Jim O'Donnell: Frenzied week means that All Things Bears are in play, including Arlington Park

  • Bears president Ted Phillips, left, and chairman George H. McCaskey

    Bears president Ted Phillips, left, and chairman George H. McCaskey Associated Press/Jan. 4, 2017

Updated 11/27/2021 8:08 AM

LAST MONDAY MORNING, the Chicago Bears were worth an estimated $4 billion.

Today, those same Bears are estimated to be worth $4 billion.


In between was the week that was.

And what a week it was.

The frenzied reaction to the online report by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Mark Konkol -- now writing for patch.com -- that Matt Nagy would be fired "win or lose" after the Thanksgiving Day game vs. the Lions pinched out one towering reality:

In a manner unprecedented in franchise history, everything -- everything -- involving the Bears and the National Football League in northern Illinois is now in play.

THAT MEANS team ownership, Arlington Park, the city of Chicago, other flowing exurban corridors, Nagy, Ryan Pace, Ted Phillips, on down to the antiseptic spray used to clean the showers each day at Halas Hall.

In the initial hours after Konkol's incendiary 50-50 fireball, the inherent weaknesses of almost all media attempting to cover the full scope of what could be happening was exposed.

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Bears management greatly benefitted -- as it long has -- by being primarily surrounded by too many niched sycophants and mitigation-prone "football experts."

Covering the team is the most major beat in Chicago sports. No endeavor draws as many ears or eyeballs, at least until the next Michael Jordan comes along.

Currying disfavor of consequence with team management is a career deescalator for all but the most courageous, talented and resourceful.

THAT'S WHY WITHIN HOURS of Konkol's freelancing, media ranks in Lake Forest were closing, sports talk poseurs were gagging and the messenger was being marginalized.

The core message lost that almost all Bears fans want to send to team ownership is nothing new, but perhaps more galvanized than ever:

"We're sick of the dung. Burn down the barn -- even if you're in it."


The market remains major -- third biggest in America at last glance.

But the hay in its NFL barn is old and dry and far too predictably useless.

And it's all simply awaiting the flames of change.

Konkol's 50-50 shot was a mere picnic sparkler.

There is a $4 billion property in play.


Why more holistic gamblers meditate: Andy Dalton and the Bears opened at -3 over Detroit, moved to -3 ½, dropped to -1 for part of Thursday morning and closed at -2 ½. Their 16-14 victory left a whole lot of regional turkeys gobbling for air. ...

The quick-hitting Elliott Harris reminds that one of the greatest Thanksgiving Day Motowners ever impacting Chicago was the 13-13 tie between the Lions and the Packers in 1963. Jerry Kramer missed an extra point and Ed O'Bradovich's Bears (11-1-2) wound up winning the NFL Western Conference by one-half game over Green Bay (11-2-1). ...

Todd Hollandsworth is departing the Miami Marlins TV booth. A return to Chicago is always a possibility, but the Cubs' Marquee Network would be smarter to first budget for the masterful sports PR ace Jeff Nuich. ...

Strange and wacky to see struggling Hertz supplement its $4.2B purchase of 100,000 Teslas with high-priced Tom Brady as its new TV pitchman. The falling rent-a-car giant would have been wiser to bulk up its network of local stores to better counter the new-mill surge of No. 1 Enterprise. ...

Hard to criticize anything that Billy Donovan is doing with the Bulls. But his earnest try to quickly reintegrate Coby White into the rotation contributed to some of the team's recent bumps. (As Mike Love once told Brian Wilson, "Don't (mess) with the formula.") ...

Fun to see CBS open its Black Friday college football coverage with Aaron Taylor and Rich Waltz calling Boise State-San Diego State starting at 9 a.m., Pacific Standard Time. Milkmen in Whittier don't get up that early. ...

Speaking of milkmen, Lloyd Meyer -- the fabled coach of the Arlington Heights American Legion baseball team for close to 60 years -- recently celebrated his 90th birthday. (The former dairy owner is still knockin' 'em dead at Beverly Lanes with chums Carmen Salvino and Les Zikes.) ...

Bloomberg is reporting that "the next few months" will be "critical" regarding the survival of The Athletic. Co-founder Alex Mather offered only tempered pushback; No one in the sports media industry who thinks clearly wants to see that grand initiative fail. ...

NBC couldn't have brought rookie analyst Drew Brees -- a longtime Saint -- into a better spot than the Thanksgiving Night Buffalo-New Orleans fray. Now the question is: How catching is Mike Tirico's 720 degrees of "vanilla?" ...

And faithful reader Scott Hipple is keeping a column count on the number of times "insouciant" and "poltroon" are used. The Iowa-bred busybody now claims: "'Insouciant' is drawing away."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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