The Chicago Bears (nee The Decatur Staleys) of 1920 Football Drive, Lake Forest, IL were pronounced dead on November 24, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri after suffering another miserable performance and allowing 42 points to a Rams team that was averaging 22.4 points per game while giving up 258 rushing yards on just 29 attempts. They were surrounded by family and friends, many of whom had traveled to see them, but after this latest effort, it is safe to pronounce them dead.
They suffered a rapid decline; a decline that they did not expect to come on so quickly. A combination of injuries and old age could be attributed to their untimely demise. Led by former Head Coach Lovie Smith and future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, the Bears, the defense enjoyed a good run over a 10 year period, where they ranked outside the top half of scoring defenses only once. For a two-year span in 2005 and 2006 they ranked 1st and 3rd in scoring defense, allowing 12.6 and 15.9 PPG respectively and propelling the Bears to the playoffs in consecutive seasons including a Super Bowl appearance.
The Bears defense led the league in takeaways over the span of their run, as the signature of the unit. A bend-but-don’t break philosophy was based on preventing big plays and allowing teams to make small gains with the idea that the opponent would make a mistake before they could score served the team well when they had the personnel to run the scheme. As players aged and others departed, the coffers proved to be bare without suitable replacements. Years of bad drafting and questionable personnel decisions led to a lack of depth.