Bears chairman Michael McCaskey announced Wednesday that he will retire after the 2010 season and be replaced by younger brother George.
Michael McCaskey, who has been actively involved in running the franchise since his grandfather George Halas died in 1983, said that while he and his mother Virginia remain in good health, it makes sense to have a succession plan in place.
George McCaskey, meanwhile, has headed up the Bears ticket operation since 1991 and was named to the team's board of directors in 2004.
"The No. 1 job duty is to serve as the owner's representative in league matters," George McCaskey said. "As I said, the day-to-day operation of the club is [team president] Ted Phillips' responsibility."
Mike McCaskey also gave Phillips a vote of confidence.
"We're very proud of the staff at Halas Hall," he said. "We've got wonderfully knowledgeable, competent people devoted to their jobs and nice people on top of that. That will continue, I'm sure, under George. We're also very proud to have Ted Phillips as our CEO and president. He stays on in charge of all of the day-to-day operations of the club."
So, what does it all mean, exactly? That's what people inside and outside the organization were struggling to understand in the wake of the announcement. Both McCaskey brothers sounded as if it would be business as usual.
"The chairman of the board is responsible for the board, who has the ultimate legal responsibility for the franchise," Michael said. "And the way we've structured it, the chairman is also responsible for being the singular person who represents the Bears at the league level."
George emphasized that he's not a personnel man and would leave football decisions to the football operations department.
"I'm proud to be a season-ticket holder myself since 1981," he said. "It's a privilege dealing firsthand with our season-ticket holders, who are the foundation of our franchise. It's a privilege to see the passion that they display on a regular basis, and that work has given me a good foundation for the work that is to come."