Why Warren hire is curious for both Bears, Big Ten

It is not unusual for the Bears to move the furniture around after littering another season with their own special kind of feng shui; that is, making an odor seem like an appetizer. Faith is a given no matter how sorely tested.

So it is that the latest remedy is a non-McCaskey figurehead and eventual scapegoat, plucked from down the street where Kevin Warren was making the Big Ten richer and moving half of California to the Midwest.

To become the beard of the Bears instead of the commissioner of the Big Ten can be considered a step up, I guess, at least in a direct deposit sort of way, but otherwise it is curious on both sides.

“Kevin is a man of integrity, respect and excellence,” said George McCaskey, apparently on a first-name basis already, though the new man doesn't assume his duties until sometime after April Fools' Day. Nothing like hurrying to the new job.

In a statement, as these things are inevitably handled, Warren sounded dutifully grateful for the chance to do whatever he is supposed to do, another layer on an over-layered organization chart.

He is “humbled,” he is “honored” and he will say so in person soon, happy to lead the Bears and deliver championships, or more precisely according McCaskey “bring the next Super Bowl trophy home to Bears fans.”

As if there is a whole shelf full of those things, but for those of us keeping count, the total is one.

The Bears apparently want someone with a “fresh perspective,” meaning someone unfamiliar with the secret Santa way the Bears do business. Warren is a “seasoned executive,” whereas, one must assume, that after 39 years with the Bears, 23 as president and CEO, his predecessor Ted Phillips remained unseasoned, or non-seasoned, considering results.

Phillips must be admired, however, for keeping a job where failure after failure, bum hire after bum hire, only added to his security. Bottom line, of course, is that the cozy McCaskey storefront operation increased some eightfold during Phillips' time, now valued at $5.8 billion. As long as there is a McCaskey in the big chair no matter the titles the assorted Kevins and Ryans put on their business cards, nothing is going to change. The Bears will be Bears no matter where.

That seems to be the thing Warren is obligated to do, somehow get the Bears to the suburbs in a stadium they will not have to pay for or to keep them in Chicago in a better stadium they will not have to pay for.

Warren's experience with such things can be traced to Minneapolis where he is given credit for taking a perfectly acceptable stadium — affectionately named for the once notable Hubert H. Humphrey — and replacing it with a billion dollar soaring glass bird killer that has already hosted a Super Bowl and a Final Four.

This is the sort of temptation that dims reality, sort of like the baseball whisper “if you build it they will come.” Maybe they will, but if you build it where they already are, they won't have to.

We are to believe that the addition of Warren shows the Bears seriousness about Arlington Park and the surrounding acreage, with possible entertainment, commercial and residential possibilities. Let's consider those three things. Entertainment, sure, but there is already the United Center for that, supposing Taylor Swift, given the choice, would rather play to audiences that can see her rather than those who can't.

Commercial, iffy. Times being what they are, we notice the demise of shopping malls, movie houses and business offices, so that creating a place where people gather seems to be such a pre-2020 concept.

And residential. Unless there is a lake view amid the clutter, not an easy sell.

What the place will need for dependable, year-round traffic is a casino, the one enduring lure for getting folks out of the house. Every sports league is on board with gambling, alas, while Pete Rose withers. Ah, but that's another column.

What really matters to Bears fans, speaking as one, is a team that wins, has an identity, one that is feared and feted. How is a new suit going to help that?

We will see. We always do.

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