Chicago Bears

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Chicago Bears
Year founded: 1919
Chicago Bears helmet
Chicago Bears logo
Helmet Logo
City Chicago, Illinois
Other nicknames Da Bears, The Monsters of the Midway
Team colors Navy Blue, Orange and White
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Owner Virginia Halas McCaskey
Chairman Michael McCaskey
General manager Jerry Angelo
Fight song "Bear Down, Chicago Bears"
Mascot Staley Da Bear
League/Conference affiliations

Independent (1919)
National Football League (1920–present)

Team history
  • Decatur Staleys (1919–1920)
  • Chicago Staleys (1921)
  • Chicago Bears (1922–present)
League Championships (9)
Conference Championships (4)
Division Championships (17)
Home fields
Club Owner(s)
  • A.E. Staley Company (1919–1921)
Club President(s)
  • George Halas (1921–1953)

    The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL) and are the current National Football Conference Champions. The Bears have won nine Professional American Football league championships (eight NFL Championships and Super Bowl XX), trailing only the Green Bay Packers, who have twelve. The Bears have the most enshrinees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with 26 members.

    The club was founded in Decatur, Illinois, in 1919 and moved to Chicago in 1921. The team played home games at Wrigley Field on Chicago's North Side through the 1970 season. With the exception of the 2002 season, they have played their home games at Chicago's Soldier Field every year since 1971. The stadium is located next to Lake Michigan and was recently remodeled in a modernization that has attempted to bring stadium amenities expected by today's fans to a historic Chicago building. The team has a fierce, long-standing rivalry with the Packers, whom they have played in over 170 games.


    [edit] History

    [edit] 1920–1970

    Originally named the Decatur Staleys, the club was established by the A. E. Staley Company of Decatur, Illinois in 1919 as a company team. This was the typical start for several of the early professional football franchises. The company hired George Halas and Edward "Dutch" Sternaman in 1920 to run the team, and turned full control of the team over to them in 1921.[2] However, official team and league records cite Halas as the founder as he took over the team in 1920 when it became a charter member of the NFL.[3]

    Along with the Arizona Cardinals, the Bears are one of only two charter members of the NFL still in existence. The team relocated to Chicago in 1921, where the club was renamed the Chicago Staleys. Under an agreement that was reached by Halas and Sternaman with Staley, Halas purchased the rights to the club from Staley for US$100.

    The Bears dominated the league in the early years. Their rivalry with the Cardinals, the oldest in the NFL (and a crosstown rivalry from 1920 to 1959), was key in four out of the first six league titles (see History of the Chicago Bears). During the league's first six years, the Bears lost twice to the Canton Bulldogs (who took two league titles over that span) and split with their crosstown rival Cardinals (going 4–4–2 against each other over that span), but no other team in the league defeated the Bears more than a single time. Over that span, the Bears posted an incredible 34 shutouts.

    The Bears' rivalry with the Green Bay Packers is one of the oldest, fiercest and most storied in American professional sports, dating back to 1921. In one infamous incident that year, Halas got the Packers expelled from the league in order to prevent them signing a particular player, and then graciously got them re-admitted after the Bears had closed the deal with that player.[4]

    In 1922, Halas changed the team name from the Staleys to the Bears. The team moved into Wrigley Field, which was home to the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise. As with several early NFL franchises, the Bears derived their nickname from their city's baseball team. Halas liked the bright orange-and-blue colors of his alma mater, the University of Illinois, and the Bears adopted those colors as their own, albeit in a darker shade of each (the blue is a Navy Blue, and the orange is Pantone 1665, similar to burnt orange).

    The 1924 team photo
    The 1924 team photo

    The franchise was an early success under Halas, capturing the NFL Championship in 1921 and remaining competitive throughout the decade. In 1924 the Bears claimed the Championship after defeating the Cleveland Bulldogs on December 7, even putting the title "World's Champions" on their 1924 team photo. But the NFL had ruled that games after November 30 did not count towards league standings, and the Bears had to settle for second place behind Cleveland.[5] Their only losing season came in 1929.

    During the 1920s the club was responsible for triggering the NFL's long-standing rule that a player could not be signed until his college's senior class had graduated. The NFL took that action as a consequence of the Bears' aggressive signing of famous University of Illinois player Red Grange within a day of his final game as a collegian.[6]

    After the financial losses of the 1932 Championship season, Halas' partner Dutch Sternaman left the organization. Halas maintained full control of the Bears until his death in 1983. He also coached the team off-and-on for forty seasons, an NFL record. In the 1932 "Unofficial" NFL Championship, the Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans in the first indoor American football game at Chicago Stadium.

    The success of the playoff game led the NFL to institute a championship game. In the very first NFL Championship, the Bears played against the New York Giants, defeating them 23–21. The teams met again in the 1934 NFL Championship where the Giants, wearing sneakers[7] defeated the Bears 30–13 on a cold, icy day at the Polo Grounds.

    The 1946 NFL Championship team photo
    The 1946 NFL Championship team photo

    From 1940–1947, quarterback Sid Luckman led the Bears to victories in four out of the five NFL Championship Games in which they appeared. The team acquired the University of Chicago's discarded nickname "Monsters of the Midway" and their now-famous helmet "C", as well as a newly-penned theme song that declared them "The Pride and Joy of Illinois". One famous victory during that period was their 73–0 victory over the favored Washington Redskins at Griffith Stadium in the 1940 NFL Championship Game; the score is still an NFL record for lopsided results.[8] The secret behind the one-sided outcome was the introduction of a new offensive formation by Halas. The T-formation, as Halas named it, involved two running backs instead of the traditional one in the backfield. Luckman's success at the quarterback position for the Bears has not been matched, as he still holds club records for passing.[9]

    After declining throughout the 1950s, the team rebounded in 1963 to capture their 8th NFL Championship, which would be their last until 1985. The late 1960s and early 1970s produced notable players like Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, and Brian Piccolo, who died of Embryonal carcinoma in 1969. The American television network ABC aired a movie about Piccolo in 1971 entitled Brian's Song, starring James Caan and Billy Dee Williams in the roles of Piccolo and Sayers respectively; Jack Warden won an Emmy Award for his performance as Halas. The movie was later released for theater screenings after first being shown on television.

    Halas retired as coach in 1967 and spent the rest of his days in the front office. He became the only person to be involved with the NFL in the first 60 years of its existence. He was also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's first induction class in 1963. As the only living founder of the NFL at the February 1970 merger between the NFL and the American Football League, the owners honored Halas by electing him the first President of the National Football Conference, a position that he held until his death in 1983. In his honor, the NFL named the National Football Conference Championship trophy as the George Halas Memorial Trophy.

    [edit] 1970–present

    After the merger, the Bears finished the 1970 season with a last-place finish in the division, a repeat of their placing in the 1969 season. In 1975 the Bears drafted Walter Payton from Jackson State University with their first pick, and he made an immediate impact on the football landscape. He won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award in the 1977–78 season.[10][11] Payton would go on to eclipse Jim Brown's NFL career rushing record in 1984 before retiring in 1987, and would hold the mark until 2002, when Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys surpassed it.[12] Payton's career and great personality would capture the hearts of Bear fans, who called him "Sweetness". He died from a rare liver cancer in 1999 at the age of 45.

    From 1977 through 1985 the club's official cheerleaders were the Honey Bears, who were hired by then General Manager Jim Finks. They cheered at Soldier Field during all Bears home games and performed at halftime for the viewing public. The group's founder and choreographer, Cathy Core, was contacted by Finks on the topic of organizing the cheerleading squad, but as she didn't believe that Finks was actually calling she hung up. When she later found out the call was genuine, she apologized.[13]

    The idea of a cheerleading squad was thought up by Halas himself, who called them "dancing girls".[13] Halas was quoted as saying that the Honey Bears would be around as long as he was alive.[13] After his death in 1983, his heirs in the McCaskey family decided to end their relationship with the Honey Bears, declining to renew their contract following the Bears' championship season of 1985. Word has it that as long as the McCaskey family owns the team, the Honey Bears will remain a memory.[13]

    On November 1, 1983, a day after the death of George Halas, his oldest daughter, Virginia McCaskey, took over as the majority owner of the team. Her husband, Ed McCaskey, succeeded her father as the Chairman of the Board.[14] Their son Michael became the third president in team history.[15] Mrs. McCaskey holds the honorary title of "secretary of the board of directors", but the 82–year–old matriarch has been called the glue that holds the franchise together.[16] Mrs. McCaskey's reign as the owner of the Bears was not planned, as her father originally earmarked her brother, George "Mugs" Halas, Jr. as the heir apparent to the franchise. However, he died of a massive heart attack in 1979, and four years later she inherited the team upon George Halas' death. Her impact on the team is well-noted as her own family has dubbed her "The First Lady of Sports", and the Chicago Sun-Times has listed her as one of Chicago's most powerful women.[17]

    The Chicago Bears Shuffling Crew
    The Chicago Bears Shuffling Crew

    Mike Ditka, a tight end for the Bears from 1961 to 1966, was hired to coach the team in 1982. In the 1985 season the fire in the Bears–Packers rivalry was relit when Ditka used 350–plus pound lineman "Refrigerator" Perry as a truly "wide" receiver in a touchdown play at Lambeau Field, flagrantly taunting the Packers. The Packers have also one-upped the Bears from time to time over the years, such as the "Instant Replay Loss" game of 1989,[18] and since quarterback Brett Favre has led the Packers the club has won the last 21 out of 33 meetings with the Bears.[19]

    The Bears won their ninth NFL Championship, first since the AFL-NFL merger, in Super Bowl XX after the 1985 season in which they dominated the NFL with their then-revolutionary 46 defense and a cast of characters that recorded the novelty rap song "The Super Bowl Shuffle". The season was notable in that the Bears had only one loss, the "unlucky 13th" game of the season, a Monday night affair in which they were defeated by the Miami Dolphins. At the time, much was made of the fact that the 1972 Dolphins are the only franchise in history (through the 2006 season) to have an undefeated season and post-season. The Dolphins came close to setting up a rematch in the Super Bowl, but lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC title game. "The Super Bowl Shuffle" was videotaped the day after that Monday night loss in Miami.

    After the 1985 Championship season, the Bears remained competitive throughout the 1980s but failed to return to the Super Bowl under Mike Ditka. Since the firing of Ditka at the end of the 1992 season, the Bears have only made the playoffs five times–winning only two games. The club has also gone through three coaching changes since 1993. Dave Wannstedt was the head coach from 1993 through 1998. Dick Jauron succeeded Wannstedt after the 1998 season. After having his contract extended through 2004 after the Bears went 13-3 in 2001, Jauron was fired at the end of the 2003 season. Before the Bears hired Jauron in January 1999, Dave McGinnis (Arizona's defensive coordinator, and a former Bears assistant under Ditka and Wannstedt) backed out of taking the head coaching position. The Bears scheduled a press conference to announce the hiring before McGinnis agreed to contract terms.[20] Incidentally, soon after Jauron's hiring, Mrs. McCaskey fired her son Michael as president, replacing him with Ted Phillips and promoting Michael to chairman of the board. McCaskey's reign as president has been viewed as a disaster with mishap after mishap.[21] Phillips, the current Bears president, became the first man outside of the Halas-McCaskey family to run the team.[22]

    Lovie Smith, hired by the franchise on January 15, 2004, is the third and current (as of 2006) post-Ditka head coach. Joining the Bears as a rookie head coach, Smith brought the highly successful Tampa 2 defensive scheme with him to Chicago. Before his second season with the Bears, they rehired their former offensive coordinator and then Illinois head coach Ron Turner to improve the Bears' struggling offense.[23] In 2005, the Bears won their division and reached the playoffs for the first time in four years. Their previous playoff berth was earned by winning the NFC Central in 2001. The Bears improved upon their success the following season, by clinching their second consecutive NFC North title during week thirteen of the 2006 season, winning their first playoff game since 1995, and earning a trip to Super Bowl XLI.[24] However, they fell short of the championship, losing 29-17 to the Indianapolis Colts. The club has decided to give Lovie Smith a contract extension. The club has offered him a 3-year, $12 million dollar contract to last through 2011. This comes a season after being the lowest paid head coach in the national football league. [25]

    The club has played in over a thousand games since becoming a charter member of the NFL in 1920. Through the 2006 season, they lead the NFL in overall franchise wins with 686 and have an overall record of 686–499–42 (going 670–482–42 during the regular season and 16–17 in the playoffs).[26]

    [edit] Ownership

    Virginia McCaskey, her children, and grandchildren control 80% of the team, and Mrs. McCaskey votes her children's stock as well as her own. Patrick Ryan, executive chairman of Aon Corp., and Aon director Andrew McKenna own 19.7% of the club.[27] Many Bears fans have expressed their displeasure with the McCaskey family. In a Crain's Chicago Business article, one businessman described his wishes for the team to maximize its potential. There have been rumors that the McCaskey family might split up over the team.[28]

    As of 2006, Forbes magazine has reported that the Chicago Bears franchise is worth $945 million,[29] making it the tenth richest franchise in the NFL. The team has major sponsorship deals with Chase, Miller Brewing Company, Cadillac, Motorola, and Coca-Cola.[30] The team was the first in the NFL to have a presenting sponsor, with the 2004 season advertised as "Bears Football presented by BankOne (now Chase)". Additionally, the Bears have an agreement with WMAQ-TV (the NBC affiliate in Chicago) to broadcast pre-season football games.[31]

    [edit] Team colors and mascots

    [edit] Logo

    The club has had few official logos throughout their history. The first was introduced in the early 1950s as a black bear on top of a football. The team kept this until 1962, when the Bears trademark 'C' logo was first introduced by the team.[32]

    One of the original logos (1962-1973)
    One of the original logos (1962-1973)

    The change in their logo from the black bear was due to the addition of logos on helmets, which pro football teams started adding in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Unlike some NFL franchises that have had many different looks over time, the Bears have kept the wishbone 'C' for over 40 years.

    In 1974, the team decided to keep the same white 'C' logo but to change the color of it from white to orange with a white trim. This is the current logo to this date; however, the club has experimented with some alternative logos throughout the past decade, including a black bear inside of the orange wishbone 'C', introduced in 1995, and an orange bear head, introduced in 1999.

    [edit] Uniforms

    For a gallery of all the uniform combinations worn by the 2006 club, see Uniform Combinations.
    The traditional home and away uniform kit for the club
    The traditional home and away uniform kit for the club

    In 1920 the team introduced the official team uniforms containing brown and blue stripes. In the 1930s, the franchise's team uniform underwent some substantial alterations. After many subtle and not-so-subtle changes, by 1933 the Bears donned all-orange jerseys with navy numbers and matching black helmets. In 1936, they modified this design into "an early version of psychedelia" by adding three orange stripes to their helmets, changing the color of the jerseys from orange to white, complementing the new white jerseys with fourteen navy and orange alternating stripes on the sleeves, and introducing socks with a similar striped pattern extending from ankle to knee. Due to poor response from the fans and the media, this design lasted only one season.[33]

    Chicago Bears Uniform History (1920-2005)
    Chicago Bears Uniform History (1920-2005)

    By 1949, the team was wearing the familiar navy blue shirts with white, rounded numbers. In 1956, the team added "TV numbers" to the sleeves. The Bears 'C' logo first appeared on the helmets in 1962. The logo changed from white to a white-bordered orange logo eleven years later, and has remained unchanged ever since. The Bears added the initials GSH to the left sleeve of their jerseys in 1984 in memory of George Halas.

    Other variations to the Bears uniforms over the years include the addition of navy blue pants as a part of the road kit in 1984. During the 1994 season, the Bears – with most of the other NFL franchises – introduced throwback uniforms to be worn in the honor of the NFL's 75th Anniversary. These uniforms with brown and blue stripes resemble the original uniforms worn by the team in the 1920s. On October 7, 2002 the Bears wore navy blue pants with their navy blue home jerseys for the first time, and lost at home to Green Bay before a national Monday Night Football audience. The Bears did not wear the all-blue combination again until the 2006 regular season finale against the Packers, also a loss, on December 31.

    Also, the Bears wore all-white uniforms during their final two road games in the 2006 season. On November 13, 2005 and October 29, 2006 (both times in games against the San Francisco 49ers), the Bears introduced an orange alternate home jersey. The orange swaps roles with the navy blue on this alternate jersey, as it becomes the dominant color while the navy complements. The Bears previously wore orange jerseys as part of a throwback uniform in a Thanksgiving Day game at the Dallas Cowboys in 2004. The classic look of the club's uniforms has given it the title of one of the best uniform kits in the league.[34]

    [edit] Mascots

    Before the introduction of Staley Da Bear, the club had two unofficial mascots named "Rocky" and "Bearman". "Rocky" was a man who donned a "1" Bears jersey, carried a megaphone, and started chants all over Soldier Field during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. There is no known source of who "Rocky" was, except that he disappeared from Soldier Field in the early 1990s and presumably lived in Northwest Indiana.[35] Don Wachter, also known as "Bearman", is a season ticket holder who decided in 1995 that he could also assist the team by cheerleading. The club allowed him to run across the field with a large Bears flag during player introductions and each team score. In 1996, he donned his "costume" of face paint, bear head and arms, and a number 46 jersey. "Bearman" was forced to stop wearing his costume with the introduction of Staley Da Bear in 2003; however, in 2005 Wachter was allowed in costume again.[36]

    [edit] Stadium

    Soldier Field II
    Soldier Field II

    Soldier Field, located on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, is the current home to the Bears. The Bears moved into Soldier Field in 1971 after Wrigley Field, the Bears' home for 50 years, became too small to hold an NFL event.[37] The stadium's playing turf was changed from astroturf to natural grass in time for the start of the 1988 season. The stadium was the site of the infamous Fog Bowl playoff game between the Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.[38]

    In 2002, the stadium was closed and rebuilt with only the exterior wall of the stadium being preserved. It was closed on Sunday, January 20, 2002, a day after the Bears lost in the playoffs. It reopened on September 27, 2003 after a complete rebuild (the second in the stadium's history).[39] Many fans refer to the rebuilt stadium as New Soldier Field.[40] During the 2002 season, the Bears played their home games at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium in Champaign, where they went 3-5.

    Many critics have negative views of the new stadium. They believe that its current structure has made it more of an eyesore than a landmark; some have dubbed it the "Mistake on the Lake".[41] Soldier Field was stripped of its National Historic Landmark designation on February 17, 2006.[42]

    In the 2005 season, the Bears won the NFC North Division and the No. 2 Seed in the NFC Playoffs, entitling them to play at least one home game in the postseason. The team hosted (and lost) their divisional round match on January 15, 2006 against the Carolina Panthers. This was the first playoff game at Soldier Field since the stadium reopened.

    The stadium's end zones and midfield were not painted until the 1982 season.[43] The design sported on the field included the bolded word "Chicago" in both end zones. In 1983, the end zone design returned, with the addition of a large wishbone "C" Bears logo painted at midfield. These field markings remained unchanged until the 1996 season.[44] In 1996 the midfield wishbone "C" was changed to a large blue Bears head, and the end zone design were painted with "Bears" in cursive. This new design remained until the 1999 season, at which point the artwork was returned to the classic "Chicago" and the "C". In the new Soldier Field, the artwork was tweaked to where one end zone had the word "Chicago" bolded and the other had "Bears".[45]

    [edit] The Bears in popular culture

    While the Super Bowl XX Champion Bears were a fixture of mainstream American pop culture in the 1980s, the Bears made a prior mark with the 1971 American TV movie Brian's Song starring Billy Dee Williams as Gale Sayers and James Caan as Brian Piccolo. The film told of how Piccolo helped Sayers recover from a devastating knee injury to return to his status as one of the league's best players, and how Sayers in turn helped the Piccolo family through Brian's fatal illness.[46][47] A 2001 remake of the movie for ABC starred Sean Maher as Piccolo and Mekhi Phifer as Sayers.[48]

    The 1985 team is also remembered for recording the song "The Super Bowl Shuffle", which reached number forty-one on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy Award.[49][50] The music video for the song depicts the team gyrating awkwardly and rapping that they are "not here to start no trouble" but instead "just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle". The team took a risk by recording and releasing the song before the playoffs had even begun, but were able to avoid embarrassment by going on to win Super Bowl XX by a record margin of 46-10. That game was one of the most watched television events in history according to the Nielsen Ratings system; the game had a rating of 48.3, ranking it seventh in all-time television history.[51]

    In addition to the "Super Bowl Shuffle"[52] rap song, the Bears' success in the 1980s – and especially the personality of head coach Mike Ditka – inspired a recurring sketch on the American sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live, called "Bill Swerski's Superfans".[53] The sketch featured Cheers co-star George Wendt, a Chicago native, as host of a radio talk-show (similar in tone to WGN radio's "The Sportswriters"), with co-panelists Carl Wollarski (Robert Smigel), Pat Arnold (Mike Myers) and Todd O'Connor (Chris Farley). To hear them tell it, "Da Bears" and Coach Ditka could do no wrong. The sketch stopped after Ditka was fired in 1993. The sketch usually showed the panelists drinking lots of beer and eating lots of Polish sausage, and often featured Todd getting so agitated about what was happening with the Bears that he suffered a heart attack, but quickly recovered (through self-administered CPR). The sketch also features the cast predicting unrealistic blowout victories for Bears games.[54] A significantly overweight Farley died in 1997 from a drug overdose exacerbated by arteriosclerosis,[55] and Da Super Fan sketch has not been brought back by SNL, with the exception of a single appearance by Horatio Sanz as a Super Fan for the Cubs on Weekend Update in 2003.

    Ditka's success and popularity in Chicago has led him to land analyst roles on various American football pregame shows. Ditka worked for both the NFL on NBC and CBS's The NFL Today, and he currently works on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown and provides Friday night analysis on the Bears on CBS 2 Chicago, the CBS Chicago affiliate, called "2 on Football" with CBS 2 Sports Director Mark Malone.[56] He is also the color analyst for all local broadcasts of Bears preseason games.

    Also, Ditka, Dick Butkus, Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, William "Refrigerator" Perry and Brian Urlacher are among Bears figures known for their appearances in TV commercials. Urlacher, whose jersey was the league's best-selling in 2002, is currently featured on Nike commercials with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.[57][58] Brian Urlacher is also featured in Vitamin Water ads.

    In a scene from the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles, characters Neal Page and Del Griffith awake from their sleep in an embarrassing position. When the characters realized what has happened, they quickly try changing the subject by making small talk about the Chicago Bears.

    [edit] Statistics and records

    For more details on this topic, see Chicago Bears statistics.

    Bill George and Doug Buffone hold the record for the most seasons in a Bears uniform with 14.[59] George did it between the 1952 and 1965 seasons and Buffone during the 1966 through 1979 seasons. On the other hand, Steve McMichael holds the record for most consecutive games played by a Bear with 191;[59] he accomplished the feat from 1981 to 1993. In second place is Payton, who played 186 games from 1975 to 1987 at running back, a position considered to be conducive to injury, only missing one game in a span of 13 seasons.

    Placekicker Kevin Butler holds the club record[59] for scoring the most points in his ten-year Bear career. He scored 1,116 points as the Bears kicker from 1985 to 1995. He is followed in distant second place by Payton, with 750 points.

    Payton holds the team record for career rushing yards with 16,726.[59] That was an NFL record until Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys broke it in 2002. Neal Anderson, who played from 1986 to 1993, is the closest to Payton's record with 6,166 yards. It is likely that Payton's team record will not be broken in the foreseeable future.

    Mark Bortz holds the record for most Bear playoff appearances, with 13 between 1983 and 1994, and is followed by Kevin Butler, Dennis Gentry, Dan Hampton, Jay Hilgenberg, Steve McMichael, Ron Rivera, Mike Singletary, and Keith Van Horne, who have each played in 12 playoff games.

    The 1940 Chicago Bears team holds the record for the biggest margin of victory in an NFL game (playoff or regular season) with a 73–0 victory over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game. The largest home victory for the Bears came in a 61–7 result against the Green Bay Packers in 1980. The largest defeat in club history was a 52-0 loss against the Baltimore Colts in 1964.

    The club recorded undefeated regular seasons in 1934 and 1942, but (unlike the 1972 Dolphins) did not win the championship game in either season. In 1934, the club completed a 13–0 record but were defeated by the New York Giants, and in 1942 the club completed an 11–0 record but were defeated by the Redskins. Had the Bears won either championship, the club would have completed a championship three-peat – a feat completed only by the Packers (twice), although no team has done it since the AFL-NFL merger.[60]

    Halas holds the team record for coaching the most seasons with 40 and for having the most career victories of 324. Halas' victories record stood until Don Shula surpassed Halas in 1993. Ditka is the closest Bears coach to Halas, with 112 career victories. No other Bears coach has recorded over 100 victories with the team.[59]

    Recently, return specialist Devin Hester has set several kick return records. During his rookie season in 2006, Hester returned had six touchdown returns, setting a record for most returns in a single season.[61] One of the most notable of these returns came on November 12, 2006, when he returned a missed field goal for a 108-yard touchdown.[62] The record tied teammate Nathan Vasher's previous record, which was set almost a year earlier. [63] Additionally, Hester set a Super Bowl record by becoming the first person to return an opening kick of a Super Bowl for a touchdown.[64]

    [edit] Personnel

    [edit] Current roster

    (as of 3/25/2007)
     view  talk  edit 






    Tight Ends


    Offensive Tackles



    Defensive Ends

    Defensive Tackles


    Outside Linebackers

    Middle Linebackers


    Free Safeties

    Strong Safeties




    Long Snappers

    Injured reserve Image:injuryicon.jpg

    Practice squad

    [edit] Current staff

    • Head Coach — Lovie Smith
    • Assistant Head Coach — TBD

    Offensive Coaches

    • Offensive Coordinator — Ron Turner
    • Quarterbacks Coach — Pep Hamilton
    • Running Backs Coach — Tim Spencer
    • Wide Receivers Coach — Darryl Drake
    • Tight Ends Coach — Rob Boras
    • Offensive Line Coach — Harry Hiestand
    • Assistant Offensive Line Coach — Luke Butkus
    • Offensive Assistant — Vacant
    • Offensive Quality Control Coach — Charles London

    Defensive Coaches

    • Defensive Coordinator — Bob Babich
    • Linebackers Coach — Hardy Nickerson
    • Defensive Backs Coach — Steven Wilks
    • Defensive Line Coach — Brick Haley
    • Defensive Assistant — Lloyd Lee
    • Defensive Quality Control Coach — Gill Byrd

    Specialty Coaches

    • Special Teams Coordinator — Dave Toub
    • Assistant Special Teams Coach — Kevin O'Dea
    • Strength & Conditioning Coordinator — Rusty Jones
    • Strength & Conditioning Assistant — Jim Arthur

    [edit] Famous players

    For more details on this topic, see List of Chicago Bears players.

    [edit] Pro Football Hall of Famers

    In the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Bears boast the most enshrined members with twenty-six.[65] George Halas, Bronko Nagurski, and Red Grange were a part of the original class of inductees in 1963, while defensive end Dan Hampton, the most recent Bear inducted, was a part of the Class of 2002.

    Chicago Bears Hall of Famers
    No. Player Nat Positions No. Player Nat Positions
    1 Paddy Driscoll Flag of United States QB-S-K, Head Coach 42 Sid Luckman Flag of United States QB-CB
    3 Bronko Nagurski Flag of Canada RB-OT-LB 50 Mike Singletary Flag of United States LB
    5 George McAfee Flag of United States RB-S 51 Dick Butkus Flag of United States LB
    7 George Halas Flag of United States founder, owner
    Head Coach, TE-DE
    56 Bill Hewitt Flag of United States TE-DE
    11 Link Lyman Flag of United States OT-DT 61 Bill George Flag of United States LB
    13 George Trafton Flag of United States C-DT 66 Clyde (Bulldog) Turner Flag of United States C-DT
    13 Joe Stydahar Flag of United States OT-DT 71 George Connor Flag of United States OT-LB
    16 Ed Healey Flag of United States OT-DT 77 Harold (Red) Grange Flag of United States RB-CB
    16 George Musso Flag of United States C-DT 78 Stan Jones Flag of United States OT
    16 George Blanda Flag of United States QB 81 Doug Atkins Flag of United States DE
    21 Danny Fortmann Flag of United States OG-DT 89 Mike Ditka Flag of United States TE, Head Coach
    34 Walter Payton Flag of United States RB 99 Dan Hampton Flag of United States DE
    40 Gale Sayers Flag of United States RB -- Jim Finks Flag of United States General Manager

    [edit] Retired numbers

    The Bears have retired 13 numbers, which is the most in the NFL, and ranks third behind the basketball Boston Celtics and baseball New York Yankees for the most in American professional sports.

    Chicago Bears retired numbers
    No. Player No. Player
    3 Bronko Nagurski 42 Sid Luckman
    5 George McAfee 51 Dick Butkus
    7 George Halas 56 Bill Hewitt
    28 Willie Galimore 61 Bill George
    34 Walter Payton 66 Clyde (Bulldog) Turner
    40 Gale Sayers 77 Harold (Red) Grange
    41 Brian Piccolo[66]

    [edit] Head coaches

    As of February 4, 2007. Only regular season and postseason games are counted.

    Name Nat From To Record Titles[67]
    W L T
    Fritz Wasem Flag of United States 1919 1919 Not Available[68]
    Red Brannon Flag of United States
    James Cook Flag of United States
    George Halas[69] Flag of United States January 1920 December 1929 324 151 31 1
    Ralph Jones Flag of United States January 1930 December 1932 24 10 7 1
    George Halas Flag of United States December 1932 November 1942 324 151 31 3
    Hunk Anderson[70] Flag of United States November 1942 December 1945 24 12 2 1
    Luke Johnsos[70] Flag of United States
    George Halas Flag of United States January 1946 December 1955 324 151 31 1
    Paddy Driscoll Flag of United States December 1955 December 1957 14 10 1
    George Halas Flag of United States December 1957 May 27, 1968 324 151 31 1
    Jim Dooley Flag of United States May 27, 1968 December 1971 20 36 0
    Abe Gibron Flag of United States December 1971 December 17, 1974 11 30 1
    Jack Pardee Flag of United States December 31, 1974 January 19, 1978 20 23 0
    Neill Armstrong Flag of United States February 16, 1978 January 4, 1982 30 35 0
    Mike Ditka Flag of United States January 20, 1982 January 1993 112 68 0 1
    Dave Wannstedt Flag of United States January 19, 1993 December 28, 1998 41 57 0
    Dick Jauron Flag of United States January 24, 1999 December 29, 2003 35 46 0
    Lovie Smith Flag of United States January 15, 2004 Present 31 21 0

    [edit] See also

    Chicago Bears

    StadiumsStaley FieldWrigley FieldSoldier Field
    CultureBrian's Song • "The Super Bowl Shuffle" • Da Super Fans

    Club Head Coaches


    League Championships (9)
    1921, 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1963, 1985

    [edit] Footnotes

    1. ^ George Halas, Jr.. Chicago Bears Official Website. Retrieved on 13 December 2006.
    2. ^ The Decatur Staleys. Local Website. Retrieved on 15 June 2006. Information on Dutch Sternaman
    3. ^ George Halas: Hall of Fame Member. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 14 May 2006.
    4. ^ Bears-Packers: Love-Hate Relationship. Retrieved on 28 September 2000.
    5. ^ 1924: THE THIRD TIME IS CHARMED. PFRA. Retrieved on 2007-02-07.
    6. ^ Galloping Ghost scared opponents. Retrieved on 1 December 2005.
    7. ^ See NFL Championship Game, 1934 for more information on how the Giants wore sneakers and defeated the Bears
    8. ^ General History — Chronology (1940 to 1959). Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 1 January 2006.
    9. ^ Sid Luckman. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 12 July 2006.
    10. ^ Walter Payton's Statistics. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 3 June 2006.
    11. ^ Remembering Walter Payton. Daily Herald. Retrieved on 11 June 2006.
    12. ^ Smith passes Payton as NFL's career rushing leader. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 16 June 2006.
    13. ^ a b c d The Honey Bears and Chicago Bears Mascots. Retrieved on 1 May 2006.
    14. ^ Ed McCaskey. Cook County Clerk. Retrieved on 13 December 2006.
    15. ^ Mike McCaskey. ChicagoBears Official Website. Retrieved on 13 December 2006.
    16. ^ McCaskey. Cranes Chicago Business. Retrieved on 12 July 2006.
    17. ^ Chicago's Most Powerful Women. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on 16 April 2004.
    18. ^ Bears, Packers have love-hate relationship. NFL Insider. Retrieved on 1 December 2005.
    19. ^ Packers vs Bears All-Time Series Results. Retrieved on 14 December 2006.
    20. ^ Dave McGinnis. Bears History. Retrieved on 13 December 2006.
    21. ^ Michael McCaskey. Cranes Chicago Business. Retrieved on 12 July 2006.
    22. ^ Ted Phillips. Chicago Retrieved on 12 July 2006.
    23. ^ About the Chicago Bears. Retrieved on 16 October 2006.
    24. ^ GameCenter: Recap — Retrieved on 21 January 2007.
    25. ^
    26. ^ All-Time Chicago Bears Record. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 15 June 2006.
    27. ^ Bears Minority Owners. Cranes Chicago Business. Retrieved on 12 July 2006.
    28. ^ McCaskey. Cranes Chicago Business. Retrieved on 12 July 2006.
    29. ^ NFL Franchise Values: # 10 Chicago Bears. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved on 1 September 2006.
    30. ^ NFL Franchise Sponsors: Chicago Bears. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved on 1 December 2005.
    31. ^ NBC O&Os to Air NFL Preseason. Retrieved on 13 May 2005.
    32. ^ History of the Chicago Bears Logo. Chicago Bears. Retrieved on 1 August 2005.
    33. ^ History of the Chicago Bears Uniform. Chicago Bears. Retrieved on 1 August 2005.
    34. ^ Jay Mohr: Breaking down the best and worst NFL uniforms. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 9 November 2005.
    35. ^ Rocky. Retrieved on 3 May 2006.
    36. ^ "Bearman". Retrieved on 1 May 2006.
    37. ^ After the AFL-NFL Merger, the newly merged league wanted their teams to play in stadiums that could hold at least 50,000 fans. Even with the portable bleachers that the team brought into Wrigley, the stadium could still only hold 46,000.Soldier Field History. Retrieved on 16 July 2006.
    38. ^ Flashback: Eagles fly into fog. Retrieved on 28 September 2004.
    39. ^ Soldier Field History. Bears Retrieved on 16 July 2006.
    40. ^ Soldier Field History. Retrieved on 16 July 2006.
    41. ^ Mistake on the Lake. The Times of Northwest Indiana. Retrieved on 1 September 2003.
    42. ^ Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties, 4/17/06 through 4/21/06. National Register of Historic Places Listings.
    43. ^ Bears History "Bits". Bears Retrieved on 16 July 2006.
    44. ^ Bears Midfield Logo. Bears Retrieved on 16 July 2006.
    45. ^ New Soldier Field Art. Bears Retrieved on 16 July 2006.
    46. ^ Brian's Song (1971). IMDb. Retrieved on 14 July 2006.
    47. ^ Reel Life: Brian's Song. ESPN. Retrieved on 14 July 2006.
    48. ^ Brian's Song (2001). IMDb. Retrieved on 14 July 2006.
    49. ^ Top 10 Greatest NFL Team's of All-Time. Retrieved on 16 July 2006.
    50. ^ These records were meant to be broken. Floridan. Retrieved on 28 January 2001.
    51. ^ Nielsen's Top 10. Nielsen Ratings. Retrieved on 16 July 2006.
    52. ^ Remembering the Super Bowl Shuffle. ESPN. Retrieved on 1 August 2004.
    53. ^ Bill Swerski's Super Fans. SNL Transcripts. Retrieved on 14 July 2006.
    54. ^ SNL Super Fans Transcripts. SNL Transcripts. Retrieved on 14 July 2006.
    55. ^ Chris Farley. Find a Death. Retrieved on 14 July 2006.
    56. ^ Ditka joins CBS2. CBS 2 Chicago (WBBM-TV). Retrieved on 14 July 2004.
    57. ^ Urlacher's not going anywhere. USA Today. Retrieved on 3 June 2003.
    58. ^ o.html?ex=1392958800&en=7886de57c2852995&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND A Different Campaign for Nike. The New York Times. Retrieved on 24 February 2004.
    59. ^ a b c d e Chicago Bears Team Records. Chicago Bears. Retrieved on 1 August 2005.
    60. ^ NFL History. Retrieved on 1 August 2006.
    61. ^, Hester is Chicago's not-so-secret weapon Retrieved on February 28, 2007
    62. ^, Hester's record return pushes Bears past sleeping Giants Retrieved on March 11, 2007
    63. ^ Page 2, The Damn! Moment of Week 10 Retrieved on March 11, 2007
    64. ^ Yahoo! Sports, Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17 Retrieved on February 5, 2007
    65. ^ Hall of Famers by Team. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 1 February 2006.
    66. ^ the subject of the film Brian's Song
    67. ^ NFL Championships (1920-1969) and Super Bowl Championships (1970-present) collected during a coaching tenure
    68. ^ No official records have been found for the 1919 season
    69. ^ George Halas coached the Bears four different times, but his record as coach counts as one overall record in the club record books
    70. ^ a b Anderson and Johnsos were co-Head Coaches appointed by Halas went he left for the US Navy

    [edit] References

    [edit] External links

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