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Chicago Bears Team History

The Chicago Bears are one of the most successful franchises in the NFL. Throughout their history, the Bears have won nine NFL titles, 2nd only to the Greenbay Packers for overall league crowns. The Chicago Bears were a founding member of the American Professional Football Association in 1920, which would later become the National Football League. The Bears franchise was founded as the Decatur Staleys in 1920 by A. E. Staley of the Staley Starch Company. He hired George Halas to organize, coach, and play on the team. On September 17, 1920, Halas and representatives from 11 other teams met in Canton, Ohio, and organized the American Professional Football Association the precursor to the NFL. Halas assumed ownership of the team in 1921 with his co-head coach, Dutch Sternaman. They moved the team to Chicago’s Cubs Park (renamed Wrigley Field in 1926). The club won the new league’s first title in 1921, and a year later Halas and Sternaman renamed the team the Bears.

Chicago Bears Chronological History

1920
The Bears franchise is founded by A.E. Staley, owner of the Staley Starch Company. Staley in turn hired George Halas to organize, coach and play on the team. On September 17th of the same year, Halas met with representatives from 11 other teams and formed the American Professional Football Association. The Decatur Staleys shutout 10 of their 13 opponents in their first year of existence posting at 10-1-2 overall record. The team lost only once to the rival Chicago Cardinals 7-6.
1921
Along with his assistant head coach Dutch Sternaman, George Halas assumes ownership of the team. The team go on to post 8 consecutive winning records.
1922
Franchise changed name from the "Chicago Staleys" to the "Chicago Bears".
1930
Bears and Cardinals play football's first indoor game on an 80-yard field in Chicago Stadium. The exhibition aids unemployment; Bears win 9-7 before 10,000 fans.
1932
Ralph Jones and the Chicago Bears won the NFL Championship with a 9-0 victory over the Portsmouth Spartans before 11,198 fans inside Chicago Stadium on an 80-yard field.
1933
The Bears win second title in two years (back to back) 1932 and 1933. Bears use rookie Jack Manders' accurate kicking for 11 points and defeat the N.Y, Giants 23-21 in the NFL's first championship game.
1934
Rookie Beattie Feathers becomes first pro to rush for 1,000 yards in a season (1,004), leading the NFL.
1937
Bears win Western Division title but lose NFL Championship 28-21 to the Washington Redskins at Wrigley Field.
1940
George Halas surprises the Washington Redskins with his "T" formation offense in the NFL Championship game. The strategy proves more than effective as the Bears rout the Redskins 73-0 before 36,034 fans in Washington D.C.
1942
George Halas departs in October for the US Navy. The Bears win their final six games, finish the season 11-0, and advance to the title game but lose to the Washington Redskins, 14-6.
1943
The Bears blast Washington 41-21 in Wrigley Field for the NFL title before 34,320 fans. Sid Luckman throws five TD passes (2 each to Harry Clark and Dante Magnani). Bronko Nagurski scores his last Bear TD, a 3-yard run.
1950
Bears and Rams tie for Western Division title with 9-3 marks but Rams trip Bears in LA 24-14 to break the tie.
1951
The team fall upon hard times and qualify for post season play only once from 1951 to 1962.
1956
Giants, with their sneakers again, trounce Chicago 47-7 before 56,836 in Yankee Stadium for NFL title.
1958
The Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Rams establish an NFL attendance record drawing 90,833 paid (100,470 actual) in the LA Colisseum. The Bears lose 35-41.
1963
The Bears make a grand comeback when they beat the New York Giants 14-10 and win the NFL Title. The Bears intercept New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Title five times and win the NFL championship. The team's 14-10 victory was played before 45,801 fans. Legendary pass reciever Mike Ditka makes his mark in a big way.
1965
Legendary lineback Dick Butkus and running back Gale Sayers join the team. Gale Sayers scores six TDs against the San Francisco 49ers.
1968
The all-time winningest coach in football history, George Halas, retires from coaching after 40 seasons with 324 wins, 151
1970
The Bears close out an era with a bang when they play their final game in Wrigley Field. The Monsters of the Midway trounced the Green Bay Packers 35-17. The Bears leave Wrigley Field with a all-time record of 221-89-22. The 332 games is the most ever played by one team in a home stadium in NFL history.
1971
The Bears move to Soldier Field start by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-15.
1977
The Bears compete in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. The Bears finish the season with a 37-7 playoff loss at Dallas, but set 28 team records and play before a home record 401,513 fans in seven Soldier Field dates.
1980
Payton gains 133 rushing and 14 receiving to raise lifetime combined yardage to 9,492-breaking Sayers' club record. Bears beat Tampa 23-0 at Soldier Field. Bears whip Packers 61-7 at Soldier Field, equaling club record for points and setting records for first downs (33) and completion percentage (83.3%, 20 of 24). Vince Evans throws for 316-most by a Bear in 10 years.
1982
Mike Ditka returns to the team as head coach.
1984
Walter Payton breaks Jim Brown's rushing record with a third quarter six-yard run against New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field. He finishes the day with 32 carries for 154 yards. Under Ditka's leadership, the Bears win six Central Division titles from 1984 to 1990. Bears beat Redskins 23-19 for first playoff win since 1963, advancing to team's first NFC Championship before losing 23-0 to eventual champion San Francisco 49ers.
1986
The Chicago Bears return to dominance as the shuffle over the NFC on their way to a 46-10 Super Bowl XX victory over the New England Patriots. Bears win first 12 games of season en route to posting 15-1 regular season mark, tying the most regular season wins by a team in NFL history. Chicago claims second straight NFC Central title as club record nine players are selected to Pro Bowl. The Bears set seven Super Bowl records, including most points (46) and largest margin of victory (36).
1988
Bears post 12-4 record (tied for best in NFL) and advance to NFC Championship game before losing to eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco. Bears finish five-year period (1984-88) with 62 wins-most by any NFL team ever in such a span.
1990
Andy McKenna and Patrick G. Ryan, two Chicago businessmen, purchase approximately 20% (total) of the Bears from the McCaskeys.
1992
Dave Wannestedt takes over for Ditka and begins a major rebuilding process.
1994
The Bears compete in the post season but fall to the 49ers in the second round.
1997
Bears move into Halas Hall at Conway Park, the team's state-of-the-art, 38-acre headquarters. All team operations are under one roof in Lake Forest, 4 miles west of the original Halas Hall.
1999
Walter Payton died at the age of 45, one of the Chicago Bears and the league's greatest running backs of all time.
2001
After a great season the Bears loose to the Eagles 33 - 19 in the divisional playoff game. Despite their season ending on a sour note, rookie running back Anthony Thomas won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Also, coach Dick Jauron was given the Coach of the Year award.
2003
Bears move back to their newly renovated Soldier Field (also known as Soldier Field II)
2004
Bears hire Lovie Smith (the former defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams) as their new head coach
2005
Bears play in the NFC divisional playoff game but loose to the Carolina Panthers 29-21
2006
Bears take the quickest lead in Super Bowl history after Devin Hester returned the game’s opening kick-off for a touchdown return. Superbowl XLI did not end well for the Bears as they would eventually lose to the Colts 29 - 17.
2009
The Bears trade Kyle Orton to the Broncos in exchange for QB Jay Cutler.
2010
The Bears advance to the NFC Championship game only to loose to the Packers 35 - 24
2012
General manager Jerry Angelo was fired after 11 seasons with the team. Bears hire former Bears scout Phil Emery as Angelo's replacement

Chicago Bears Franchise Information

  • Franchise Granted: 1920
  • First Season: 1920
  • Franchise History:
  • 1920 - 1921 Decatur Staleys (APFA)
  • 1921 - 1922 Chicago Staleys (APFA)
  • 1922 - Present Chicago Bears (NFL)

When this team became a charter member of the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in 1920, the team was located in Decatur, IL, and was named after team sponsor, the Staley Starch Company. The team moved to Chicago in 1921 and became the Chicago Staleys. In 1922, after team founder-manager and star end George Halas purchased the team, he changed the name to the Bears. Halas reasoned that because football players were generally bigger than baseball players, and the city’s baseball team was the Cubs, then logically the football team should be the Bears

Chicago Bears - Stadium

Chicago Bears Stadium

Soldier Field

425 McFetridge Place
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Surface Grass
Seating 66,944
Opened Nov. 11, 1926
Phone (847) 295-6600
Fax (608) 342-1201
Tenants:
Chicago Bears

Previous Stadiums

Wrigley Field

League Championships

1921 (APFA), 1932 (NFL), 1933 (NFL), 1940 (NFL), 1941 (NFL), 1943 (NFL), 1946 (NFL), 1963 (NFL), 1986 (NFL)

Conference Championships

1956 (WFC), 1963 (WFC), 1985 (NFC), 2006 (NFC)

Division Championships

1933 (NFC West), 1934 (NFC West), 1937 (NFC West), 1940 (NFC West), 1941 (NFC West), 1942 (NFC West), 1943 (NFC West), 1946 (NFC West), 1984 (NFC Central), 1985 (NFC Central), 1986 (NFC Central), 1987 (NFC Central), 1988 (NFC Central), 1990 (NFC Central), 2001 (NFC Central), 2006 (NFC North), 2010 (NFC North)

Wild Card Wins

1994 (NFC Central)

Years in Playoffs

1932, 1933, 1934, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946, 1950, 1956, 1963, 1977, 1979, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1994, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears history

Coaches

Marc Trestman
2013 -
Lovie Smith
2004 - 2012
Dick Jauron
1999 - 2003
Dave Wannstedt
1993 - 1998
Mike Ditka
1988 - 1992
Neil Armstrong
1978 - 1987
Jack Pardee
1975 - 1977
Abe Gibron
1972 - 1974
Jim Dooley
1968 - 1971
George Halas
1958 - 1967
Paddy Driscoll
1956 - 1957
George Halas
1946 - 1955
George Halas,
Hunk Anderson,
Luke Johnos
1945
Hunk Anderson,
Luke Johnos
1943 - 1944
George Halas,
Hunk Anderson,
Luke Johnos
1942
George Halas
1933 - 1942
Ralph Jones
1930 - 1932
George Halas
1920 - 1929

Retired Numbers

#3 Bronco Nagurski
#5 George McAfee
#7 George Halas
#28 Willie Galimore
#34 Walter Payton
#40 Gale Sayers
41 Brian Piccolo
#42 Sid Luckman
#51 Dick Butkus
#56 Bill Hewitt
#61 Bill George
#66 Bulldog Turner
#77 Red Grange
#89 Mike Ditka

Hall of Fame Members

Paddy Drisoll
1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968
Ed Healey
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927
George Trafton
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932
George Halas
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
Roy "Link" Lyman
1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934
Red Grange
1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934
Walter Kiesling
1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956
Bronko Nagurski
1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1943
Bill Hewitt
1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936
George Musso
1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944
Joe Stydahar
1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1945, 1946
Danny Fortmann
1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943
Sid Luckman
1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950
George McAfee
1940, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950
Clyde Turner
1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952
George Connor
1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955
George Blanda
1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958
Bill George
1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
Stan Jones
1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965
Doug Atkins
1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
Mike Ditka
1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992
Gale Sayers
1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971
Dick Butkus
1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973
Bobby Layne
1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962
Jim Finks
1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986
Walter Payton
1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
Alan Page
1978, 1979, 1980, 1981
Dan Hampton
1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990
Mike Singletary
1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992
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