Bears Reportedly Account for Lone Vote Against 17th Game

Team board chairman George McCaskey was the only dissenter on the 17-game schedule according to an ESPN report.
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George McCaskey was not in lockstep with the rest of the owners in the vote for an extra regular season game.

According to a report by ESPN's Seth Wickersham, the Bears board chairman was the only NFL owner to vote against expanding the schedule from 16 to 17 games. Wickersham cited four sources who were on the videoconference of owners, but no reason was given for McCaskey's vote.

McCaskey has a claim to being one of the more conscientious owners, but now he's apparently a conscientious objector. At least this is the trend he's shown all through a pandemic offseason and regular season, and it seems to be the case now even with plenty of cash available for the taking.

McCaskey has been extremely supportive of players and the community throughout the pandemic and also very much aware of the racial unrest which occurred last summer and in past years.  The team canceled practices and meetings at times over social issues last year.

Coaches and ownership gave players a forum to speak out after the George Floyd killing and have supported initiatives aimed at ending the violence going on almost daily in Chicago. They raised over $800,000 in 2018 for social justice causes and again in 2019 and 2020 spearheaded this drive.

McCaskey has been anything but a hard-line capitalist. The Bears even avoided raising ticket prices this year after they took losses last year without fans at games.

So it only makes sense McCaskey would oppose a vote which can help to put unnecessary stress on players' bodies.

Some NFL players posted on social media to criticize the league's decision to add the 17th game and push the Super Bowl back to Feb. 13.

"Sh-t dumb ... as hell," Saints running back Alvin Kamara tweeted after the vote.

However, not only did the players certify the schedule expansion, but the union also put out a statement supporting an expanded regular season:

"Since players share the revenue that is brought into the NFL, more money for the NFL means more money for the players as well. The new CBA also increases the players' revenue share as part of the negotiated media kicker, which comes into effect when we play 17 regular season games. ..."

The extra game means the Bears must play a road game against the Las Vegas Raiders next season.

The other NFC North games are the Packers at the Chiefs, the Lions at Denver and the Vikings at the Chargers.

The added game is viewed by some as a check point on the way to an 18-game schedule, but this can't be done until 2031, unless there is a complete revision made to the CBA.

While the schedule is longer, each team has eliminated a preseason game under the new format, but veteran players rarely play in more than one of the preseason games, anyway.

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