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Bears Coaching Debacle
According to Chicago legend, Bears founder and longtime coach George Halas was on his deathbed in 1983 when someone asked who should succeed him atop his beloved franchise. "Anyone but Michael," Halas supposedly said, referring to his bookish grandson, former Harvard Business School professor Mike McCaskey.
Roll over, Papa Bear. Last weekend McCaskey, the club president, bungled as no NFL executive has bungled in recent memory. On Friday he announced the hiring of Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Dave McGinnis—even before negotiating a contract with him. Suddenly distrustful, McGinnis decided to stay with the Cardinals, and McCaskey had to settle for Jacksonville defensive coordinator Dick Jauron.
The screwup was crushing to McGinnis, who was the Bears' linebackers coach under Mike Ditka in the 1980s and whose dream was to patrol the sideline at Soldier Field. Speaking through a crackling cell phone while he drove home from the Phoenix airport on Saturday night, he couldn't hide the hurt. "My feeling is sadness," he said. "Overwhelming sadness."
Bears insiders tried to spin McGinnis's turnaround as a case of cold feet. Ridiculous. McCaskey clearly tried to capitalize on McGinnis's eagerness for the job by putting out a press release announcing the hiring before a contract was signed. When a leery McGinnis entered talks with the Bears after McCaskey jumped the gun, he was offered a head coaching contract unlike any other in the league: a four-year deal in which only the first two years were guaranteed. Only a fool would accept such terms from a team that has gone 8-24 in the past two years and desperately needs rebuilding. In this case, McCaskey was the fool. By Saturday, when he tendered a realistic offer—four years, $4 million—McGinnis knew he couldn't trust the Bears' president.
Next year McGinnis should rank high on the list of any team that's searching for a coach with guts and principles. In the NFL, anyone who tells the Man to take a job and shove it earns respect
Many computer games include so-called Easter eggs, which give players access to special game levels or graphics. Last week video gamers found a rotten egg in the popular Tiger Woods '99 PGA Tour. Electronic Arts, the game's maker, recalled 100,000 copies infected with an obscenity-laced South Park cartoon.
The raunchy five-minute cartoon can't be played on Sony's PlayStation console, but some youngsters in Florida put the game disc in a computer's CD-ROM drive and opened a normally inaccessible file, launching The Spirit of Christmas, the South Park short in which Jesus and Santa Claus engage in a fistfight while Cartman, Kyle and the rest of the gang cheer them on. Electronic Arts calls the snafu an accident.