I'll admit that the crux of this article was born out of a conversation with a co-worker of mine who is also a passionate Chicago sports fans.
We were talking about the Bulls and their firing of Tom Thibodeau. I remarked how I was glad I am only a fan of one Jerry Reinsdorf-owned team (he's a White Sox fan) and he laughed and agreed. He is frustrated that while Thibodeau, who has gotten the Bulls into the playoffs and overseen the best run in the post-Jordan/Jackson era, is shown the door but Gar Forman and John Paxton continue to have their jobs.
He also said "If you'd have told me 15 years ago that the best-run franchises in Chicago would be the Blackhawks and the Cubs I'd have laughed in your face."
My colleague has a point: The Cubs are enjoying success with a group of very promising young players and are rebounding from a very dark era of rebuilding that centered around drafting well and patiently waiting on prospects.
The Blackhawks just clinched their third Stanley Cup Finals appearance in seven years. The Hawks have rebuilt around their pair of two three draft picks (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) as well as other trades and free agency signings.
The conversation we had finished up with him lamenting that Jerry Reinsdorf was too loyal and that the McCaskey's were too dumb to hire real "football people" and admit that being the grandchildren of George Halas didn't make them able to run a football team. He pointed out that Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz was smart enough to hire hockey people to run the team and became successful with that route.
"The Bears are one of the worst-run franchises in all of sports," he said at the end of the conversation. Now, that I thought was a harsh statement, as there are plenty of inept sports teams running around (Oakland Raiders, Toronto Blue Jays, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Timberwolves and Edmonton Oilers come to mind with large postseason droughts). But I thought about and then considered it inside the context of just Chicago sports teams and thought, "Wow, he might have a point."
Granted I feel like the Marc Trestman-Phil Emery regime can be seen as a bottoming out, there isn't a ton of recent history to argue against the worst run team moniker. The Bears have missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, but were only just out of it two of those seasons. The arrow appears to be pointing up with the hires of Ryan Pace and John Fox but it will be a couple years before that's known for sure.
The issues with the Bulls, what with running a winning coach out of town and a slew of questionable draft picks and coach-front office conflicts should put them in contention. Forman and Pax have clashed with several of their coaches and make questionable roster moves and seem impervious to pink slips while they just keep getting to hire the next guy and the next guy.
The White Sox have issues as well, Robin Ventura doesn't seem to be working out as a manager, but they have some real roster talent with Jose Abreu and Chris Sale among others. The Sox also have the most recent championship, other than the two Stanley Cups.
The Bears are going to begin their 30th season since their last championship. They have been back to the Super Bowl only once in that time. There have been a number of boneheaded draft picks and bad free agent signings. As I said before, the Pace/Fox hirings appear to be a step in the right direction but after everything fans have seen in the past 30 years, is it enough to say that the Bears aren't the worst-run Chicago team? Take the poll and give your reasoning below.