THE Chicago Bears’ owner Virginia Halas McCaskey celebrated her 100th birthday this year and continues to run the team firmly.
She has owned the Bears team since 1984, when the original owner, her father, George Halas Sr, left it for her following his death.
McCaskey is the eldest child of Halas Sr and grew up around the team and watched her father run and own the franchise for six decades.
He played for the franchise before taking over as owner in 1920.
The Bears were officially founded in Decatur, Illinois, on September 17, 1920, and eventually moved to Chicago in 1921.
Halas Sr purchased the rights to the club for US$100.
In 2022, the franchise value was worth 5.8 billion U.S. dollars.
The former coach had intended to hand ownership of the team to his son George “Mugs” Halas Jr, but he sadly died of a heart attack in 1979.
George Sr. died four years later, and McCaskey carried the role of principal owner of the franchise, a position she still holds.
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She spoke in 2019 about what it meant to her owning the team and how it was back when her dad ran it.
“I didn’t realize it when I was growing up, but there were difficult years in the late ’20s and early ’30s,” McCaskey said.
“My dad had the Chicago Bears, but he was also part owner of a commercial laundry company, worked in real estate, and even tried selling cars. I often use the word ‘survival’ because that’s what was involved.”
“Fortunately for us and for so many people now, it all worked out.”
It worked out, indeed.
The Bears have had thirty players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — the most of any NFL franchise.
Along with being the oldest and longest-tenured owner in the NFL today, McCaskey is also one of 12 current female owners.