Go to your favorite sports dictionary and look up “team culture” to see a picture of the Chicago Bears. What does NFLbets mean by that? Simply that, since the days when the quarterback had an option on essentially every play, the Bears have always been all about defense. All hope for the not-necessarily bright future of Mitch Trubisky aside, the Windy City’s NFL team hasn’t had a true franchise quarterback since the 1950s, a far greater drought than any other team.
From 1960 through 2017, the Bears have had a top-five defense in terms of points allowed 16 times, but have been a top-five scoring offense in just six seasons – and only three since George Halas was coaching the team. Despite the eternal weakness on one side of the ball, however, the Bears may claim an NFL second-best nine titles (Although one supposes that many Bears fans under the age of, likesay, 40 would appreciate another Super Bowl win any year now…), the most wins of any NFL team all-time (they’re 12 wins up on the rival Green Bay Packers and +62 on the New York Giants) and the most Professional Football Hall of Fame members of any team.
The team was originally founded as an independent club in Decatur named the Staleys, but joined with the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in time for the soon-to-be NFL’s first season. A loss to the Chicago Cardinals and a final-game tie with the undefeated Akron Pros earned the 10-1-2 Staleys a second-place finish. No matter, coach/owner Halas had his relocated Chicago Staleys going 9-1- in ’21 to take the last APFA title; with a fine sense of foreshadowing, this team was the league’s stingiest in points allowed, but just seventh-best in points scored.
Over the next five seasons, the again-renamed Chicago Bears were perpetual contenders and ran up four more second-place finishes, but championship status would elude the team until 1932, the year 24-year-old fullback Bronko Nagurski was given leave to run the ball. Halas, Bronko and the Bears took the ’33 title as well, but unfortunately wasted brilliant ’34 campaigns by Nagurski and Beattie Feathers with a 30-10 pummeling by the Giants in the final game.
The 1940s were the decade of Sid Luckman. From 1940 to ’48, this Hall of Fame quarterback got the Bears into five championship games and won four – twice getting to the championship despite Halas not coaching a Chicago Bears team for the first time ever. Halas returned for ’46, but the Bears wouldn’t see the championship game again until ’56, the team’s first season after Halas’s second retirement. Halas returned to the sidelines one more time in ’58, taking the Bears’ eighth title in ’63 thanks to (you guessed it) a dominant defense that included five Pro Bowlers and snagged 36 interceptions in 14 games.
The post-Halas, post-NFL/AFL merger days weren’t very fruitful for the Bears. In the next 20 seasons, the Bears would make the playoffs just twice – both times in the late 70s in the early years of Walter Payton’s career. However, Mike Ditka’s hiring as head coach with nice low expectations helped write the most memorable chapter in modern Bears history. And though Ditka’s Bears made seven playoff runs in eight years, the majority of the aforementioned metaphorical chapter would be devoted to that single magical season of 1985.
For one year, this team led by three Hall of Famers (Payton, Mike Singletary, Richard Dent) helped lead a cast of characters (Jim McMahon, Willie Gault, Dan Hampton, Wilber Marshall, Ron Rivera and of course William “The Refrigerator” Perry among them) to the NFL’s first-ever 15-1 run. For those who watched it, the shock of the Miami Dolphins’ MNF upset of Dah Bearssss was matched only by the disappointment that a rematch in Super Bowl XX would not be forthcoming. The Bears capped their near-perfect season near-perfectly with a 46-10 trashing of the helpless New England Patriots.
Since those glorious days of the 1980s, well … let’s just say the “Super Bowl Shuffle” hasn’t been discussed too often in a contemporary context in Chicago. For the 2000s, Dick Jauron was able to partially assemble another monstrous defense around draftee Brian Urlacher; from 2001 through ‘’10, the Urlacher- (and later Julius Peppers-) led Bears made the playoffs four times, including the Super Bowl XLI loss.
As for the Trubisky Era the Bears are about to enter into and/or end prematurely, let’s put it this way: You ever hear of Sid Luckman…?
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