O'Donnell: Kevin Warren is no saint and that's the way Bears fans should like it

THE FIRST WAVE OF CHICAGO MEDIA REACTION to the hiring of Kevin Warren as next president of the Bears pushed the man to the doorstep of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It even seemed to elevate him toward the pantheon of modern American business brilliant-aires that would have to include Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Snoop Dogg.

Fanboys and more insouciant poseurs for once were left in lockstep over the prospect of sustained, scorched-earth aggressiveness coming out of Halas Hall.

If George Halas threw nickels around like manhole covers, new-mill Bears fans want Warren to throw all of the historic McCaskey mouseketeering out like old Ryan Pace Post-it notes.

Chairman George McCaskey told the world last January that he was "a fan."

Now, the most fevered Bear-ists want the new fellow in charge to be a bad man.

OVERLOOKED INSIDE OF ALL of the entrance hosannas are some rabbled realities of Warren's comet-like tenure as commissioner of the Big Ten.

Among them:

• He totally devalued the Pac-12 and top-tier collegiate football as intertwined regional blocks with the seduction of USC and UCLA;

• He turned the Big Ten Network farther into a D-grade cable vehicle with the seven-year, $8B rights train to CBS, NBC and FOX;

• He made only passes at attempting to implement new coherencies regarding the transfer portal and student-athlete NIL money.

And when the wind was blowing right behind his hot imaging dice, Warren bolted to the Bears.

THERE'S MORE, BUT IN OTHER WORDS, Warren big-footed what he could and deftly sidestepped what could be left for others somewhere down the line.

Sure it suggests heavy "Warren first."

But it also speed hammers home that the future of Warren and the entity that employs him is now.

Calloused, ego-driven and downright greedy?

For sure.

BUT ALSO 1,000% WHAT success-starved Bears fans want for all of the hours and emotion they devote to doctorable show business athletic exhibitions at least 17 times each season.

For however long he is at 1920 Football Drive - and the over/under is 47 months - Warren is the man.

And however coated in "humility," he can't be bad enough.


ELEVENTH-ROW BRIC-A-BRAC about the remaining NFL wild-card games:

• Heading into the weekend, outright winners - regardless of the spread - have cashed in 88% of the last 62 WC games (54-7-1). So, as Jimmy the Greek would advise, bet winners. Double-digit "gives" have meant nothing.;

• A future head coach of the Bears could be calling the plays for New York when the Giants (+3) play at Minnesota (FOX, 3:30 p.m.). That's Chicago's very own Mike Kafka (St. Rita, Northwestern). As Pat Fitzgerald's starting QB, he once rushed for 217 yards at Minnesota. That sort of grounded zip-and-zoom has been reflected all season long in the tendencies of NYG quarterback Daniel Jones. And that line is suspiciously low.

• Baltimore's John Harbaugh is 5-0 in wild-card games. But the underdog Ravens won't have Lamar Jackson tonight at Cincinnati (NBC, 7:15 p.m.) and that line keeps creeping toward 10. Harbaugh needs to win turnover margin and catch a break on special teams to have a shot. But it doesn't appear to be a Harbaugh family postseason.


Big Ten overseers could slam home a point of progressiveness by hiring a woman as the conference's next commissioner. In-house senior VP/television, media analytics & emerging platforms Kerry Kenny tops a tepid list of speculative possibles that includes Burke Magnus (ESPN), Gene Smith (Ohio State and the man who hired Tim Floyd at Iowa State) and slip-sliding Jim Phillips (ACC). ...

Two winters ago, Max Christie was playing for Rolling Meadows High School. Now, the 19-year-old has moved into the starting lineup of the injury-riddled Los Angeles Lakers, alongside LeBron James on select nights. That's fresh princely. (Down the LAL bench is Scotty Pippen Jr.) ...

The Bulls host a matinee vs. Golden State today and then wing it to Paris for a game against the Pistons on Thursday. The French twist reminds of the October 1997 trip by Michael Jordan and the Berets to The City of Light. Stat-crew staples Don Weiland and Marc Grossman were turned away from a repast at The Ritz-Carlton because Madonna was staying there and the three must have been feuding. ...

Unless they're featuring a Ricketts family dunk tank, anyone watching the Cubs Convention on Marquee Sports Network this weekend qualifies for Club Ivy Bored. A Benjamin Bratt "Law & Order" panel discussion would be more engaging. ...

And Yahoo's alliterative Dan Wetzel, on the two primary executive traits of Kevin Warren: "Decisive and divisive."

•Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears Sunday and Thursday. Reach him at All communications may be considered for publication.

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