What hiring Kevin Warren means for the Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears - Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports /
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The news broke on December 29th that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren interviewed with the Chicago Bears for their president/CEO job multiple times. It created quite a buzz that a commissioner of the Power Five conference interviewed for a job with an organization that does not have a stellar reputation on and off the field.

He was named the commissioner of the Big Ten conference in June 2019 and officially took over in January 2020, succeeding Jim Delany, who was Big Ten commissioner for 30 years before retiring. Now, three years later, he is leaving the Big Ten to join the Chicago Bears, with 18 months still left on his contract.

Hiring Kevin Warren is a game-changer for the Chicago Bears

He is succeeding Ted Phillips, who is retiring next month. Despised by many fans during his entire tenure, Phillips has long been accused of being involved in football decisions as the team languished in mediocrity during his tenure.

In Kevin Warren’s tenure with the Big Ten, he negotiated a huge media rights deal with FOX, CBS, and NBC/Peacock just before the 2022 season.

He also made a shocking announcement that both USC and UCLA, two PAC-12 schools will be officially joining the Big Ten conference starting in 2024, increasing its members to 16.

With the introduction of NIL, and both Texas and Oklahoma also leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC in 2024, the College Football landscape has significantly changed in recent years. It has also drawn significant criticism from those, who bemoan the death of traditions and rivalries over dollars.

What he thought was in the best interest of the Big Ten to keep up with the SEC may not have sat well with others, especially the school presidents and ADs, and decided he wanted to return to the NFL, where he has an impressive background.

His hiring was made official by the Bears this week and it is widely lauded as homerun hiring by many within the industry. Even LeBron James, not exactly known as a Bears fan, praised his hiring.

It is unusual for the Bears to get widely praised considering many still criticize them for operating like a mom-and-pop shop and have been left behind by other teams.

What does his hiring mean for the Bears moving forward? Let’s look at it from business, football, and cultural perspective.