The dog days of the offseason are finally behind us now that training camp is underway, just in time for our countdown of the Top 100 Chicago Bears of all time to really heat up. As we get closer to the season opener, we get closer to naming the #1 Chicago Bear of all time.
If you only know Bill George as some black and white photos, you owe it to yourself to learn a little more about the legendary Bears linebacker, whose #61 was retired.
The Bears drafted George out of Wake Forest in the second round of the 1951 draft. George is thought of as the first ever middle linebacker and in a way, the inventor of the 4-3 defense. He was tired of getting burned when rushing the center, so he started to drop back into coverage, where he could disrupt passes or intercept them. He tallied 18 career interceptions in an era where there wasn’t that much passing.
In addition, he had 19 career fumble recoveries and scored 25 points on PAT’s and field goals in 1954. George was an 8-time All Pro from 1955-1962 and 1963, when he led the Bears to the NFL Championship. George was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.
In short, he was Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher before their times. If you have a Mount Rushmore of Bears linebackers, he’s first on the list.
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.