Brian McCaskey Attempts to 'Keep it Simple' while Preparing Chicago Bears for Super Bowl XLI
CHICAGO, IL (January 26, 2007) – Brian McCaskey C’82 says experiencing the Chicago Bears NFC Championship victory on Sunday was especially sweet as he celebrated with family members spanning four generations.
The 46-year-old graduate of North Park’s athletic training program watched his mother, Virginia McCaskey, stand in front of a cheering Soldier Field crowd to receive the George Halas trophy, named for her father (Brian’s grandfather) and founder of the team. Brian also celebrated with his eight-year-old son, Keegan, who was thrilled to be in the locker room for the first time and high-five players like All-Pros Brian Urlacher and Robbie Gould.
"Whether you are part of the Bears family or a part of the McCaskey family, you’ve wanted to see this happen for her," McCaskey says of his mother. "She has been a part of the Bears since she was a girl. It was an incredible moment for us."
Taking time to celebrate with his son was a priority for McCaskey. "I was really glad I made time to be with [Keegan]." Then he laughs, adding he is sure that Keegan has no real idea of the historical significance of the game and the contest to come.
McCaskey says he didn’t begin to truly comprehend until just 10 minutes before the end of the game, when security opened the door to the family’s suite and told him it was time to make their way to the field. "That’s when it hit me."
Savoring is difficult at the moment. "My days are very hectic right now," he says. Emails continue to inundate his in-box. The phone rings constantly; he frequently has to answer more than one at the same time.
McCaskey says the Bears staff is even busier. "We just try to keep it simple and try to take it one step at a time."
Not that anyone is complaining. "There are 30 other teams that wish they were working right now," he noted.
As senior director of business development, some of McCaskey’s responsibilities include coordinating the distribution of game tickets for Bears alumni. "Unfortunately, as an organization, we can’t accommodate everybody." He adds, "I’m certainly hearing from people who I haven’t heard from in a very long time."
He also is responsible for the team’s archives and makes sure the press is able to get information and footage from the past. Many of the requests have focused on the 1985 Super Bowl championship team, considered by many to be one of the best ever.
The team has had its doubters this year, despite its 15-3 record. McCaskey says he has gotten used to the negative comments that can fill newspaper columns and radio sports shows.
"They are always going to have their opinion, but I think its good a good thing because that means they’re passionate about the team," McCaskey says.
He is proud of the way the team has responded to the criticism, especially remarks directed at Rex Grossman. The young quarterback has shown flashes of brilliance and, at other times, has struggled. "I’ve admired Rex Grossman for what he has endured this year," McCaskey says.
Should the team win Super Bowl XLI – and thus their 10th championship stretching back to the 1920s – McCaskey says, "I think there’s going to be the biggest parade you have ever seen in Chicago."
McCaskey already has been responsible for making sure the team’s name is engraved on the Halas trophy and has had to work out the logistics of fulfilling a request by Mayor Richard Daley’s office to have it temporarily displayed at City Hall. He doesn’t want to look too far into the future, but McCaskey says it would be "a great problem" if, after February 4, he needed to fill a request to have the Vince Lombardi Trophy displayed, as well.
Still, McCaskey’s life has maintained some of its routine. After the championship game on Sunday, he went out to dinner to celebrate with a dozen relatives and close friends.
"Then I went home, took out the garbage and recycling, did some dishes, and tucked the kids in bed."