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.
We’re finally in the Top 10! These are the most dominant and elite figures in the storied Chicago Bears history. #1o on our list is Hall of Fame defensive lineman Dan Hampton. Hampton was selected with the #4 pick in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft out of Arkansas. Hampton was named to the All-Rookie team in 1979, but that was just the first accolade in his decorated career.
During his tenure with the Bears from 1979 – 1990, the Bears allowed the fewest rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, the fewest total yards, the fewest points and recorded the most sacks. “Danimal” was a huge part of that, moving between defensive tackle and defensive end. His versatility was a boon for the Bears, but probably cost Hampton some recognition. He often had Pro Bowl votes split between defensive end and tackle. Nevertheless, Hampton was named to four Pro Bowls and was an alternate twice. He was named to a four time first team All Pro and a second team All Pro twice. He was the PFW Defensive Player of the Year in 1982 and the Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1984.
Hampton is credited with 57 official sacks (the NFL only started charting the stat in 1982) while unofficial records indicate he had 82 sacks over his 12 year career. He had 9 sacks in the strike shortened 9-game 1982 season and a career high 11.5 sacks in 1984 from the right defensive tackle position. Hampton drew constant double teams which freed his teammates to make plays. He was known as the lynch pin of the legendary 46 -defense that wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks. The Bears set a record by sacking Detroit Lions quarterbacks 12 times in a single game under Hampton’s leadership.
Hampton was no stranger to injuries, undergoing 12 surgeries on his knees and missing 23 games over his career due to injury. Hampton wrapped up his storied career in 1990 and has done work in the media ever since. He is a co-host on Pro Football Weekly’s syndicated show and currently hosts the Bears postgame show on WGN Radio and appears on NBC 5′s Sport Sunday. Hampton was a 2002 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
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.