(Warning, long read ahead) After reading about the fiasco in Miami over the Richie Incognito mess, one thing became abundantly clear: the Dolphins are suffering from a serious lack of leadership, both in their organization, and in the locker room. This fact has made me think about the Bears, and it is comforting to know that we do not suffer this problem. In fact, the Bears' success on the field is due to the choices of the Front Office, from the top, to the bottom, down to the players themselves. If there is anything to be said about the NFL, it is that it is a league of parity, more so then any other pro league in the US. "Any Given Sunday" is a mantra that is completely valid for just about every team, and the wealth of talent is fairly evenly distributed amongst the league to ensure this maxim. So, if talent is similar among most of the teams, then what makes a successful franchise? What makes some teams perennial playoff teams, and others complete train wrecks? Leadership, and successful team management. If you start out at the top, we have our Chairman, George McCaskey. The McCaskeys have had some trouble managing this team since Halas passed away, with some minor success here and there, but mostly its been a few flashes of greatness sprinkled between many seasons of mediocrity. I use that word specifically: the Bears have not really "sucked" in the general use of the term, they have managed to put decent seasons (read: above .500) together for the most part, rarely dipping into top 5 drafting positions. This era of mediocrity was the direct result of the leadership qualities of Michael McCaskey and his father, Ed, who both Chaired the Bears franchise during the 90s and through the aughts. This resulted in the hiring of GM Jerry Angelo, and coaches Dave Wantstedt and Dick Jauron. When Angelo was brought in, he fired Jauron and sought a new coach. Ironically enough, Nick Saban was on the short list to become our coach in 2001, but wanted the GM powers that Angelo just acquired, so JA settled on his second choice, Lovie Smith, whom he had known from their time in Tampa together under Tony Dungy. On the surface, things seemed to make sense: both JA and Lovie had extensive NFL resumés, they were part of one of the most dominant defenses of the past decade (Dungy's Tampa 2 teams), Bears fans love our defense, and we just acquired a new face of the franchise in Brian Urlacher, and we soon drafted what we thought were our franchise QB and RB in Rex Grossman and Cedric Benson. By 2006, we even made a SB appearance for the first time since 85. Appearances can be misleading, however. While nobody questions Lovie's leadership ability, (he was both well respected by the Players, and ensured the team had very few problems off the field), McCaskey and Angelo's leadership abilities behind the scene began to show. Angelo routinely botched or traded away our first round picks, and while he had an eye for Defensive talent in later rounds (like Tillman and Briggs), his penchant for drafting one year wonders and busts (like Mark Anderson and Tommie Harris), combined with his complete disregard for our offense began to destroy the potential of our team over time. Lovie's problems in the Leadership department began to show when dealing with the Offense, particular the OC position. Offensive Coordinators in the Jerry Angelo era read like a horror story off Offensive Failures: John Shoop, Terry Shea, Ron Turner, Mike Martz, Mike Tice. The lack of proper Offense Picks combined with the revolving door of inept OCs displays a total failure of Leadership, from Michael McC, to JA down to Lovie. Nobody questions Lovie's Defensive capabilities, even after Ron Rivera left, our Defense continued to do very well. However, good defense plus poor offense resulted in what the Bears team was: Mediocre. Our Defense often had to carry our Offense, rarely was it the other way around. Between 2001 and 2012, the Bears only won 10 games or more 5 times, only making the playoffs 4 of those times. The good stuff is continued in my next post.