The Chicago Bears were founded on September 17th, 1920. Today, we take a look back at the history of Chicago’s football franchise as we celebrate 100 years as an organization.
The Chicago Bears are one of the most historic teams in the NFL. You may look at the list of past Super Bowl winners and see just one championship under their name from 1985, but that only encompasses the modern-day Super Bowl era. Before the NFL and AFL merger in 1966, the Bears were one of the most dominant teams in the NFL.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
NFL Championships: Pre-Super Bowl Era
The Bears organization was a staple of what a successful franchise looked like during this era. They won a total of eight championships between 1921 and 1963. That was one of the most dominant runs in that era, second to none other than the Green Bay Packers.
In 1920, they had arguably one of the most influential figures in football history join their organization — George Halas.
Halas played wide receiver and defensive end during his time in Chicago as a player. Little did he know that he would end up being a part of the Bears organization for 63 seasons. Halas took over as owner and head coach of the team while he was still playing. In 1921, he helped lead the team to their first championship.
Just to name a few standouts from the 1920s and 1930s, QB Sid Luckman, HB Red Grange, FB Bronko Nagurski, WR Bill Hewitt, and OT Ed Healy all donned Bears uniforms. During this two-decade span, the team won three NFL championships, which helped the organization make a name for themselves early on.
The Chicago Bears etched their name into history in the 1940s. They won a total of four championships during the decade. The Bears and Packers accounted for over half of this decade’s championships.
The 1950s were a rough time for the organization, as they only made the playoffs twice inside this decade. The team made one championship appearance in the 50s, which was a loss to the New York Giants in 1956. Despite these shortcomings, Halas maintained control of the organization as the Bears would surge to further success in the 1960s.
In the 60s, the Bears only won a single championship. However, the team was back to competing for half the decade. This decade was highlighted with a championship title in 1963 on the backs of several Hall-of-Famers, including TE Mike Ditka, DE Doug Atkins, and LB Bill George.
Running back Gale Sayers was dominant in the second half of the 1960s. However, he never had the right pieces around him to succeed and injuries cut his career short. Despite those setbacks, Sayers still went down as a Hall-of-Fame player. Nevertheless, he is still considered to be one of the greatest all-time Bears running backs.
Super Bowl Era
This era has not been as kind to the Bears since 1968. They have trotted good teams and some great teams. Despite that, they only have a single Super Bowl title in the team’s history. The Bears have only made two total Super Bowl appearances since 1968.
The Bears touted one of the greatest teams in NFL history during the 80s. The 1985 team, also, the original “Monsters of the Midway”, brought home the organization’s only Super Bowl title. Statistically, they touted one of the most dominant defenses and a top-notch run game.
Some of their best defensive players were Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, William “The Fridge” Perry, Otis Wilson, and many more. The offense was completely orchestrated by one of the best running backs in the history of football — Walter Payton. These players made winning football in Chicago easy.
To this day, it’s still the only Super Bowl the Bears have won. That was not their only appearance, however. The 2006 team made it back to the big game in 2006 but fell short to the Colts.
Other Bears Greats: 1990s and 2000s
Some other notable Bears players from more recent years are LB Brian Urlacher, RB Matt Forte, OL Olin Kreutz, LB Lance Briggs, and KR Devin Hester. While exiting to watch week after week, this group came up just short of a Super Bowl title in 2006.
The Chicago Bears have had many ups and downs as an organization, but they are and forever will be one of the most historic football franchises in the NFL. Between their championship accomplishments all the way to their one-of-a-kind rivalry with the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears are a staple of the NFL’s history. Enjoy celebrating the first 100 years of the Bears and cheers to 100 more.