George McCaskey gets plenty of grief from Chicago Bears fans for his handling of the franchise since taking over in 2011. It’s hard not to understand why. Two winning seasons in a decade will do that. One thing people can never say about the team chairman is that he lacks heart. The man has proven time and again that he is more than willing to help people inside and outside the organization. He is quite personable.
Another example of this giving mentality came during a special new event called the NFL Coach and Front Office Accelerator Program. One glaring issue facing the NFL is the struggles of minority executives and coaches to find GM and head coaching jobs in the league. Representatives from each team were sent to attend, where they had a significant opportunity to meet and converse with owners from other teams. The Bears sent assistant GM Ian Cunningham and defensive coordinator Alan Williams. According to Larry Mayer of Chicagobears.com, McCaskey played a pivotal role in helping introduce them to several people.
Williams lauded George H. McCaskey for introducing him and Cunningham to NFL owners, saying that the Bears chairman went “above and beyond.” Williams especially enjoyed speaking to Cowboys executive Stephen Jones, the son of Dallas owner Jerry Jones, and Patriots president Jonathan Kraft, the son of New England owner Robert Kraft…
…”We all recognize that there’s a huge disparity with minority coaches, with minority front office people, women and men, being hired to those leadership positions,” Williams said. “What they’re trying to do is take steps to solve that problem, not just bring awareness to it. I think people are aware of it; we’re in the business of solving problems.”
One thing about the McCaskey family is they don’t fear minority hires.
Lovie Smith was brought aboard as head coach in 2004. He was only the seventh black head coach in professional football history. He enjoyed a successful eight-year run that included a Super Bowl berth and three division titles. This past January, they hired former Chiefs personnel director Ryan Poles as their new general manager. So nobody can say the family has any racial bias in their hiring process.
McCaskey himself was an outspoken advocate of helping ease tensions following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers a few years ago. So it’d make sense he would have no issue helping those like Cunningham and Williams network with league higher-ups to improve their odds of career advancement.
George McCaskey has faults but being kind isn’t one of them.
Several owners in the league wouldn’t be willing to do what he did. Many believe Cunningham is one of the rising stars in the executive community. He came up through the vaunted Baltimore Ravens scouting department before helping the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl in 2017. Now he finally has a chance to work with his friend Poles in Chicago, and the two are excited about the work done thus far.
As for Williams, he’s been an NFL staple for the past two decades. As a defensive backs coach, he helped the Indianapolis Colts win the Super Bowl in 2006. His previous foray as a defensive coordinator met with mixed results in Minnesota in 2012 and 2013. This marks his second opportunity. He no doubt hopes to have a far better experience. At 52-years old, this might be his last chance to go after a head coaching job. If the program helped anybody, it was him.
Having a conscientious owner doesn’t hurt, either.
George McCaskey helped give him every opportunity to sell himself to other organizations. If he made a favorable impression with any of them, that figures to help in the near future when some of them might end up hunting for new head coaches.