Angelo Fired as Chicago Bears GM

Twenty-nine years of watching a Chicago Bears team run by the McCaskey family has lulled me into never expecting bold moves.

Michael McCaskey took over as president of the team following the death of his Grandfather George Halas in 1983 (as season in which the team finished 8-8 I might add with a smile). Michael went on to fire successful General Manager Jerry Vainisi three seasons later, then ran the team (into the ground) as a Jerry Jones-style GM from 1997-1998. As bad as his first coaching hire in Dave Wannstedt turned out, we must give McCaskey credit for hiring the hottest coach on the market. Then in 1999, Michael hired the safest rather than the most bold in fellow Yalie Dick Jauron.

With the exception of trading for Jay Cutler and signing Julius Peppers to a lucrative free agent contract, the Bears organization has been all about safe, non-controversial, slow, cautious moves.

Thus my jaw nearly hit the keyboard today when I read that GM Jerry Angelo has been fired after running the team for 11 seasons. The fact that Angelo will have to be paid two more years’ salary makes the move even more shocking.

I don’t blame Lovie Smith for the dropoff that led to a 1-5 finish to the 2011 Chicago Bears season, but I had to admit I was tantalized there for a minute thinking the Bears would be in the position to bring in a president and GM like Bill Polian and his son Chris, along with a new head coach and an offensive-oriented system. But shortly later it was announced that Smith is safe. Which should lead us to wonder if this was a power play started and won by Smith, whom the McCaskey family adores.

And going a step further, while I will think positively about this, is it a stretch for justifiably cynical Bears fans to think of the negative possibilities? Could new Chairman of the Board George McCaskey be doing this to take over as defacto GM as his brother did in 1983? Has George developed an affinity for Tim Ruskell and will simply hand the reins to him?

God help us-I do trust they will make the right decision here. But 29 years of history cannot simply be ignored.

9 Responses to “Angelo Fired as Chicago Bears GM”

  1. Like you, I was mostly shocked hearing the news. This is just really out of character for the Bears. I’m not necessarily excited, because this could go a lot of ways. But I am interested. And, I guess, happy that someone is taking the fall for the last 5 years.

    For the record, I’m not worried about an owner-GM situation–just don’t see it–and I’m also not worried about Ruskell taking over. I think he was brought in by Angelo, and I’d be surprised if he survived Angelo’s firing.

    Should be interesting…

  2. If this was a power play as you suggested, then one has to wonder if they are going to bring in Ted Thompson’s right hand man, who worked with Lovie when they were at Tenessee. I, like everyone, cringed at the thought of Ruskell taking over. However, the fact that Angelo was fired and not leaving on his own, makes me believe the new chariman wants to make his mark on the organization. I guess we will find out.

  3. >>Then in 1999, Michael hired the safest rather than the most bold in fellow Yalie Dick Jauron.<<

    That doesn't quite describe it. Jauron was the last selection available to be brought in after Mike McCaskey embarrassed the organization with his failure to secure the services of Dave McGinnis.

  4. MTS-Point taken. But to go even further, as John Mullin wrote in “Tales from the Chicago Bears Sideline”, McCaskey’s first choice even over McGinnis was Sherm Lewis, Green Bay’s offensive coordinator. A guy that never even called plays (Holmgren did). Mullin wrote that Mark Hatley told McCaskey he would quit if Lewis was hired. Then McCaskey moved on to McGinnis. Nice.

  5. Roy–Didn’t know that story! The Mike McCaskey led coach search of 1999 just seems to get worse the closer you look at it!

  6. Actually MTS as I think about it more (and no time to pull the book off the shelf) I think I might have been slightly wrong on that. I remember myself that McCaskey brought McGinnis, Lewis, Jauron and I believe Joe Pendry in for public, official interviews. Then I think he did offer McGinnis the job, that whole debacle happened, and it was after that when McCaskey was poised to immediately offer Lewis the job. It was then that Hatley threatened to resign and McCaskey relented, hiring Jauron.

  7. About time! The draft choices in the 2nd and 3rd rds have been awful, plus his pulling out of the trade with theRavens did not help his rep with other gm’s.
    He was here too long. This to shall pass…

  8. Holly ***! Now Martz is also gone! Let’s draft a new pass catching TE!

  9. All these changes.. part of me is happy, and yet.. I cant get “be careful what you wish for” out of my mind..

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