Mullin: Bears should be proud of their books

Mullin: Bears should be proud of their books
March 26, 2011, 4:17 pm
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Saturday, March 26, 2011Posted: 11:30 AM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears have operated successfully for a long, long time, as long in fact as theres been an NFL and even a little before that. And if itll help advance the cause of an agreement between league owners and players, theyre willing to show those needing to know.

And this could be part of a building movement that breaks the stalemate that is threatening at least the NFL offseason, if not more.

Bears President Ted Phillips has aligned the Bears with the Dallas Cowboys (and the already publicly owned Green Bay Packers, plus the Denver Broncos potentially) as teams open to the idea of open books, something demanded by the players side as long as owners are asking for a 1 billion giveback to help teams with operating expenses.

If the league feels to get a deal done, they need to release financials, were on board, Phillips told the Chicago Sun-Times. Im actually proud of how we operate our club. We think we do a good job, revenue-wise and expense-wise.

The Bears have. Without violating confidences here, the Bears have been aware of the looming labor difficulties for a matter of years and they were managing expenses with an eye toward the future. So it was no surprise at all that the Phillips and the Bears were out front with the fact that they were not anticipating layoffs, pay cuts or some of the carnage that has nicked some teams.

And whats too often glossed over in the interest of keeping a good clich running, the Bears have done all of this without coming anywhere close to their Misers of the Midway misnomer. The Bears have spent money, not always on the right players or even coaches at times, but they have spent it.

Consider: Besides doing a new Lovie Smith contract with years in excess of 5 million, the Bears also have coordinators (Rod Marinelli, Mike Martz) in the 1 million range plus an offensive line coach (Mike Tice) in the upper echelon of his position pay grade.

More to the on-field point, in recent years they have done market or above deals with Lance Briggs, Jay Cutler, Tommie Harris, Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher, some as extensions, like Smith. Muhsin Muhammad, John Tait.

The list of money deals goes on but you get the point. Phillips was the finance man under Michael McCaskey before succeeding him as president in 1999 (the year the Bears hosed down Phillip Daniels and Thomas Smith with signing mega-deals). The contracts done by GM Jerry Angelo and finance man Cliff Stein are known throughout the league as real deals, meaning ones without inflated final years that no one will ever see and force players to be cut.

Its easy to make jokes about the Bears and their money. Those jokes are old and years out of date. And no one should be laughing, least of all some of the other owners who are not remotely as effective financially as the Bears. As the McCaskeys have accurately stated over the years, their only business is football and the Chicago Bears. Theyre not Daniel Snyder (thankfully), nor have they ever aspired to be.

They can be and should be proud of those books.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.