Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
NEW ORLEANS — During NFL owners’ meetings full of distractions, Bears chairman Michael McCaskey provided much-needed perspective and earned two ovations.
After commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged McCaskey, who will hand the chairmanship of the Bears to his younger brother George in early May, he addressed owners, coaches and executives Tuesday with a powerful four-minute speech that Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder described as “beautiful.”
“It was very thoughtful, touching and really moved a lot of people,” said Clark Hunt, the chairman of the Kansas City Chiefs. “It was a tremendous speech.”
Added Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian: “It was eloquent, it was on point, educational, interesting and entirely in keeping with how he’s conducted himself in all his years in the league.
“We’ll miss him.”
McCaskey, who wasn’t available to comment after his speech, recounted how his grandfather George Halas founded pro football and shaped what has become the most popular sport in the United States.
Snyder marveled at McCaskey’s recollection.
“I’ll tell you, I was just loving the story,” Snyder said.
McCaskey lamented that the Green Bay Packers were the defending Super Bowl champions and that the Bears would work to unseat them. But with a lockout in place, McCaskey “put things in perspective,” Packers president Mark Murphy said.
“He talked about his grandfather being at the table in 1920, when the league was being formed,” Murphy said. “I mean, that takes you all the way back to the beginning.”
George McCaskey said he’s looking forward to taking over as chairman of the Bears (“It’s a big responsibility,” he said), but he was proud of his older brother on Tuesday.
“It was very gratifying how well-regarded he is by the other owners,” George McCaskey said. “This group he was addressing is not easily impressed, and you could tell they were impressed.”