We’re heading into the dog days of the offseason, counting the days until the Chicago Bears 2014 season kicks off. Thanks to Bear Goggles On contributor and the fine editor of Blackhawk Up Keith Schultz’s suggestion, we’re going to do a Top 100 list of the all time Chicago Bears. It’s a fun way to pass the time and take a stroll down memory lane.
Our Top 100 countdown brings us to an old-time Chicago Bear, George Musso. Musso was signed out of Milikin University in 1933 and played 12 season for the Chicago Bears, anchoring their offensive line and helping to lead the Bears to four championships in 1933, 1940, 1941 and 1943.
Coming from a smaller school, Papa Bear Halas was a little skeptical about Musso’s ability to play against tougher competition, so he offered him only $90 a game, about half the going rate. Musso struggled early, but gained confidence and soon became the centerpiece of the Bears offensive line.
The Bears earned the nickname “Monsters of the Midway” because of their dominance in the trenches and Musso was the biggest part of that. Musso was a mammoth of a man, playing at 6’2″ and 270 pounds. Today, that would be a very undersized offensive lineman, but in the 30′s and 40′s, that was huge. Musso’s teammates called him “Moose” and “Big Bear.” Musso not only anchored the Bears offensive line as a tackle and then as a guard, but he also played defensive line, where he proved particularly difficult to block.
Musso was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982, over 37 years after his last game in 1944. Musso had a unique distinction of playing against both Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, the only Hall of Famer to play against two future US Presidents. Musso retired in Edwardsville, IL and started a restaurant business. He also served the community and sheriff and treasurer in the 1950′s – 1970′s. Musso passed away in 2000 at the age of 90.
What do you think of the ranking? Too high? Too low? I guess you’ll have to check back to see who finished ahead of him to judge for yourself. We’ll be counting down a different person each day as we inch our way to the September 7th season opener.