCaskey was the toast of the town. The prodigal grandson finally had stepped into the family business, flexing his muscle in the offices of Halas Hall.

Draft-challenged general manager Jerry Angelo was gone. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz and his trapped-in-the-early-2000s offense were sent packing. Heck, while you’re at it, quarterbacks coach Shane Daly, why don’t you pack up your things and hand in your entry key, as well.

It seemed that some semblance of sanity had finally arrived at the Lake Forest facility.

Then 4 o’clock came, and the curtain was pulled back on the true power structure at Halas Hall.

Be afraid, Bears fans, be very afraid.

Oh, McCaskey spoke. The problem was he sounded as if he would’ve been more comfortable with a cigarette in his mouth, a blindfold tied around his head and a firing squad locked and loaded in his direction.

No, this was the Ted Phillips show.

From onetime organizational bean counter to president & CEO, Teddy Ballgame seems to have the future of the Bears in his hands. And it’s that thought that should keep your pillows drool-free every night.

It was the Cubs and Crane Kenney all over again. And Crane Phillips wasn’t hiding the fact that he’s the one who’s really in charge.

Neither was McCaskey, pointing out that Crane Phillips’ decisions had the Virginia stamp of approval.

Some prodigal grandson.

Apparently, Teddy has a say in everything. He’ll definitely have a say in the next general manager. And that’s not a good thing.

We just went through this song and dance with the North Siders, and it reeks. It’s not the business of winning games; it’s about putting the organizational decisions in the hands of men who are in the business of making money first and foremost.

It’s disingenuous to a loyal fan base in every way.

What the Crane Effect does is allow a suit-wearing, under-qualified subject to take all the glory when decisions go well, while giving him an out and a place to hide when the unplayable turf hits the fan. The ultimate job security.

Thank goodness the Ricketts family came to its senses and hired Theo Epstein to come in. The boy genius instantly drew a line in the sand and told Kenney that he’s on the money side of the business, and only the money side. Basically, stay in your office and play with your calculator.

McCaskey must not have seen the memo.

As soon as Crane Phillips said, ‘‘[Tuesday] is a difficult day. It’s almost 11 years ago that I hired Jerry Angelo as our general manager. I was proud of that decision then, and I think Jerry achieved a lot in our 10-plus seasons,’’ McCaskey should’ve interrupted and said, “Well, then you’re fired, too.’’

Angelo was a Phillips hire. A hire who failed miserably. Just the draft alone was enough to remove Angelo years ago. Since 2005, Angelo churned out Cedric Benson and Chris Williams as first-rounders, while trading away first-round picks three times in that span.

Here’s the first-round draft list for the Steelers since 2003: Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Santonio Holmes, Lawrence Timmons, Rashard Mendenhall, Ziggy Hood, Maurkice Pouncey and Cameron Heyward.

Closer to the Bears’ NFC North home, the Packers have hit on Aaron Rodgers, A.J. Hawk, B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews and Bryan Bulaga in the first round since ’05. Even Detroit has come up big, landing Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh.

Angelo’s ultimate sin, however, was entering this season with a playoff-caliber team, no backup to quarterback Jay Cutler and money left to spend in his pocket. We’re supposed to believe that Crane Phillips had no say in that?

Please.

Tuesday should’ve been a complete housecleaning. The day that George took back the Bears. Phillips, coach Lovie Smith, throw in a few ball boys if it makes you feel better. All gone.

Instead, it was a peek behind the curtain.

A disturbing one at that.



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