Before the sun rose at Halas Hall Monday morning, while the snowflakes flew in mid-April, Kevin Warren arrived for work.
More specifically, his first day of work.
It may seem like hyperbole, but this is one of the most important days in modern Chicago Bears history.
Kevin Warren replaces Ted Phillips as team president, which causes many fans to celebrate on its own.
While Phillips perhaps wasn’t the villain some fans wanted him to be, he was a football outsider. That made him, at times, an unfair target. Other times, it felt about right.
Phillips spent his entire career inside of one football organization, the Bears, and was very close to their ownership family. He was an accountant.
He was good at aspects of what he did, but I don’t think he could ever really be a great sounding board for a general manager.
Enough about Phillips though, this is now Kevin Warren’s show.
Warren brings a ton of experience, with a different NFL organization and one that has been above-average successful overall, even if they don’t have a lot of championships (I’m talking about the Minnesota Vikings).
He brings the experience of getting a massive stadium deal done. In his most recent job, he earned experience dealing with a number of other leaders who all think their problems are the most important. He will bring a completely different dynamic for the Chicago Bears at owners' meetings and other league functions.
His hiring is the most significant shake-up in the Bears’ front office since George McCaskey took over as chairman in 2011.
Warren’s era coincides with the 2023 Chicago Bears players returning to Halas Hall for the offseason program.
These events aligning is a perfect starting point, really.
The Bears are in the middle of a potentially franchise-defining offseason. They already traded the No. 1 overall draft pick and are days away from a draft that will ideally net them pieces that will play a big part in future playoff runs.
They hope they have the quarterback in Justin Fields.
Now they might have an executive that can take them to the next level, too. This is a huge opportunity for the Bears and in a lot of ways, I feel like it is similar to the 1983 offseason.
In 1982, the Bears drafted Jim McMahon and hired Mike Ditka as head coach. In a strike-shortened season, the Bears went 3-6.
In the 1983 draft, in the first 100 picks, the Bears selected Jimbo Covert, Willie Gault, Mike Richardson, Dave Duerson, and Tom Thayer. Then they came back in the eighth round and took a man named Richard Dent. Oh and Mark Bortz, too.
It’s easily one of the, if not the single-best, draft class in Chicago Bears history. Two Hall of Famers and five starters on multiple playoff teams.
That draft had a changing of executives, too. Jim Finks was on his way out and Jerry Vainisi was coming in.
The 1983 offseason set up the vaunted 1985 Chicago Bears.
Could the Bears be in that position again? It’s possible, of course, but obviously, a lot of things have to go right.
But this is a new era. A new Bears. New decision-makers.
There are no guarantees, there are no certainties or absolutes. But there is a different hope in Halas Hall today and it could, emphasis on could, be something special.