George Halas was nicknamed “Papa Bear”. Nothing more normal. From 1920, when the Chicago Bears were created, to 1983, the year of his death, he was a player, coach and manager of the team. Halas first played as a receiver, then coached the Bears for 40 seasons. He allowed Chicago to be crowned champion seven times (in 1921, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946 and 1964). His only regret: never having seen his Bears play in a Super Bowl. George Halas has won 318 games as a coach, the second most in NFL history.
One of the best defenders in history and one of the fiercest too. ” Every time he hits you, he tries to send you to the cemetery, not to the hospital said Deacon Jones, himself a renowned defender. Dick Butkus only played nine years (from 1965 to 1973), but was elected to the Pro Bowl eight times and five times in the typical team of the season. When the NFL assembled a team of legends – for its 75th and 100th anniversaries – Butkus was a regular feature.
Gale Sayers wore the Chicago jersey from 1965 to 1971, before a career-ending knee injury. He was a runner, fast, agile, elegant. During his first year in the NFL, he scored 22 touchdowns, including six in a single game.
Sayers is also known to have had as a “roommate” Brian Piccolo, a white player, while he was African American. Association unthinkable at the time, when the United States was just emerging from segregation. Piccolo died young, from cancer, and Sayers stayed by his side until the end. This story gave rise to two TV movies, the best known dating from 1971, with Billy Dee Williams and James Caan.
Another great running back. Payton played for the Chicago Bears from 1975 to 1988. The honors rained down: 10 seasons at more than 1,000 yards, nine Pro Bowl elections, five in the typical team of the year… Walter Payton was elected MVP of the NFL in 1977 and long held the record for most yards gained by a runner. One of the few games he missed was the Super Bowl won in January 1986 against New England (the only one on the Bears’ list). Normal: all the opposing defense was fixed on him.
The 1985 Defense
It’s one of the toughest defenses in NFL history. She intimidated many in the ’85 season, when Chicago won 15 of its 16 regular season games. In the play-offs, New York then Los Angeles did not score the slightest point and, at the Super Bowl, played in January 86, New England was demolished (46-10): a scored touchdown, seven yards gained in the run, no completed pass by the starting quarterback, who came out at the break.
The best players in this squad were defensive ends Richard Dent (Super Bowl MVP) and Dan Hampton and linebacker Mike Singletary. But the best known was undoubtedly William Perry, a beautiful baby weighing 150 kilos, nicknamed the “refrigerator”. It was sometimes used in attack, to score touchdowns. Perry came in when Chicago was close to the in-goal and needed to break through the opposing defense. Easy for him.