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Chicago Bears

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1920-29  1930-39  1940-49  1950-59  1960-69  1970-79  1980-89  1990-99  2000-2009

Coaches  Hall of Famers  Retired Numbers

The History of the Chicago Bears

 1920: On September 17th representatives of 13 Midwestern football teams meet at Ralph Hay's Hupmobile showroom in Canton, Ohio. The meeting is to form an organized league so that the area can have a champion as well as to help with ticket sales. The group decides to form the American Professional Football Association. All a team has to do to join is pay the $100 membership fee. George Halas who is a player-coach of the Decatur Staleys is among the driving forces of this meeting that would give birth to what is now the NFL. In the first year of the newly formed league the Decatur Staleys shutout 10 of their 13 opponents posting at 10-1-2 overall record. The team lost only once to the rival Chicago Cardinals 7-6. However, the team finishes second to the Akron Pros who finished 8-0-3. In the team's first year of existence each player was paid the staggering amount of $1,900 for the season.

: George Halas is given full control over the club by owner A.E. Staley, he is also given $5,000 to keep Staley the team name for one more year. However, Halas moves the team from the small suburban town of Decatur, Illinois to Chicago, and into Cubs Park. The team's first year in Chicago proves to be a successful one as the team finishes with a 9-1-1 record, and finishes in first to win the League's second Championship. 

: After his deal with A.E. Staley expires, George Halas decides to rename the franchise the Chicago Bears, as a companion to baseball's Cubs whom they share a stadium with. The Bears again challenge for the league's title but come up a few games short with a 9-3 record. However, the biggest news comes when the Bears buy tackle Ed Healey's contract from the Rock Island Independents for $100-twice the going rate for a franchise that season.

: The Bears continue to be one of the premier teams of professional football as they post a solid record of 9-2-2. However, they would fall short of winning the league title again as the Canton Bulldogs finished in first place with an 11-0-1 record.

: The Bears continue to compete for the NFL Championship, but are forced to settle for second place again with a record of 6-1-4, as an early season loss 16-14 to the Cleveland Bulldogs proved to be the difference between first and second, as the NFL ruled their December 7th win over the Bulldogs was unofficial, because at the time the NFL season ended on November 30th.  

: Professional Football is struggling teams are badly in the red, and folding, most in America view it beneath their dignity, and view pro-football players as people who can't find respectable work. College Football is the big sport at the time, games draw packed houses, while the same fans regard the colligate football player in the highest esteem. No player is held in higher esteem then Harold "Red" Grange from the University of Illinois. However, that view would be shattered and the sport of football was never the same again when Grange signed a $100,000 deal with the Bears on November 22nd upon the completion of Illinois season. To take advantage of the Red Grange signing, and to help save struggling teams throughout the league George Halas plans a 17 game coast-to-coast barnstorming tour that would take place between November 26th and January 31st. The tour began inauspiciously on Thanksgiving at Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cardinals held the Galloping Ghost to just 36 yards in his professional debut, as the two windy city rivals battled to a 0-0 tie. However, the barnstorming trip had just begun the Bears would post an 11-4-2 record, on the grueling trip. However Grange would impress fans from New York to Los Angeles, and all points in between, as pro-football finally gained some legitimacy. However, the most important effect it had is that it saved the NFL and some of its cornerstone teams including the New York Giants.

: The Bears would lose their number one gate attraction Red Grange after just one season when Grange and Halas could not agree to a contract for the 1926 season. In truth Grange's agent C.C. Pyle had no intention of having him sign with the Bears, instead he formed his own team the New York Yankees in a rival league called the American Football League. Even with the absence of Grange the Bears managed to be successful finishing in second Place with a 12-1-3 record.

: After the rival AFL which hosted Red Grange's New York Yankees folded, the NFL grants the team entry into the league. In Grange's first meeting against the Bears his career would take a sudden turn as he suffered a career threatening knee injury. The Bears continue to be one of the strongest teams in the fledgling NFL as they finish in third place with a record of 9-3-2.

: The Bears suffer their worst season to date as they lose five games while finishing in the middle of the pack with a mediocre 7-5-1 record.

: After sitting out the 1928 season recovering from the knee injury Red Grange returns to the Chicago Bears. However, since most of his famous speed is gone Grange role is now more focused on the defensive side of the ball. However, despite the Galloping Ghost's return the Bears struggle to their first ever-losing season with a 4-9-2 record. Following the season Halas would retire as a player, and hire Ralph Jones to takes his place on the coaching reins.

  George S. Halas                                 Harold "Red" Grange                    " Bronko" Nagurski                               "Dutch" Sternaman

: After the completion of a 9-4-1 season the Bears, and Chicago Cardinals face each other in an indoor exhibition game on December 15th at Chicago Stadium to aid the number of people left unemployed by the Great Depression. The Bears would go on to win the first indoor game, which was played on an 80-yard field by a score of 9-7.

: The Bears are anon factor in the race for the title again as they finish in third place with a mediocre 8-5 record.

: After the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans finish in a tie for first place a one game championship is scheduled for December 18th to decide the League's Champion. However, bad weather in Chicago forced the game to be moved indoors to Chicago Stadium. The Bears would win the game, and the championship 9-0 before 11,198 fans inside Chicago Stadium on an 80-yard field. Leading the way was Bronko Nagurski who hit Red Grange with a two-yard touchdown pass. However, the season was not a financial success as the league, and team struggled with the Great Depression. Despite the Championship the team lost $18,000 prompting co-owner Dutch Sternaman to sell his share of the team to George Halas.

: To help control costs George Halas returns to the sideline as head coach replacing Ralph Jones. In Halas' return the Bears would post a 10-2-1 record to win the Western Division and earn a spot in the first ever NFL Championship Game. In the game the Bears would host the New York Giants at Wrigley Field on December 17th. The game would be a nail bitter all the way as Bears rookie kicker Jack Manders accounts for 11 points as the Bears take a 23-21 lead late into the 4th Quarter. In the game's waning moments, The Giants wingback Dale Burnett broke into the open with only Red Grange in his way to bar the winning touchdown. Complicating the issue was the fact that Giants center Mel Hein was trailing Burnett to await a lateral if Grange caught him. The Galloping Ghost reacted instantly, grabbing Burnett around the chest, smothering him high so that no lateral was possible. They were rolling to the ground when the gun sounded the ending the game, and allowing the Bears to win the NFL Championship.

: A classic is born on August 31st as 79,432 watch the NFL champion Bears held to a scoreless tie by the first College All-Star team in a game sponsored by Chicago Tribune Charities at Soldier Field.

: With Rookie Beattie Feathers rushing for the NFL's first 1,000-yard season the Bears finish the regular season undefeated at 13-0 to repeat as Western Division Champions, and earn a trip to the NFL Championship Game. The Championship turns out to be a rematch, from the year before as the Bears travel to New York to defend their Championship. The Bears take a 10-3 lead into halftime as both teams have trouble gaining their footing on an icy Polo Grounds Field. Coming out of halftime the Giants take the field wearing basketball shoes, and gain footing while the Bears continue to slip and slide. The Giants would go on to win what would be known as "The Sneakers Game" 30-13 to spoil the Bears perfect season.

: After nearly completing a perfect season the Bears nearly plummet all the way to last place in the Western Division as they finish tied for third place with the cross-town Cardinals with a disappointing record of 6-4-2.

: With a ferocious defense that allows a league low 94 points the Bears get back into the title race. However they will fall a few games short with a record of 9-3.

: The Bears finish with a 9-1-1 record and win the Western Division setting up a NFL Championship match-up at Wrigley Field against the Washington Redskins. In the Championship Game the Bears have trouble containing Redskins star Quarterback Sammy Baugh who completes 18 of 33 passes for 335 yards and three Touchdowns, as the Redskins stun the Bears 28-21 for the Championship.

: After losing in the NFL Championship the Bears take a step backward and finish third place in the Western Division with a disappointing record of 6-5.

: After a mediocre season the Bears become a force in the Western Division. However, two costly losses to the Green Bay Packers would cost them the division title as they are forced to settle for second place with an 8-3 record.

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: The Bears return to the top of the Western Division with an 8-3 record earning them a trip to the NFL Championship Game in Washington against the Redskins, who beat them in Chicago for the Championship three years earlier. To help beat the Redskins George Halas develops a new game plan for the offense introducing the T-formation. The move works better the expected as the Redskins are confused by the alignment, and fall behind early. The Bears would keep rolling up the points and would walk away with a 73-0 victory, which still stands today as the biggest rout in NFL history.

: The Chicago Bears and rival Green Bay Packers battle all season for the Western Division Title. The two teams split their regular season match-ups, which turn out to be each teams only loss. Since both team finish at 10-1 a playoff game is required to determine who advances to the NFL Championship Game.  Prior to the rubber match being played a plan is devised for the game to go to sudden death overtime in the event of a tie. The sudden death format is not needed as the Bears win 33-14 in the game at Wrigley Field, but the plan formulates the Overtime that would be used in future years. After dispatching the Packers the Bears went on to win their second Consecutive NFL Championship with a 37-9 rout of the Giants.

: The Bears get off to a 5-0 start before Head Coach George Halas departs for the US Navy. With Halas gone two men Hunk Anderson and Luke Johnsos fill his shoes on the sidelines. Even in Halas' absence the Bears can't be beat as the team goes on to win its final six games to finish 11-0, and advance to their third straight NFL Championship Game. In the Championship the Bears return to the scene of their 73-0 victory for a rematch with the Redskins. However, this time the Redskins are not confused, and stun the Bears 14-6 to spoil their undefeated the regular season.

: The Bears continue to dominate the NFL's Western Division, as they win their 4th straight Division Title with an 8-1-1 record. The highlight of the season is on November 14th when Quarterback Sid Luckman scorches the New York Giants for 433 yards and seven Touchdowns,  the first ever 400 yard passing game in NFL history. In the NFL Championship at Wrigley Field the Bears blast the Redskins 41-21 before 34,320 fans. Sid Luckman throws five TD passes. While Bronko Nagurski scores his last Bear Touchdown, a three yard run. 

: The Bears reign of four NFL Championship Game Appearances comes to an end as they finish in second place with a record of 6-3-1.

: The Bears stumble out of the gate losing their first five games and never recover, finishing in fourth place with a horrible record of 3-7.

: After two sub-par seasons George Halas returns to the Bears, as the NFL gets back the players who were serving in the armed forces during World War II. The Bears are able to find their old magic again completing an 8-2-1 season to return to the top of the Western Division. In the NFL Championship Game in New York the Bears whip the Giants 24-14 before a record NFL title crowd of 58,346 in the Polo Grounds. After opening with a 21-yard Touchdown pass to Ken Kavanaugh, Sid Luckman gets the winning score on a 19-yard bootleg.

: The Bears get off to a shaky start by dropping their first two games. However they would quickly run off an eight game winning streak to get back into the race for first place. After losing to the Los Angeles Rams 17-14 in the next to last game of the season, the Bears and Chicago Cardinals were matched up in the final game of the season, with the division title on the line. Despite hosting the game at Wrigley Field the Cardinals would stun the Bears 30-21 as they went on to win the NFL Championship.

: For the second season in a row the Bears put together a solid season but wind up in second Place behind their windy city rival the Cardinals. This year is particularly heart breaking as the Bears complete a 10-2 season, but lose a key game down the stretch to the Cardinals.

: The Bears continue to be one of the best teams in the NFL. However, they would fall one game short of making the Championship game again despite a solid record of 9-3.

: The Bears begin the 50's in style by finishing 9-3, which was good enough to earn them a tie for the Western Division with Rams. However the Bears are unable to contain the Rams offense in a 24-14 loss in Los Angeles, as the Rams advance to the NFL Championship Game.

: The Bears get off to another strong star winning five of their first six games. However, they would fade in the second half of the season winning just two of their final six games as they finished in fourth place with a record of 7-5.

:  The Bears defense struggles all season as they allow a gaudy 326 points while finishing in fifth place with a record of 5-7.

: With most of their stars of the 40's retired the Bears finish 3-8-1, and for the first time in their history post back-to-back losing season.

: After two straight losing seasons the Bears get back into the playoff picture by posting a solid record of 8-4 while finishing in second place.

: After a second consecutive second Place 8-4 season Head Coach George Halas retires for the third time, replacing himself with Paddy Driscoll.

: In Paddy Driscoll's first season as Head Coach the Bears put together a solid 9-2-1 season to beat out the Detroit Lions by a half of game for the Western Division Championship. However, the Bears are no match for the Giants in the NFL Championship, as the Bears fall in a 47-7 rout in New York. 

: After a disappointing 5-7 season Paddy Driscoll is fired, as George Halas decides to return to the sidelines for the 1958 season.

: In George Halas's return to the sidelines the Bears rebound off a disappointing losing season and challenge for the Western Division all season before falling one game short with a record of 8-4.

: The Bears close out the 50's with two consecutive 8-4 finishes that is only good enough for second place. It marks the first time that the Bears do not win a Championship during a decade.

: The Bears become the only show in town as the rival Cardinals move to St. Louis. However, their first year as the only team in Chicago ends in disappointment as they finish in fifth place with a disappointing 5-6-1 record.

: The Bears rebound off a losing season to finish in fourth place with a record of 8-6 as Rookie Tight End Mike Ditka makes an instant impact by collecting 1,076 receiving yards and 12 Touchdowns, while winning the Rookie of the Year.

: For the second straight season the Bears have a rookie that makes an immediate impact as Ron Bull wins the Rookie of the Year as the Bears finish in third place with a solid 9-5 record. 

: The Bears break the Green Bay Packers three year strangle hold on the Western Division with an 11-1-2 record. In the NFL Championship Game at Wrigley Field the Bears battle the New York Giants in front of 45,801 fans on a bone-chilling afternoon. The Bears would win 14-10 as Bill Wade scores both Bears Touchdowns. However, the star of the game is the Bears defense that intercepts Giants Quarterback Y.A. Tittle five times.

: The Bears follow up their NFL Championship with a disappointing 5-9 season.  Following the season George Halas is determined to improve to the team through the draft, and select Running Back Gayle Sayers, and Linebacker Dick Butkus in the first Round to improve both sides of the ball.

: In his first season Gayle Sayers burst right on to the scene winning the NFL Rookie of the Year, while establishing a new NFL record with 22 Touchdowns during the season. The record season, and his entire career would be highlighted by a 6 Touchdown performance against the Snag Francisco 49ers on December 12th at Wrigley Field. With the help of Sayers the Bears would go on to finish in third place with a 9-4-1 record.

: Gayle Sayers continues to dominate setting a then record of 2,440 All Purpose Yards. However, the Bears struggle to win games, and finish with a 5-7-2 season.

: After 47 years in which he coached 40 seasons, George Halas retires for the final time with a then NFL record 324 coaching wins. In his final season at the helm Halas leads the Bears to a 7-6-1 record.

: In Jim Dooley's first season at Head Coach the Bears finish with a mediocre 7-7 record. However, the season takes a devastating turn for the worse when Running Back Sayers suffers a career threatening knee injury in the season's ninth week.

: After Sayers injury back up Running Back Brian Piccolo did not want to get the job because of an injury. Piccolo, who was a popular figure for years in the Chicago area, was roomed with Sayers for a few years on road trips. This feat was unique in the fact it was one of the first black-white parings in NFL history. During the entire off-season Piccolo pushed Sayers to get his knee back into football playing shape. Thanks to the workouts Sayers was back, and Piccolo was back on the bench when the season started. Sayers would go on to rush for 1,000 yards, and would earn NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. Despite Sayers comeback, the Bears would finish with a franchise worse 1-13 record. However the worse news came when Brian Piccolo started expiring breathing problems, a hospital physical would later reveal the worst fears Lung Cancer. On June 16, 1970 just seven months after being diagnosed Brian Piccolo loses his battle with Lung Cancer at the age of 26. The Bears would go on to establish the Piccolo fund which raises money through various events annual for cancer research. In November of 1971 TV Movie entitled "Brian's Song" airs on ABC. The move that stars James Caan as Piccolo and Billy Dee Williams as Gale Sayers details the friendship between the two Bears Running Backs. The tearjerker would go on to become one of the most beloved sports movies of all time.

: The 70's begin with the end of an era for the Chicago Bears. Wrigley Field, the Bears Cave for nearly 50 years is now too small to be used for professional football. The sport, which began in the gutter, was now surpassing baseball as America's Number one Sport, and bigger venues were needed. On December 13th the Bears would win their final game at Wrigley by trouncing the hated Green Bay Packers 35-1, as the Bears finish in 3rd place in the NFC Central with a record of 6-8.

: The Bears new home is another classic in itself Soldier Field. Soldier Field built as a memorial for soldiers in World War I hosted many of Chicago's great sports events including Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney in 1927, and various classic college football games over the years. In their first home game at Soldier Field on the September 19th the Bears would emerge victorious defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-15. However, the Bears would not find much success completing their second consecutive 6-8 season leading to the dismissal of head coach Jim Dooley.

: The Bears continue to struggle as the finish in last place under new Coach Abe Gibron with a terrible record of 4-9-1.

: The Bears finish in last place again with a horrible record of 3-11 as the Bears are limited to just 195 total points on the entire season.

: The Bears finish in last place again with a record of 4-10 as Coach Abe Gibron after three consecutive last place seasons in which the team's combined record was 11-30-1. Gibron's tenure, which was marked by failure, would have only one last reminder that may have typified the Bears play during that era. It was not courtesy a great play or a great moment, but by the NFL Films video "Football Follies". Gibron who was mic’ed up during a game kept singing, "Joy to the World" by 3-Dog Night, and at times seemed disinterested in the game.

: Rebuilding the Bears fell to General Manager Jim Finks who brought in former Jack Pardee to lead the Bears on the sidelines. It marked the first time someone not associated with Bears was hired as head coach. However the most significant move was the drafting of RB Walter Payton in the first round. Despite the changes the Bears would still finish in Last Place with a 4-10, but a winning foundation was forming. 

: The Bears end a string of seven straight losing seasons by posting a record of 7-7 as the Bears finish in second place. Helping to lead the Bears is Running Back Walter Payton who rushes for 1,390 yards while scoring 13 Touchdowns.

: In his third season Running Back Walter Payton has a breakout season rushing for a team record 1,852 yards highlighted by a single game performance of 275 yards on November 20th. The 275 yards would establish a single game record that would stand nearly 23 years. Payton would go on to capture both Offensive Player of the Year and NFL MVP honors. Thanks to Payton the ears would win their final six games to finish with a 9-5 record that was good enough for the NFC's Wild Card spot. However, the Bears would be sorely overmatched in their first playoff game in 14 years, as the eventual Super Bowl Champion Cowboys stomped the Bears 37-7 in Dallas.

: After the completion of the 1977 season Coach Jack Pardee leaves the Bears to take over the coaching reins for the Washington Redskins. To replace Pardee the Bears would hire Minnesota Vikings Defensive coordinator Neil Armstrong. Armstrong's first season at the helm of the Bears would prove to be a disappointment as the team finished with a 7-9 record.

: December 16th goes down as one of the most bittersweet days in Bears history, as the Bears earn a playoff spot on the final day of the season with a 42-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. However, the news was tempered when team president George "Mugs" Halas Jr. dies of a massive heart attack at the age of 54. Mugs the son of the legendary Bears founder had served in the front office since 1953. The Bears would go on to face the Eagles in the Wild Card Game at Philadelphia a week later. The Bears would hold a 17-10 lead in the 3rd Quarter only to see the Eagles soar past them and on to the next round with a 27-17 victory.

: The Bears finish with a disappointing 7-9 record, but the season is full of highlights. On October 6th Walter Payton breaks the Bears all-time franchise rushing total by eclipsing Gayle Sayers’ 9,462 career total. The second highlight comes on Thanksgiving in Detroit when David Williams takes the overtime kickoff 95 yards for a Touchdown setting an NFL record for the fastest end to an Overtime. The final highlight comes on December 7th when the Bears rip the Green Bay Packers 61-7.

: Bears Head Coach Neil Armstrong is fired after a Last Place 6-10 season. The Bears would hire legendary Bears Tight End Mike Ditka.

: Mike Ditka's first season as Head Coach of the Bears is interrupted as a players strike shortens the season to nine games, and changes the NFL playoff format to allow eight teams in. However, the Bears would not make the postseason finishing with a 3-6 record.

: In the midst of an 8-8 season, that lands Bears in third place, George Halas the man who founded the Bears, and helped form and save the NFL in the 1920's dies of heart attack at the age of 88 on October 31st. Halas who was better known as "Papa Bear" lived a very rich life prior to starting his pro football career Halas had played baseball for the New York Yankees, only to be replaced by Babe Ruth in 1920. Halas was then hired by A.E. Staley to build the football team, and represent the team in the meeting that formed the NFL. One year later Halas was given the team, and moved them to Chicago. Halas would then turn the Bears into one of the premier sports franchise in the world after his signing of Red Grange in 1925. Halas would coach the Bears on and off until 1967 along the way setting the all time victories record at 324, a record that would stand into 1993.

: On October 7th Walter Payton ran past Jim Brown's all time NFL rushing record to become the NFL's all-time leading ground gainer. The Bears would go on to finish with a 10-6 record to win their first division title in 21 years. However, a struggle down the stretch would cost them a home playoff game. In the Divisional Playoffs the Bars would end the Redskins quest for a third straight Super Bowl with a 23-19 win in Washington. The Bears would go on to advance to the NFC Championship in San Francisco where the 49ers would shut the Bears down 23-0 on their way to a Super Bowl Championship.

: The term "Monsters of the Midway" never meant more in 1985. As a line in their famous music video says "we're not there to cause no trouble we're just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle." The Bears were not only dominant but they were cocky, and unbeatable. The Bears would march through their first 12 opponents with no problem rushing out to a 12-0 record. Along the way the Bears became a national obsession thanks in part to a music video entitled "The Super Bowl Shuffle" which they recorded before the season was even over. Several Bears drew hefty endorsement contracts including the Bears hefty rookie William "The Refrigerator" Perry. By December the question was no longer will the Bears win the Super Bowl, but can they go undefeated in the process? That answer would come on December 2nd when the Miami Dolphins, who were defending their legacy as the only undefeated team to win a Super Bowl, trounced the Bears 38-24. However the setback would only be a minor one as the Bears went on to finish with a 15-1 season. After their incredible 15-1 season the Bears would host their first home playoff game in 22 years in the Divisional Round against the New York Giants. The game would end up being no contest as the Bears completely shut down the Giants on a bitterly cold and windy afternoon 21-0. The Bears would then go on to face the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game. This game too would be no contest as the Bears shut out the Rams 24-0 in front of a sold out Soldier Field to earn a trip to their first ever Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XX
: After shutting out their first two opponents 45-0 the Bears were enormous Super Bowl favorites. In fact the only danger the Bears were in was could they stay out of trouble. Quarterback Jim McMahon would get in to some hot water with comments about New Orleans women, while the NFL was cracking down on his trademark message headbands. In a moment of levity McMahon would brush off the controversy by mooning a group of reporters. The Super Bowl was complete circus atmosphere, and the nation craved more as record number of viewers tuned into watch. The Bears would get off to a shaky start falling behind the New England Patriots 3-0. The Bears were in danger of falling further behind when Walter Payton fumbled in Bears territory, but the Pats were unable to capitalize missing a short Field Goal. The Bears would then not look back scoring the next 46 points in a relentless beating of the AFC Champions. Topping things off the Bears allowed William "The Refrigerator" Perry to score a Touchdown to continue the humiliation of the Patriots. The Bears would go on to win 46-10 setting records for points, and winning margin while Defensive End Richard Dent was named the game's MVP.

: The Bears defense is even stronger coming off the Super Bowl establishing a new NFL record low for 187 points allowed as the Bears finish with another NFC Central title and an impressive 14-2 record. However, an injury to Quarterback Jim McMahon hurt the offense, what is worse is that injury came via a cheap shot form a Green Bay Packers defender Charles Martin, who threw him down after he raised his arms for a Touchdown. If the Bears were going to repeat they were going to have to do it with Doug Flutie at Quarterback. However, Flutie's inexperience wore on Coach Mike Ditka's patience leading him to even slap the Quarterback across the facemask over an interception. Nonetheless the Bears entered the playoffs anticipating a NFC Championship showdown with New York Giants. However, the Bears would not get past the Washington Redskins who stunned 27-13 in front of a sold out Soldier Field.

: In a season marred by a month long player's strike that included the use of replacement players for three games the Bears continue to dominate the "Black and Blue Division" winning their fourth straight NFC Central title. However, the year would be best remembered for an end of an era as the player they called "Sweetness" retired after his 13 season. In his great career Walter Payton rushed for an all-time career record 16,726 yards. The Bears would earn a Divisional Playoff rematch with Redskins at Soldier Field. The Bears would jump out to a 14-0 lead only to see the Redskins storm back and take a 21-17 lead late the game. With time winding down on the Bears season, and Payton's career the Bears need to get into the end zone. On a 4th down play the ball wound up in the hands of Payton who tried to extend he Bears season and his career. However, Sweetness was shoved out of bounds a few years short of the first down marker allowing the Redskins to get the ball and kneel down the rest of the game. Walter Payton would head to sidelines and would watch the rest of the game through his tears.

: With Walter Payton retired the Bears do not miss a beat winning their fifth straight division title with a 12-4 record, also earning home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the process. In a reimbursable Divisional Playoffs game on New Year's Eve the Bears would face the Philadelphia Eagles, and former defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan in a game would forever become known as the "Fog Bowl." Late in the 2nd Quarter a fog began to roll in off Lake Michigan by the start of the 3rd Quarter Soldier Field was immersed in thick fog that made viewing the game virtually impossible. The Bears would emerge from the fog with a 20-12. The Bears would go on to lose in the NFC Championship game at Soldier Field 28-3 to the eventual Super Bowl Champion 49ers.

: The Bears would deal away Quarterback Jim McMahon to the San Diego Chargers in a stunning draft day trade. The deal came as McMahon fell out of favor with Mike Ditka, and the Bears management over his wild ways. The deal cleared the way for Mike Tomzack to take over the starting job, a job he was used to over the last few season as McMahon regularly missed games due to injury. However, Tomzack and the Bears would experience frustration as a losing streak saw the Bears fall out of 1st place and into a disappointing 6-10 season.

: Coach Mike Ditka would earn legendary status when he comes back to coach just ten days after a midseason heart attack. The Bears would also recover in 1990 bouncing back from a 6-10 season to finish in 1st Place with an 11-5 record. However, the Bears as the third seed would be forced to play in a wild card game to get to the Divisional Playoffs. In the Wild Card Round the Bears would completely suit down the New Orleans Saints 16-6 to advance to a Divisional Playoff showdown at the Meadowlands against the Giants. The Bears would end up getting trounced 31-3 to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Giants 31-3. 

: The Bears finish with a strong 11-5 record, as Mike Ditka earns his 100th career coaching win. However, the Bears are unable to win the division and make the playoffs as a Wild Card. In the Wild Card Round the Bears, would be upset by the Dallas Cowboys, 17-13, at Soldier Field.

: The season would mark the end of an era in Chicago as Mike Singletary the two Defensive Player of the Year and leader of the Bears defense retires, and Coach Mike Ditka is fired after a disappointing 5-11 season.

: The Bears complete a 7-9 season in Dave Wannstedt's first season as Head Coach. The season also sees the Bears play their 1,000th franchise game a 6-0 win against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on October 3rd.

: The Bears put together a 9-7 season earning a trip to the playoffs as Wild Card. In the Wild Card round the Bears would stun the NFC Champion Vikings with a 35-18 win in Minnesota. The Bears would go on to lose to the eventual Super Bowl Champion 49ers 44-15 in San Francisco.

: The Bears put together another 9-7 season but miss out on the playoffs as the Atlanta Falcons get in thanks to a tiebreaker.

: The Bears continue to muddle in the middle of the back as they take a step backward finishing in third place with a disappointing record of 7-9.

: The Bears stumble out of the gate losing their first seven games on their way to a disappointing 4-12 season. The only notable accomplishment is that the Bears collect their 600th franchise win on November 23rd with a 13-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

: The Bears complete another terrible 4-12 season, which leads to the dismissal of Coach Dave Wannstedt. The resulting fiasco which involved a press conference where no coach was introduced, and the hiring of Dick Jauron leads to the ouster of President Michael McCaskey, and the grandson of George Halas. McCaskey's firing was at the hands of his mother Virginia, who felt that the team was going in the wrong direction.

: The Bears continue to struggle under new head coach Dick Jauron completing a 6-10 season. The season is also marked by sadness as the Bears family loses Walter Payton who dies at the age of 45 on November 1st. The Bears would go on to rename their indoor practice facility in his honor.

: Another awful 5-11season is highlighted by the play of Rookie Linebacker Brian Urlacher the Bears first round of pick out of New Mexico. Urlacher draws comparisons to Dick Butkus as he earns NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

: Not much was expected form the Bears going into their final year at Soldier Field before renovation. However, the Bears were a young exciting team built on a strong defense. After losing their first game the Bears won their next four games and were in first place in the NFC Central. The next two games would become the stuff of legends a furious 4th quarter comeback against the San Francisco 49ers was capped by a Mike Brown interception return for a Touchdown in Overtime. A week later against the Cleveland Browns the Bears trailed by 14 points under two minutes to play a Touchdown and a recovered onside kick set up an incredible game tying Hail Mary which sent the game to Overtime, where Brown repeated his feat of a week earlier to get the Bears to 6-1. The Bears would only lose two more games the rest of the way, good enough to win their first division title in 12 years with a 13-3 record, as exciting Running Back Anthony Thomas earned Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, and Dick Jauron earned coach of the year. However, the magic ride would end quickly in the playoffs, as the Bears lost 33-19 to the more experienced Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round.

: With Soldier Field undergoing a major renovation the Bears were forced to play their home games at the University of Illinois in Champaign, which was over 136 miles away from Chicago. The Bears would get off to a solid start by rallying in the 4th Quarter to win their first two games. However, the Bears would suffer a rash of injuries to every position as the wear and tear of having to travel for each game caught up with them quickly as the Bears endured a frustrating eight game losing streak. The Bears would not recover, as they finished in third place in the NFC North with a terrible record of 4-12.

: The Bears season got off to a rough start as they were humiliated in their two first games on the road. Following an early bye week the Bears returned home to Chicago and a brand new version of Soldier Field which had been completely refurbished. In their first game at Soldier Field II the Bears would host the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. However with it would come more disappointment as they are beaten 38-23. A week later the Bears would get their first win at new Soldier Field as they rallied with 18 points in the 4th Quarter to stun the Oakland Raiders 24-21. However the struggles would continue as the Bears lost their next 2 games as starting QB Kordell Stewart is benched. With Chris Chandler under center the Bears fare slightly better winning 2 straight home games against the Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers to improve to 3-5. After 2 straight losses Stewart would return to the field leading the Bears to a comeback win over the Denver Broncos in Week 12, and would look sharp starting the following week in a win over the lowly Arizona Cardinals. However with an eye to the future the Bears would start rookie Rex Grossman in the final 3 games. Grossman would look sharp leading the Bears to two wins, as the Bears finished with a 7-9 record by winning four of their last six games overall. However, it would not be enough to save Coach Dick Jauron's job as he replaced by Lovie Smith following the season.

: Under new Coach Lovie Smith the season would get off to a disappointing start as the Bears lost at home to the Detroit Lions 20-16. However, a week later they would rebound with a satisfying 21-10 win over the Green Bay Packers on the road. In Week 3 the Bears would battle the Minnesota Vikings close all day on the road, but the game would be lost 26-22 as Quarterback Rex Grossman suffered a season ending knee injury. The rest of the way the Bears would have to scramble as they could not find a starting Quarterback trying out Craig Krenzle, Jonathan Quinn, and Chad Hutchinson along the way as they stumbled their way to  a last place 5-11 season.

: The Bears began the season with many unanswered questions on offense as Quarterback Rex Grossman started the season on the bench with another injury forcing the Bears to start rookie Kyle Orton. In Week 1 the offense would manage just seven points spoiling a great day from the defense as they were beaten by the Washington Redskins 9-7. A week later in their home opener they relied on their running game as Thomas Jones rushed for 139 yards and two Touchdowns, while the defense played big again with a Mike Brown interception return as the Bears slammed the Detroit Lions 38-6. The Bears offense would sputter the next two weeks as the Bears dropped to 1-3. However, despite their lackluster offense the defense led by Linebacker Brian Urlacher would begin to resemble the old monsters of the midway as the Bears started winning games on the backs of their defense, which did not allow more than 17 points for the next eight weeks putting up numbers like their great Super Bowl XX Championship Team which was honored all season. After the Bears winning streak ended with a 21-9 loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, Kyle Orton was benched in favor or Rex Grossman who led the way in the Bears next two wins as they went on to capture their 20th Division Championship in team history at 11-5, with Brian Urlacher being named Defensive Player of the Year and Lovie Smith being named NFL Coach of the Year. After a bye in the first week of the playoffs the Bears faced the Carolina Panthers with a trip to the NFC Championship Game on the line. During the regular season the Bears completely shut down the Panthers in a 13-3 win. However, the Panthers would show early that it would not be as easy this time as Steve Smith scored on a 55-yard Touchdown catch just 55 seconds into the game. The Panthers would eventually take a 13-0 lead before the Bears finally broke through late in the 2nd Quarter. However, the usual Bears tough defense looked vulnerable all day as the Panthers made it 16-7 with a 37-yard Field Goal as the first half ended. The Bears would get within two points on a one yard Touchdown catch by Desmond Clark, but the Panthers would answer again. The same pattern would repeat in the 4th Quarter as the Bears could not get over the hump, losing 29-21.

: With Rex Grossman healthy and ready to go the Bears appeared to have their situation at Quarterback settled as they began the season on a roll winning their first game 26-0 over the Green Bay Packers on the road. The Bears would dominate again the following week as they hammered the Detroit Lions 34-7 in their home opener. After a comeback win over the Minnesota Vikings the Bears made a primetime statement hammering the Seattle Seahawks 37-6 on Sunday Night Football. After a dominant 40-7 win over the Buffalo Bills improved them to 5-0, the Bears appeared to be heading to their first loss as they trailed the Arizona Cardinals 23-3 in the 3rd Quarter of a Monday Night Game on the road, as Grossman struggled badly with four interceptions. However, late in the 3rd Quarter the game would turn when Mike Brown recovered a Matt Leinart fumble for a Touchdown. In the 4th Quarter the Bears defense would strike again, as Charles Tillman returned an Edgerrin James 40 yards with five minutes left to make the score 23-17. After the Bears defense stopped the Cardinals cold, the Bears special teams gave them a lead as Rookie return man Devin Hester returned a punt 83-yards for a Touchdown as the Bears improved to 6-0 with a 24-23 win. It would be much easier the following week as the Bears jumped out to a 41-0 halftime lead, and cruised to a 41-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers. The Bears best start since 1985 would come to an end as the Miami Dolphins who came into Chicago with a 1-6 record stunned the Bears intercepting Rex Grossman three times, returning one for a Touchdown in a 31-13 win. The Bears would recover winning the next two games in the Meadowlands against New York Giants and New York Jets. However, despite their 9-1 record concerns over Quarterback began to swirl as Rex Grossman continued to struggle in the Bears 10-0 win over the Jets. A week later in New England the Bears defense was unable to save them from a loss as Grossman was picked off three times in a frustrating 17-13 loss to the Patriots. Grossman' struggles continued the following week as the Bears returned home to face the Vikings as he was picked off three times, and had a mere 34 yards passing. However with a Devin Hester Punt Return, and a Ricky Manning Jr. Interception return the Bears would win 23-13. Hester would star again the following week as he returned two kickoff over 90-yards for a Touchdown, setting a rookie record with TD returns, as the Bears went on to finish the season with a 13-3 record. Despite having the best record in the NFC fans were concerned over the play of Rex Grossman, who ended the season with a mediocre Quarterback rating of 73.2. In the playoffs the Bears faced off against the Seahawks for the second time, only this time it was not as easy, as the defending NFC Champions gave the Bears all they could handle and more taking a 24-21 lead to the 4th Quarter. With their season on the line the Bears needed a clutch 41-yard Field Goal by Robbie Gould to force overtime. In Overtime the Bears defense held the Seahawks, as Gould played hero again with a game winning 49-yard Field Goal to send the Bears to their first NFC Championship Game since 1988. Facing destiny's darlings the New Orleans Saints the Bears took an early lead on a three Robbie Gould Field Goals. After extending the lead to 16-0 late in the second quarter, the Bears defense was stunned as the Saints marched quickly up the field to cut the lead to 16-7 at halftime. The Saints would cut the lead further on an 88-yard catch and run to Running Back Reggie Bush. However, the Bears defense would take over the rest of the way, forcing a penalty in the end zone that resulted in a safety and gave control of the game back to the Bears. As the snow got heavier in the 4th Quarter the Bears pulled away scoring 21 points to advance to Super Bowl XLI with a 39-14 win.

Super Bowl XLI
: During Super Bowl week Lovie Smith and his mentor Tony Dungy Coach of the Indianapolis Colts were the talk of Super Bowl week in Miami as each were the first black head coach in Super Bowl history. When the game began it started with a bang for the Bears as Devin Hester returned the opening kick 92 yards for a Touchdown. The Colts would cut the lead to 7-6 on a 53-yard pass by Peyton Manning that saw the PAT botched in the rain. The rain would play further havoc moments later as Gabe Reid fumbled a squib kick. However, the Bears would quickly recover forcing Manning to fumble on the first play from scrimmage. The Bears then used a big run by Thomas Jones to set up a second Touchdown as they ended the first quarter with a 14-6 lead. It would be all downhill the rest of the way for the Bears as the Colts took control of the game with ten unanswered points in the 2nd Quarter. With the rain continuing to fall the Bears offense looked water logged as the Colts extended the lead to 22-14. The Bears would final get back on the board with a 44-yard Field Goal by Robbie Gould at the end of the 3rd Quarter. However, a 56-yard interception return by Kelvin Hayden sealed the Bears fate as the Colts won Super Bowl XLI 29-17.

: Coming off their loss in Super Bowl XLI, the Bears hoped they could improve their offense and continue to step forward, as Cedric Benson was given the starting running back job, after the departure of Thomas Jones to the New York Jets. However, in the opener the offense continued to struggle as the Bears were beaten by the San Diego Chargers 14-3. In their home opener the Bears offense led by Quarterback Rex Grossman, who was booed by the Soldier Field faithful continued to struggle. However, thanks to a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown by Devin Hester the Bears were able to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 20-10. After Grossman played poorly in a 34-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, he would be benched in favor of Brian Griese. However, Griese did not play any better as he was picked off three times in his first start as the Bears were beaten by the Detroit Lions 37-27. Griese would rebound to win the following game as the Bears defense smothered the Green Bay Packers, forcing five turnovers in a 27-20 primetime win in Lambeau Field. However, a week later the defense would struggle as Minnesota Vikings rookie Running Back Adrian Peterson rushed for 224 yards with three touchdowns as the Vikings beat the Bears 34-31. In danger of slipping to 2-5, the Bears lead by Brian Griese drove the field 97 yards to stun the Philadelphia Eagles 19-16, on a pass to Mushin Muhammad with nine seconds left. A week later in Soldier Field it would be a different story as Griese was picked off four times as the Bears were stunned by the Lions again 16-7. Griese continued to struggle the following week against the Oakland Raiders before leaving with a shoulder injury. Coming off the bench would be Rex Grossman who gave the Bears the lead on a 59-yard bomb to Bernard Berrian as the Bears scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes for a 17-6 win. Grossman would get the starting job back, as the Bears continued to struggle losing to the Seattle Seahawks 30-23. The offense continued to struggle and the defense continued to live up to expectations as the Bears hosted the Denver Broncos. However, thanks to Devin Hester the Bears were able to win in overtime 37-34, as the Bears return specialist scored a kickoff return, and a punt return touchdown, while totaling a record 232 return yards. Entering December at 5-6, the Bears still had an outside chance at the playoffs, but from scrimmage the Bears continued to struggle on both sides of the ball as they dropped three straight games and faded out of the playoff picture. With Kyle Orton getting the starting Quarterback job in the final games of the year the Bears would close the season with two straight wins, as they posted a disappointing 7-9 record.

: Coming of a 7-9 season the Bears hoped they could return to the Super Bowl, as they faced the Indianapolis Colts for the first time since losing the big game 19 months earlier. With a solid defensive effort the Bears shutdown the Colts and spoiled the opener at Lucas Oil Field with a 29-13 Sunday Night win. However, the Bears suffered disappointing three point losses in their next two games, including a 27-27 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home opener in which they held a 24-14 lead in the 4th Quarter. In consistency would mark the season for the Bears as they held a 6-6 record heading into the final month of the season. The Bears would make a late push for the playoffs with three straight wins, winning two straight in overtime, as they entered the final week of the season with the playoffs still in reach. However, a disappointing 31-24 loss to the Houston Texans ended the Bears season at 9-7. Following the season in an attempt to solve the Bears Quarterback issues, the team would trade Kyle Orton along with two first round draft picks to the Denver Broncos for Pro Bowl Quarterback Jay Cutler.


George Halas 1920-1929
Ralph Jones 1930-1932
George Halas 1933-1942

Hunk Anderson/Luke Johnsos 1942-1945

George Halas 1946-1955
Paddy Driscoll 1956-1957
George Halas 1958-1967
Jim Dooley 1968-1971
Abe Gibron 1972-1974
Jack Pardee 1975-1977
Neill Armstrong 1978-1981
Mike Ditka 1982-1992
Dave Wannstedt 1993-1998
Dick Jauron 1999-2003
Lovie Smith 2004-Present

 Hall of Famers
Doug Atkins WR 1955-1966
Dick Butkus LB 1965-1973
George Blanda QB/PK 1949-1958
Guy Chambers E 1920-1921
George Connor T 1948-1955
Jimmy Conzelman RB 1920
Mike Ditka TE 1961-1966
Paddy Driscoll RB 1920, 1926-1929
Jim Finks GM 1974-1983
Danny Fortmann G 1936-1943
Bill George G/LB 1952-1965
Red Grange RB 1925, 1929-1934
George Halas  Coach 1920-29, 33-42, 46-55, 58-67; Owner 1920-83  Dan Hampton DE 1979-1990
Ed Healey T 1922-1927
Bill Hewitt E 1932-1936
Stan Jones T 1954-1965
Walt Kiesling G 1934
Bobby Layne QB 1948

Sid Luckman QB 1939-1950
Link Lyman T 1926-28, 30-31,33-34
George McAfee RB 1940-41, 45-50
George Musso G 1933-1944
Bronko Nagurski  FB 1930-37, 43
Allan Page DT 1978-1981

Walter Payton  RB 1975-1987
Gale Sayers RB 1965-1971
Mike Singletary LB 1981-1992
George Trafton C 1920-1932
Bulldog Turner  C 1940-1952

 Retired Numbers
  3 Bronko Nagurski FB 1930-37, 43
  5 George McAfee RB 40-41, 45-50
  7 George Halas End 1920-1929
28 Willie Galimore RB 1957-1963
34 Walter Payton RB 1975-1987
40 Gale Sayers RB 1965-1971
41 Brian Piccolo RB 1966-1969
42 Sid Luckman QB 1939-1950
51 Dick Butkus LB 1965-1973
56 Bill Hewitt End 1932-1936
61 Bill George G/LB 1952-1965
66 Bulldog Turner C 1940-1952
77 Red Grange RB 1925, 29-34

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