George Halas
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Legendary Chicago Bears

George Halas meant everything to the sport he devoted his life to as a player, founder, owner and coach. Halas founded the Decatur Staleys in 1920, moved the team to Chicago in 1921 and then, as player-owner-coach, changed the name to the Bears, where he was coach until 1967, collecting 324 wins and six NFL titles. Halas was also instrumental in the formation of the National Football League, representing the Staleys at the first organizational meeting in Canton, Ohio. The man affectionately called Papa Bear was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1963. (Tribune archive photo)
The University of Illinois‘ “Galloping Ghost” played five games for Halas in 1925, signed to play in a different league and then returned to Chicago in 1929, starring for the Bears for the next five seasons. Grange, left and standing next to Halas in this 1925 photo, scored 32 career touchdowns but his biggest play was a touchdown-saving tackle in the 1933 NFL championship game that preserved a 13-10 win over the New York Giants. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1963. (Tribune archive photo)
Many historians and sportswriters consider Sid Luckman the Bears’ all-time best quarterback. Playing from 1939 to 1950, Luckman became the game’s first great T-formation quarterback when he led the Bears to a 73-0 win in the 1940 NFL League game. He was league MVP in 1943, when in one game he threw a record seven touchdown passes. He threw five in the NFL championship game that year. Luckman threw for 14,686 yards and 137 touchdowns during his career. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1965. (Tribune archive photo)
Bronco Nagurski was a bulldozing, do-everything player for most of the 1930s. He gained 4,031 yards over nine seasons. He threw two touchdown passes in the 1933 championship game. Nagurski came out of retirement after five season to help the Bears to the 1943 league title. (Tribune archive photo)
Link Lyman played for the Bears during the 1920s and 1930s and is credited with developing a deceptive, shifting style that is the foundation of today’s tackle position. The Bears won the NFL title in 1933 and a division title in 1934, his final two seasons. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966. (Tribune archive photo)
George McAfee was a great two-way player known for long explosive runs on offensive and dangerous reflexes as a pass rusher. He also could pass the ball in a trick play and was a feared punt returner. His career was interrupted at its peak by World War II and he played just six full seasons and parts of two others. Still, his impact during his brief career landed him in the Hall of Fame in 1966. (Tribune archive photo)
George Musso was one of the most important defensive players during the Bears’ greatest era. Musso played guard and was also an offensive tackle during a career when the Bears won seven division titles and four NFL championships (1933, 1940, 1941 and 1943). The first player to win All-NFL honors at two positions, Musso was elected to Hall of Fame in 1982. (Tribune archive photo)
Ed Healey was a dominant tackle for the Rock Island Independents and was so frustrating to George Halas’ Bears during a 1922 game that Halas decided to buy Healey’s contract. He was all-league five times during his eight-year career and Halas considered him one of the most versatile tackles the game ever saw. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964. (Tribune archive photo)
Hall of Famer Joe Stydahar was a tackle on some of the Bears’ most dominant defensive teams of the 1930s and 1940s. A four-time All- NFL player, he was on the Bears’ championship teams of 1940, 1941 and 1946. Stydahar is also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1930s. (Tribune archive photo)
Bill Hewitt is in the Hall of Fame because many consider him the best two-way player of his era, 1932 to 1943. But he is best remembered for his stubborn refusal to wear a helmet until the league made a rules change that forced him to wear one. Hewitt played for the Bears from 1932 to 1936, where his defense saddled ball carriers with negative yardage and his creativity for trick plays stymied defenses. Hewitt devised a play in 1933 NFL title game, where he took a jump pass from Bronco Nagurski and made a lateral pitch to another player who ran it in for the game-winning score against the New York Giants(Tribune archive photo)
Danny Fortmann earned All- NFL honors six straight seasons, 1938 to 1943. In 1965, he was only the second guard to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Fortmann played along side Hall of Fame tackle Joe Stydahar during the most dominant era of of Bears football that gave rise to the “Monsters of the Midway.” (Tribune archive photo)
George Connor played for the Bears from 1948 to 1955 and ushered in the era of the large but quick linebacker. He was named All- NFL at three different positions, offensive tackle, defensive tackle and linebacker. (Tribune archive photo)
Ray Bray was a defensive lineman on three NFL championship teams. He played for the Bears from 1939 to 1942 and then again from 1946 to 1951, a career interrupted by World War II. Bray was on four Pro Bowl teams. (Chicago Tribune Historical Photo)
On a team of Bears, Clyde Turner was known as Bulldog. He played center and linebacker from 1940 to 1952 and was a superb snapper, blocker and defender on four NFL championship teams. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966. (Tribune archive photo)
Quarterbacks, linemen and ball carriers for 17 years feared a looming Doug Atkins. He played for the Bears from 1955 to 1969 and was a key figure in one of football’s most potent defenses, especially the 1963 NFL title season, when the defense allowed a league-low average of 10 points per game. Aitkens played on eight Pro Bowl teams and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982. (Tribune archive photo)
Bill George was the first to star at the linebacker position, roaming the middle for Halas’ great defensive teams of the 1950s and 1960s. George, a Bear from 1952 to 1965, picked off 18 passes and recovered 19 fumbles during his career. He was the leader on defense during the 1963 NFL championship year when the Bears held teams to an average of 10 points per game. (Tribune archive photo)
Stan Jones was known for size, strength and quickness as one of football’s most effective guards. He played for the Bears from 1954 to 1965 and made seven straight Pro Bowl teams. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. (Tribune archive photo)
Before leading the Bears to a Super Bowl title as the head coach, Mike Ditka may have revolutionized the tight end position that was used mostly for blocking. He was one of the first tight ends to catch a large number of passes, including 12 touchdowns his first year en route to Rookie of the Year honors. In 1964, he caught 75 passes, a record for tight ends that stood until 1980. A Bear from 1961 to 1966, Ditka was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1988. (Tribune archive photo)
J.C. Caroline was primarily a defensive back during his 10 seasons with the Bears, but he is best remembered for his speed and jarring tackles on special teams. His tackles on kickoffs during the 1963 NFL championship season are considered legendary. (Tribune archive photo)
Bennie McRae was always a threat to pick off an opposing quarterback during his nine seasons with the Bears. He led the team in interceptions two consecutive seasons (1967 and 1968) and finished with 27 career interceptions. McRae holds the Bears’ record with four touchdowns from interceptions. (Tribune archive photo)
Dick Butkus is arguably one of the best linebackers ever to play, possessing strength, agility and quickness to cover running backs and tight ends on the same play. He played for the Bears from 1965 to 1973, making seven Pro Bowl teams, collecting 22 interceptions and recovering 27 fumbles. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility. (Tribune archive photo)
Gale Sayers was one of football’s most explosive runners from 1965 to 1971. In a preview of things to come, the halfback scored touchdowns on long punt and kick returns and a pass play in his first preseason game. During the regular season, he scored a record-tying six touchdowns on a muddy field against the 49ers. From that rookie year, Sayers still has the team record for most touchdowns in a season with 22. He rushed for close to 5,000 yards and scored 336 points over a short career and was the NFL’s all-time leader in kickoff returns at the time of his retirement. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977. (Tribune archive photo)
Bobby Joe Green holds several team records as the Bears’’ punter over 12 seasons from 1962 to 1973. He recorded a 46.5-yard average for the 1963 championship season and kicked punts, totaling 35,057 yards for his career, both team records. He was a Pro Bowl punter in 1970. (Tribune archive photo)
Chicago’s beloved “Sweetness” rewrote the record books during his 13 seasons as a Bears’ running back. Walter Payton rushed the ball for 3,838 times for 16,726 yards and scored 110 touchdowns, all Bears records. He also caught 15 touchdown passes and threw for eight. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993. (Tribune archive photo)
Mike Singletary was always first or second in tackles on the Bears in each of his 11 seasons as linebacker. Singletary collected 1,488 tackles, including 885 solo, 12 fumble recoveries and seven interceptions. The Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1988, Singletary was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998. (Tribune archive photo)
Steve McMichael played in 191 games during 13 seasons with the Bears and retired second on the Bears’ career sacks list with 92.5. McMichael was a member of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl champions and made two Pro Bowl teams. (Tribune archive photo)
Dan Hampton played 12 seasons for the Bears and finished his career ranked third on the Bears all-time list for sacks with 82. He made four Pro Bowl teams and was named defensive MVP in 1982. He elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002. (Tribune archive photo by Charles Cherney)
Richard Dent is the Bears’ all-time leader in sacks with 124.5 and had a celebrated postseason performance in 1985, when the Bears were 15-1 and Super Bowl XX champions. In the second-round game against the Giants, Dent made seven tackles, 3.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. He was Super Bowl MVP for sharing two sacks, forcing two fumbles and blocking a pass. Dent was on four Pro Bowl teams. (Tribune archive photo)
Gary Fencik and teammate Doug Plank were dubbed “The Hit Men” in the “Super Bowl Shuffle” video. He is the Bears’ all-time leader for interceptions with 38 and made two Pro Bowl teams. He was a Bear from 1976 to 1987. (Tribune archive photo by Charles Cherney)
Jim Covert, right, was an offensive tackle from 1983 to 1990 and considered the rock of the line when the Bears won the Super Bowl in the 1985 season. He was on two Pro Bowl teams and was named to the NFL‘s All-Decade Team for the 1980s. (Tribune archive photo)
Place kicker Kevin Butler is the Bears’ leading scorer with 1,116 points. He kicked for the Bears from 1985 to 1995 and played two seasons with Arizona before retiring. He finished his career with 265 field goals in 361 attempts and missed only 13 times in 426 extra-point attempts. Butler kicked three field goals in the Bears’ 46-10 rout of New England in Super Bowl XX. (Tribune archive photo)
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