Ted Phillips is an American businessman and the President and CEO of the National Football League's Chicago Bears and has been a part of the organization since 1984. He is currently only the fourth president of the 90-year-old organization, the others being Michael McCaskey, George Halas, Jr., and "Papa Bear" George Halas. Phillips is currently one of only two individuals in the NFL to serve on both the NFL Working Club Executive committee and the NFL Senior Club Executive committee, whose mission is to analyze both the financial and football operations aspects of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL salary cap system is widely regarded as the best overall financial system in professional sports.
Early life and family
Phillips was born in Oneida, New York and was raised in Nashua, New Hampshire. He graduated from The University of Notre Dame with an undergraduate degree in business and accounting. He worked for the accounting and consulting firm Ernst and Whinney, now known as Ernst & Young, as an auditor and tax accountant from 1979 to 1983. Phillips is the father of three sons: Matthew, Max, and Frank.
Phillips began his career with the organization on September 28, 1983 as the team's Controller. After about four years, he was promoted to the Director of Finance. Here, he was responsible for the club's business operations and the negotiating and signing of all player contracts. While working with the Chicago Bears, he earned his Master's degree in Marketing and Management from the Kellog Graduate School at Northwestern University in 1989. In 1993 he became the Vice President of Operations and served there for six years.
President & CEO
The organization recognized Phillips work and effort and placed him in position to improve the club. Phillips was named the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Chicago Bears on February 10, 1999, making him only the fourth president in team history. He made many changes to the organization in order to legitimize the franchise once more. In the offseason of 2001, Phillips hired Jerry Angelo as the General Manager of the team and later extended his contract in 2003 and 2006 to create stability in the front office. He also brought the Bears summer training camp back to Illinois in 2002. Fans have appreciated this by attending camp in groups of over 10,000 at the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
With the growing value of the team, ticket prices kept rising, but in 2009 Phillips decided to freeze ticket prices in light of the country's economic situation. Despite this, Phillips kept the Bears in the Top 10 Most Valuable NFL teams and raised the team's value to $1.09 Billion in 2011. He also voted against the new NFL rule to move up kickoffs to the 35-yard line, considering Special Teams have been a strong point for the Bears, but the rule passed.
There has, however, been some controversy with his authority by other members in the club. Phillips refused to admit that Soldier Field needed to replace its grass with field turf, despite having many players on his team say that it should be replaced and that it was dangerous to player safety. During the winter the grass becomes very torn up from being used 10+ weeks, causing a lot of slipping and sometimes even injuries. Phillips actually flipped the situation to state that this gives the Bears a home field advantage, even though the Bears don't really practice at Soldier Field. It is important to note, however, that the Chicago Bears do not own Soldier Field and ultimately don't have full control over the playing surface. The stadium is owned and operated by the Chicago Park District.
There was also some controversy when the organization decided to not re-sign veteran center Olin Kreutz. Kreutz was a 6-time Pro Bowl candidate over his 12-year career with the Bears. Kreutz wanted a $4-million contract to be compensated for his tenure, but Phillips and his crew only offered $3.5 million and later signed another center, Chris Spencer.
- "Ted Phillips", "Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce", Chicago, IL, 24 January 2011
- "Front Office Bio", "Chicago Bears"
- "Bears Freeze Ticket Prices", "Sun-Times"
- "Forbes Top 10", "Forbes Most Valuable NFL Teams"
- "Bears' Phillips opens up about labor situation, artificial turf", "Chicago Tribune"
- "Bears agree to terms with C Spencer", "Chicago Tribune"