The Chicago Bears are one of the league’s premier franchise, and have been around for over 100 years. The team started in Decatur, Illinois, but spent just one season there before moving to Chicago. George Halas, George Halas Jr., and Michael McCaskey were the three owners of the franchise from the time it started, all the way until 1999. Ted Phillips was the guy until 2022, and now former Big Ten President Kevin Warren is the team president. The Bears are a member of the NFC North, and have had long-standing rivalries with the Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. Let’s take a look at some of the important notes on the Chicago Bears.
Soldier Field is the Home of the Bears
The Bears have been playing their football games at Soldier Field since 1971. Before their time there they play at Wrigley Field, the same location as the Chicago Bears. The multi-purpose stadium located on the north side of Chicago holds over 61,000 fans for a football game. The stadium is the oldest in both the National Football League, and also Major League Soccer.
The first game at Soldier Field was in 1924 when Louisville Male High School and Austin Community Academy High School played a football game there. Louisville won the game 26-0. The Army-Navy game was held there in 1926, and the game ended in a tie. The Bears have seen played of playoff games there, including the NFC title games in 1985, 1988, 2006, and 2010.
Ice Hockey, High School Football games, College Football, Men and Women’s World Cup Soccer, Rugby, Olympics, concerts, and much more have filled Soldier Field over the years. Soldier Field has become one of the city of Chicago’s must-stop locations when visiting the city.
Why the Bears And Who Are They?
It does not appear there is a great story about why the Chicago Bears are known as the Bears. But, they started as the Staley’s but changed in 2922. Many feel the change came when they moved to Wrigley Field to play in the same location as the Cubs. A “Cub” is a young Bear, so he thought it made sense to go with the name.
George Halas chose the Orange and Blue due to its similarity with the University of Illinois. While the Monsters of the Midway have had some variations to their design and uniform, they have stayed pretty consistent with the Orange and Blue.
Historical Records for the Chicago Bears
Being one of the oldest franchises in all of the National Football League comes with plenty of chances to get into the record book. The Bears head into the 2023 season with 786 career wins. That’s in over 1400 career games. The Bears have won 17 playoff games in their career.
George Halas is known as one of the winningest coaches of all time. Halas finished his coaching career with 318 wins and 148 losses. Another guy that will go into the record books is the running back Walter Payton. Payton rushed the football nearly 3,900 times and finished with more than 16,000 yards and 110 touchdowns.
Charles Tillman is known for forcing four fumbles, a record, as he did it in 2012. Dick Butkus recovered 25 dumbles during a season, and Nathan Vasher returned a missed field goal 108 yards in 2005. Devin Hester then matched it a season later. Steve McMichael played in 191 straight games.
The Chicago Bears are known for their record-setting 73 points in the 1940 NFL Championship, a win over the Washington Redskins.
Super Bowl Titles for the Bears
The Chicago Bears have a long history of success, dating back to their days in the Western Division of the National Football League prior to the merger of the AFL and NFL. Once the merger took place, the Bears started in the NFC Central, and were moved to the NFC North in 2022.
The Bears have 9 NFL Championships, with 8 of them coming before the merger. Chicago won the championship in 1921, 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946 and 1963. The lone Super Bowl title since the merger for the Bears came in 1985. That was the famous Super Bowl XX.
The Bears had one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history. Chicago scored 23 first-half points, 21 third-quarter points, and smacked the Patriots 46-10. The Bears led the game after three quarters by a score of 44-3. Richard Dent, the defensive end for the team, won the Super Bowl MVP in front of over 73,000 fans in New Orleans, at the Super Dome. Dent finished the game with 1.5 sacks, two force fumbles, and blocked a pass. The team was on NBC and saw nearly 93M viewers. This was the prime of the time for “Da Bears” and “Monsters of the Midway.”
The Bears have made the playoffs 28 times, and had a run in the 1980s, where they reached the postseason 5 straight seasons. Recently, things have been a little lean, as Chicago has not made the postseason since 2020, and has only made it three times since the 2010 season.
The Bears have two NFL Western League Championships, and the only other time they reached the Super Bowl was when they won the NFC North in 2006 and eventually lost to the Colts in the final game. Chicago has 4 NFC North titles to their credit, after winning the NFC Central 7 times.
Famous Quarterbacks for the Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears, heading into the 2023 season, have seen a total of 84 quarterbacks start at least one game for the franchise. The current quarterback Justin Fields looks to be primed for a great career, but will it be the best in the franchise’s history? Here are some other greats when it comes to signal callers for the Bears:
The very first quarterback in Chicago Bears history was Pard Pearce. He made just 11 starts with the organization. Jay Cutler is the leader in passing touchdowns for the Bears, but second in interceptions. Second, on the list for touchdowns is Sid Luckman, with 137, but he has the most interceptions, with 132.
Jim Harbaugh, Mitchell Trubisky, Erik Kramer, and Jim McMahon round out the Top list of touchdown passes in Bears history. Mcmahon threw for over 11,000 yards, 67 touchdowns, and 56 interceptions, while Harbaugh threw more interceptions (56) than touchdowns. Trubisky’s time was pretty short in Chicago, but ended with 64 touchdown passes for fourth all-time in team history.
When it comes to postseason success, Jim McMahon was the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl for the Bears. He finished his Bears career at 3-2 in starts in the postseason. Sid Luckman, from 1940-1946 was probably the most successful, with 5 wins in 6 starts in the postseason. The Bears have not won a playoff game since the 2010 season, and that was Jay Cutler’s only two postseason starts. Those came after Rex Grossman went 2-2 in his career.
Chicago Bears Hall of Famers
The Chicago Bears have the most players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Bears have 30 players that were prime members of the franchise and another 7 that spent portions of their careers with the Bears. George Halas, Bronko Nagurski, and Red Grange were the first three members inducted into the Hall of Fame for the BEars. These three all were inducted in 1963. Halas spent 40 seasons as the founder, club owner, and even coach. Ngaruski played several positions for parts of 8 seasons, and Red Grange was one of the best running backs in the game.
One of the best coaches in all of the National Football League, Mike Ditka, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. His came in 1988, but came as a tight end with the team. Ditka’s #89 is very popular around the city.
Other popular Hall of Famers for the Bears include the Kansas Comet, Gayle Sayers in 1977, Dick Butkus from nearby University of Illinois, quarterback George Blanda, and of course, running back Walter Payton. Payton was one of the best running backs in all of the league from 1975-1987.
More recent names inducted into the Hall of Fame include Dan Hampton, Richard Dent, Brian Urlahcer, Jim Covert, and Ed Sprinkle. The last two were inducted in 2020, while Urlacher went in in 2018.
Final Chicago Bears Tidbits
The Chicago Bears have a mascot by the name of Staley. He is Staley Da Bear, and is around at all home games with a customized team jersey on. Dick Plasman was the last player in NFL history to play without a helmet. His final game with the Bears came in 1940, and no one since has done so. The first player the Chicago Bears ever drafted was Joe Stydahar, a tackle, back in 1936. Finally, Beattie Feathers of the Bears, became the first back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. In 1934, he finished with 1,004.