That's because you don't have one. If you had one, he'd be the captain, and that would be it. That's all there is to it. When you see a leader, you don't have to look too much further. It is what it is. If he's the guy, then he's the guy they want to follow. I believe you should have a captain and a co-captain on offense and defense.
So two on offense and two on defense. That's it. Got it.
When asked about the leaders on his teams Ditka rattled off a number of names.
We had a lot of them. We had [Dan] Hampton, [Mike] Singletary, [Gary] Fencik on defense. We had so many guys - [Steve] McMichael, [Richard] Dent. On offense, whether you liked him or not, Jim McMahon was a leader. That whole offensive line - they were leaders. It was fun to watch those guys operate, and they had fun doing it. But Walter Payton was the leader of the football team.
So those 12 guys.
Those five defensive players and seven offensive players, four of which were most certainly his official team captains at some point and four of which are currently in the Hall Of Fame. And the "leader of the football team" just happens to be one of the greatest football players that ever lived.
I suppose it's easier to have good team leadership if the team is constructed of a bunch of Hall Of Famers, Pro Bowlers, and when the head coach and defensive coordinator outright dislike each other.
I was interested to see how historical figures defined leadership, so I turned to Google and found some real good quotes.
"Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Then go get a Captains Patch" ~ Thomas Paine
"People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives. A leader also has a neat-o "C" to affix to an article of their clothing." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish. The most important of which is the elusive golden patch." ~ Sam Walton
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. Unless no one notices the "C" on your chest." ~ John Quincy Adams
"No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, who forgets to sew on his patch or get all the credit for doing it." ~ Andrew Carnegie
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. Then after they do it themselves show them your cool patch so they know without a shadow of a doubt, you are The Leader." ~ Lao Tzu
"The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. But on the gridiron, don't forget the "C" otherwise it will cause utter confusion." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
"Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react and seeing your Captain's Patch. If you're in control, they're in control." ~ Tom Landry
"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other... Well those two things plus a fly-ass patch. Chicks dig a fly-ass patch." ~ John F. Kennedy
I may or may not have presented those quotes without alteration, but I'm sure you get the gist of it.
But this next quote is 100% legit and it's from two-time Pro Bowl Bears corner, and nine year NFL veteran Tim Jennings.
"If it was my decision, I gotta have permanent captains throughout the year. I've never heard of guys having different captains throughout the week."
Here's Trestman's take on the captaincy rotation.
"I don't think this is unusual," he said. "We've done it both ways, where we've elected five captains, which some teams do. Other teams go with weekly captains. After being around this team for 18 months, there certainly a group of guys that I would call decorated veterans that are influential guys on this team, guys that I go to, talk to. But there's also a lot of guys, more than five guys, who are truly leaders and guys who have the respect of our team and leaders are really visibly seen in their demeanor, in the way they practice, the way they work in meetings, the way they initiate conversation with other players and we have a lot of those guys."
Not unusual? Other teams? I'm with Timmy, I've never heard of it in the NFL.
So I did a little wiki-research and this year there are eight teams that rotate captains on a weekly basis and a 9th -- the San Francisco 49ers -- that rotates their special teams captains.
Beside the Bears here are the other teams that rotate their captains.
Philadelphia Eagles - 5-1 and a half game behind the in the NFC East.
Baltimore Ravens - First place in the AFC North at 5-2 and two years removed from a Super Bowl title.
Green Bay Packers - Tied for first in the NFC North at 5-2 and three years removed from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Atlanta Falcons - Yes, they're 2-5 and the Bears whipped them! That locker room is obviously void of leadership.
Detroit Lions - Tied with the Pack atop the NFC North, but they used to be coached by a knucklehead so they must have zero leaders.
Minnesota Vikings - Haha! Another leaderless 2-5 team!
Houston Texans - The Texans? Really? Pfft! They're 3-4 and I can't think of one player on that roster deserving of a patch. #Losers
So, of the eight teams that do the rotate thing, only half of them have winning records and only two of them have won a title in the last few years.
But even without the Captain "C", do the Bears have any leaders?
Let's see what newcomer and 11 year vet, 6 time Pro Bowler, 5 time All Pro and 2011 Defensive Player Of The Year Jared Allen has to say about this whole thing.
"I think we have great leaders here. Leaders don't necessarily have to stand up at the podium and make some big speech. Matter of fact, if someone gets up every week and has to have, ‘coach is out, let's have a,' that's lame honestly. What's that gonna do? That is rah-rah. Leadership comes from the guys that show up every week, go out and work during practice, be in their playbook, they know what they are doing, go out on Sunday and they give it everything they've got."
Just last night while driving home from a long day at work, I was listening to the Laurence Holmes show on WSCR 670am and a caller called in questioning the leadership of quarterback Jay Cutler. The caller then proceeded to list a number of things a good leader should say and wonder why Jay wasn't saying any of it.
So Holmes had his producer cut up a section from Cutler's post game comments and what do you know, everything the caller asked for was said by Jay.
A little earlier this evening on my commute home, I was again listening to The Score, only this time it was '85 Bear Tom Thayer talking about leadership. Would you believe he had no problem with the post game rant from Brandon Marshall? He and host host Zach Zaidman speculated how the fanbase would have reacted had their not been an angry blow up in the locker room after such a disappointing loss. Fans want passion, they got passion.
The fact that it was Marshall, someone with a troubled past, really bothered some of Chicago's media. But whether any of us like it or not, the fact that Marshall plays through injury, he works hard in the off-season, he organizes team activities and he's an elite player in the NFL, makes him one of the Bears leaders.
This team has a number of veterans like Lance Briggs, Roberto Garza, Charles Tillman, Matt Forte, Jeremiah Ratliff, Jermon Bushrod and you know who else should be a veteran leader on this team? The aforementioned Tim Jennings.
Leadership isn't defined by a "C' on the chest.
There are a lot of ways to lead. Doing your job exceptionally well helps. Yelling and screaming has it's place, but so does pulling a guy aside to talk something through. Leadership is found when a guy busts his ass in the off season and when he beats everyone to Halas Hall to get to work. Sometimes leadership can be noticed in how a player address the media and the flip side is true as well.
Does questioning a coaches decision about rotating captains show any leadership?
And from a 9 year vet no less... #shameshame
At 3-4 this team doesn't need a leader to step up, it needs a player to make a play. It needs a coaching staff to prepare a solid gameplan. At the end of the season the "C" won't make a bit of difference, the only letter that matters is "W".
Winning cures all.