Here are 10 notable events in Chicago Bears history.
From legendary players to winning championships, 100 hundred years of Chicago Bears football means looking back at the moments that made our Monsters of the Midway who they are today.
Let’s examine 10 of these notable moments.
“Papa Bear” takes the reigns
In 1921, A.E. Staley, founder of the Chicago Bears (formerly the Decatur Staleys), hands the franchise over to George Halas, along with $5,000 to keep Decatur Staleys as the team name for the year.
The franchise gets a new name
The list would not be complete, or accurate, if the franchise’s name change went unmentioned. The Staleys became the Chicago Bears in January 1922.
Two stars join the squad
The Bears drafted running back Gale Sayers and linebacker Dick Butkus in the first round in 1965.
Sayers was best known for his elusiveness and speed (he once ran the 100-yard dash in under 10 seconds), while Butkus has been regarded as one of the most intimidating linebackers in NFL history.
A change of scenery
The Monsters’ last game played at Wrigley Field was a victory over that team in the green and yellow in 1970. The franchise moved to Soldier Field the following year.
Another first-round playmaker becomes a Monster
Running back Walter “Sweetness” Payton was drafted in the first round in 1975. In his time with Chicago, he racked up 16,726 yards on 110 rushing touchdowns, held the single-game rushing record of 275 yards, had 77 games with more than 100 yards rushing and played in nine Pro Bowls.
The Bears later retired Payton’s jersey number. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
A familiar face and a trophy come to Chitown
In 1982, Mike Ditka returned to Chicago to coach his former team. Under his leadership, and equipped with players like William “The Fridge” Perry and Payton, the Bears ended the 1985 season with a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl victory.
The team set seven Super Bowl records, and Ditka was named NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press.
Setting a franchise record
In 1989, defensive end Richard Dent became Chicago’s all-time sack leader (82 sacks). To this day, he still holds the title with 124.5 total sacks.
Continuing to honor legends
Butkus’ and Sayers’ (51 and 40, respectively) jersey numbers were retired in 1994.
In 2001, the Bears moved out of the disbanded NFC Central division to the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.
No playoffs for Green Bay
In December, the Bears beat the Packers 24-17 at Soldier Field. Not only did the victory result in clinching the NFC North, but it also sent Chicago to the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
And let’s not forget, the win was the final nail in the coffin of Green Bay’s postseason hopes.