Team History

Highlights from the 1920s
George Halas founded pro football & the Decatur Staleys in 1920 & membership costs were $100 per club. The Staleys posted a 10-1-2 record in that inaugural season as every player earned $1,900 for the season. The Bears won their first title the next season (1921) with a 9-1-1 mark & went on to post winning records in all but one season in the entire decade (1929: 4-9-2). The first major signing took place in 1925 when the Bears signed Red Grange to a contract. Halas then took Grange & the Bears on a coast-to-coast barnstorming tour in which the Bears club played 16 games in nine weeks. The first game of that stretch was played before 36,000 at the teams home site, Wrigley Field. Chicago Bears Tickets

9/17/20: George Halas, representing the Decatur Staleys, meets with representatives of 12 other clubs at Ralph Hays Hupmobile showroom in Canton, Ohio, forming the American Professional Football Association - which later became the NFL. Membership is set at $100.

1920: 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. Each player was compensated $1,900 for the season. Chicago Bears Tickets

1921: Decatur Staleys become Chicago Staleys, play in Wrigley Field, & win the APFA title with 9-1-1 record. A. E. Staley gives Halas the club with $5,000 to keep the Staleys name for the year. Halas makes Dutch Sternaman his partner. Chicago Bears Tickets

1/28/22: Franchise renamed Chicago Bears.

11/27/22: First Chicago player deal: Bears buy tackle Ed Healeys contract from the Rock Isl& Independents for $100-twice the going rate for a franchise that season. Chicago Bears Tickets

11/22/25: Harold "Red" Grange signs with Bears & pro football leaves its cradle. His agent C.C. (Cash & Carry) Pyle negotiates a $100,000 deal with the Bears. Chicago Bears Tickets

11/26/25: Halas takes the Bears & Grange on a coast-to-coast tour that sees the club play 16 games from Nov. 26 through Jan. 31 interrupted only by a two-week rest. The Bears post a 11-4-1 record on the trip.

11/26/25: Granges first game-36,000 see Bears & Cardinals go 0-0 in Wrigley Field with Grange held to 36 yards.

1/16/26: Grange gets two TDs as the Bears impress 75,000 in the LA Coliseum beating the LA Tigers 17-7.

3/1/26: Bears open offices at 111 W. Washington.

Highlights from the 1930s
Halas left the coaching ranks in 1930 & Ralph Jones led the club to a 24-10-7 record from 1930-32. The Bears won the 1932 championship before 11,198 fans at Chicago Stadium. The franchise lost $18,000 that season & Sternaman sold his half of the club to Halas. The 1933 season marked Halas return to coaching & the beginning of the National Football League. The Bears beat the Giants 23-21 in the NFLs first championship game that year. The Bears advanced to the NFL title game twice more in the decade, but fell to the Giants in 1934 & the Redskins in 1937. Chicago Bears Tickets

1930: After a 4-8-2 1929 season, George Halas replaces himself as head coach with Ralph Jones. Jones posts a 24-10-7 record during his three seasons.

12/15/30: Bears & Cardinals play footballs first indoor game on an 80-yard field in Chicago Stadium. The exhibition aids unemployment; Bears win 9-7 before 10,000 fans.

11/15/31: New Yorkers (including Gov. Alfred E. Smith & Mayor Jimmy Walker) in field boxes at $100 a seat watch Bears top Giants at Polo Grounds 12-6.

12/18/32: Bronko Nagurski hits Red Grange with a two-yard TD pass & the Bears top the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 for the NFL championship. The game was played before 11,198 indoors at Chicago Stadium on an 80-yard field.

1932: The Chicago Bears won their NFL Championship with a 9-0 victory over the Portsmouth Spartans before 11,198 fans inside Chicago Stadium on an 80-yard field. Leading the way was Bronko Nagurski who hit Red Grange with a two-yard touchdown pass. The season, however, was not a finacial success as the team lost $18,000 prompting co-owner Dutch Sternaman to sell his share of the team to George Halas.

1933: George Halas returns as head coach & takes club out of town for training camp for the first time. University of Notre Dame is the host.

11/5/33: Boston Redskins beat Bears, 10-0, ending Chicagos 16-game unbeaten string.

12/17/33: Bears use rookie Jack Manders accurate kicking for 11 points & defeat the Giants 23-21 in the NFLs first championship game.

1934: Halas University, the Bears alumni association begins. Annually, Bear veterans return during season for Homecoming Weekend.

1934: Bears hold training camp at Lane Tech High in Chicago.

8/31/34: A classic is born as 79,432 watch the NFL champion Bears held to a scoreless tie by the first College All-Star team in a game sponsored by Chicago Tribune Charities at Soldier Field.

12/2/34: Rookie Beattie Feathers becomes first pro to rush for 1,000 yards in a season (1,004), leading the NFL.

12/9/34: Undefeated Bears slip before Giants in NFL title tilt at Polo Grounds 30-13 before 35,059. With Chicago leading 10-3 at the half, NY dons basketball sneakers & scores 27 points.

1935: Training camp is conducted at St. Johns Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin.

1936: Bears make Joe Stydahar, a tackle from West Virginia, their first draft pick ever.

12/12/37: Bears win Western Division title but lose NFL Championship 28-21 to Redskins at Wrigley Field. Sammy Baugh hits 18 of 33 for 335 yards & three TDs. Jack M&ers scores 15 of the Bears points. A Chicago players share is $127.78.

Highlights from the 1940s
The decade began with another NFL title as the Bears buried the Washington Redskins, 73-0, as ten different players scored while Chicago unveiled the T-formation. Halas left for war duties in the middle of the 1942 season. The team continued winning, but lost the title game in Washington, 14-6. Luke Johnsos & Hunk &erson co-coached the wartime Bears the next three seasons. In 1943, the Bears beat Washington 41-21, at Wrigley Field in the NFL title game. Halas returned in 1946 & the Bears won the title again - defeating the Giants, 24-14, before a NFL record crowd of 58,346 in the Polo Grounds. Chicago Bears Tickets

12/8/40: 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. The gameplan signals the beginning of pro footballs modern era. Each player receives $873.

1941: Bear Down Chicago Bears, the Bears new fight song, is published. 12/14/41-Bears & Packers agree their playoff game should be played to a "sudden death" finish in event of tie. NFL adopts plan 1/24/42.

1942: George Halas departs in October for the US Navy. The Bears win their final six games, finish the season 11-0, & advance to the title game but lose to Washington, 14-6.

1943: Hunk &erson & Luke Johnsos co-coach the wartime Bears for the next three seasons, compiling a 15-11-2 record. 11/14/43-Sid Luckman becomes the first pro to pass for 400+ yards in a game, scorching the Giants for 433 yards & seven TDs.

12/26/43: 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 & Dante Magnani). Bronko Nagurski scores his last Bear TD, a 3-yard run.

12/15/46: With George Halas around for the full season, the Bears whip the Giants 24-14 before a record NFL title crowd of 58,346 in the Polo Grounds. After opening with a 21-yard TD pass to Ken Kavanaugh, Sid Luckman gets the winning score on a 19-yard bootleg.

1948: Bears make the first trade for a draft choice, then select QB Bobby Layne.

12/11/49: Johnny Lujack sets NFL passing record with 468 yards against the Cardinals. Bears open offices at 111 W. Washington

Highlights from the 1950s
The Bears began the decade with a title run, but lost to the Rams in the 1950 Western Division title game, 24-14. Paddy Driscoll replaced Halas as coach in 1956 & the Bears lost to the Giants in the NFL Championship game at Yankee Stadium. Halas returned for his final stint as head coach in 1958.

12/17/50: Bears & Rams tie for Western Division title with 9-3 marks but Rams trip Bears in LA 24-14 to break the tie.

1956: Halas retires for a third time. Paddy Driscoll gets the position.

12/30/56: Giants, with their sneakers again, trounce Chicago 47-7 before 56,836 in Yankee Stadium for NFL title.

11/2/58: The Chicago Bears & 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.

Highlights from the 1960s
The Bears won their final title under Halas in 1963, beating the NY Giants, 14-10, at Wrigley Field. A new era was signaled in 1965 when the club drafted Dick Butkus & Gale Sayers in the first round of the college draft. Sayers set a NFL record with 22 TDs as a rookie, including six in a single game against the 49ers. Prior to the 1968 season, Halas retired from coaching after 40 seasons & a 324-151-31 record. Ed McCaskey was named teams vice-president & treasurer in 1967, a position he held for 17 years before being named to Chairman of the Board in 1983. Ed spearheaded the clubs civic activities for many years & attends NFL meetings. Among his many civic contributions on behalf of the Bears was guiding the Brian Piccolo Fund from its inception in 1970 to 1987, raising millions of dollars for cancer research.

10/22/61: Bears destroy the scorching 49er shotgun formation 31-0 with Bill George playing middle guard & the defensive line stunting.

12/29/63: The Bears intercept New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Title five times & win the NFL championship. The teams 14-10 victory was played before 45,801 fans on a bone-chilling afternoon at Wrigley Field. Bill Wade scored both touchdowns on two- & one-yard runs. Each player earns $5,899.

1964: Flanker Johnny Morris catches NFL record 93 passes.

1965: Bears set st&ard for draft by selecting LB Dick Butkus & RB Gale Sayers in first round.

1965: Rookie Sayers bursts into pro football with a NFL record 22 TDs.

12/12/65: Gale Sayers scores six TDs against 49ers.

1966: Gale Sayers sets NFL combined yards record with 2,440.

5/27/68: The all-time winningest coach in football history, George Halas, retires from coaching after 40 seasons with 324 wins, 151

Highlights from the 1970s
The Bears played their final season in Wrigley Field in 1970 before moving to Soldier Field. In the same year, Halas was elected president of the NFC as the NFL & AFL merged. In 1974, Jim Finks joined the Bears as General Manager. Finks named Jack Pardee, the first non-Bear in such a position, as head coach replacing Abe Gibron. In 1975, the Bears moved their training camp to Lake Forest after spending 31 years in Rensselaer, Indiana; & Walter Payton was the clubs first-round draft choice. After a 14-year hiatus the Bears returned to the playoffs in 1977, winning their final six games to finish 9-5. The Bears again made the playoffs in 1979 under head coach Neill Armstrong. Chicago lost in the opening round in both 1977 & 1979. The organization suffered a major loss at end of the decade when team president George "Mugs" Halas, Jr. died at 54. Mugs joined the Bears front office in 1950, was named treasurer in 1953, & became president of the club in 1963.

3/19/70: George Halas elected president of the National Football Conference as NFL-AFL merge.

6/16/70: Bear running back Brian Piccolo dies of cancer. Club establishes Piccolo Fund, raising almost $2 million for cancer research.

12/13/70: 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.

9/19/71: The Bears open at Soldier Field by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-15.

9/12/74: Jim Finks joins Bears as Vice President & General Manager after serving as Vikings GM & NFL Management Council Advisor.

12/17/74: After three seasons & a record of 11-30-1, Abe Gibron departs as head coach.

12/31/74: Former NFL star linebacker Jack Pardee is named Bear head coach-the first non-Bear to hold the job.

7/12/75: Bears open training camp at Lake Forest College after 31 seasons in Rensselaer, Indiana.

11/20/77: En route to leading the NFL in rushing with a Bear record 1,852 yards on the season, Walter Payton dashes through the Vikings for a NFL record 275 yards. Bears win 10-7 at Soldier Field.

12/18/77: A 28-yard FG by Bob Thomas with :09 left in overtime gives Bears a 12-9 win over the Giants, a 9-5 record, a six-game win streak, & their first playoff spot in 14 years.

12/26/77: Bears finish season with 37-7 playoff loss at Dallas, but set 28 team records & play before a home record 401,513 fans in seven Soldier Field dates.

1/19/78: With a three-year record of 20-22, Jack Pardee resigns to seek Redskin coaching job.

2/16/78: Neill Armstrong, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, becomes head coach.

9/3/79: Bears occupy $1.6 million new headquarters named Halas Hall on Lake Forest College campus.

12/16/79: Massive heart attack claims George (Mugs) Halas at 54. Bears route St. Louis 42-6 & Dallas tips Washington 35-34. The combination sends 10-6 Bears to the playoffs.

12/23/79: After leading 17-10, Bears drop the Wild Card game at Philadelphia, 27-17.

Highlights from the 1980s
Armstrongs tenure ended in 1982 & he was replaced by Dallas Cowboys assistant Mike Ditka, a Bears tight end from 1961-66. In 1983, Jim Finks resigned & George Halas died at age 88. Michael McCaskey, the oldest son of Ed & Virginia McCaskey, & the gr&son of George Halas, became the third president in club history. McCaskey was a business school professor & operated a consulting company in Boston before joining the Bears. In his 14 full seasons with the club the Bears have posted nine winning seasons, made three trips to the NFC title game & won Super Bowl XX. McCaskey has served stints on the Finance, Long Range Planning, Stadium, & NFL Properties Executive committees during his tenure. The Bears returned to the NFL elite in 1984. They advanced to the NFC Championship game (losing to San Francisco) & Walter Payton broke Jim Browns all-time NFL rushing record. The loss in the 84 title game set the stage for the 1985 season in which the Bears posted shutouts in the both playoff games before ripping the Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX. The Bears won the NFC Central division each of the next three seasons, but could never get past the NFC title game. Paytons jersey was retired following the 87 season.

10/6/80: Payton gains 133 rushing & 14 receiving to raise lifetime combined yardage to 9,492-breaking Sayers club record. Bears beat Tampa 23-0 at Soldier Field.

11/27/80: David Williams takes Thanksgiving Day overtime kickoff at Detroit 95 yards for TD in fastest OT in NFL history (21 seconds).

12/7/80: Bears whip Packers 61-7 at Soldier Field, equaling club record for points & setting records for first downs (33) & completion percentage (83.3%, 20 of 24). Vince Evans throws for 316-most by a Bear in 10 years.

1/4/82: After four seasons & a 30-35 record, Neill Armstrong departs as head coach.

1/20/82: Mike Ditka, assistant offensive coach of the Dallas Cowboys, becomes head coach.

8/24/83: Jim Finks resigns as General Manager after nine seasons. George Halas names Jerry Vainisi as the clubs General Manager.

10/31/83: Bears founder & owner, George Halas, dies at the age of 88.

11/11/83: Michael B. McCaskey becomes the third president in franchise history.

2/19/84: Rudy Custer, business manager for 38 years, announces his retirement.

10/7/84: Walter Payton breaks Jim Browns rushing record with a third quarter six-yard run against New Orleans at Soldier Field. He finishes the day with 32 carries for 154 yards.

11/25/84: Bears defeat Vikings 34-3 at Minneapolis to clinch franchises first Central Division crown.

12/30/84: Visiting Bears beat Redskins 23-19 for first playoff win since 1963, advancing to teams first NFC Championship before losing 23-0 to eventual champion 49ers.

1985: 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.

1/5/86: Bears host first playoff game since 1963 & shutout New York Giants, 21-0.

1/12/86: Bears blank Los Angeles Rams, 24-0, in NFC Championship game at Soldier Field & advance to Super Bowl XX.

1/26/86: 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 Engl& 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) & largest margin of victory (36). The game was witnessed by record-setting number of viewers via television worldwide. The next day team was greeted by an estimated 500,000 people in a ticket tape parade in downtown Chicago.

1986: Bears capture third straight NFC Central title with 14-2 mark; defense allows NFL record-low 187 points. Bears lose divisional playoff game to Redskins, 27-13.
12/20/87: Walter Payton plays final regular season game at Soldier Field (rushes for 79 yards & 2 TDs). "Walter Payton Day" is celebrated prior to game as club president Michael McCaskey retires jersey number 34.

1987: Bears win fourth consecutive division title with 11-4 mark in strike interrupted season. Team posts four straight winning seasons, a feat last accomplished by Bears between 1946-51. Redskins come back from 14-0 deficit to beat Bears 21-17 in playoffs.

1988: Bears post 12-4 record (tied for best in NFL) & 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.

12/3/89: Kevin Butler connects on his 24th straight field goal to set a NFL record for consecutive field goals made.

12/24/89: Richard Dent sacks Joe Montana & becomes the Bears all-time sack leader with 82, surpassing Jim Osborne.

Highlights from the 1990s
The Bears made playoff appearances in 1990 & 1991. The 1992 season was marked by the retirement of Mike Singletary, the end of the Mike Ditka era & Kevin Butler becoming the clubs all-time scoring leader. Dave Wannstedt was named the 11th coach in team history in 1993 & led the Bears to back-to-back winning seasons in 1994 & 1995. The uniform numbers of Dick Butkus (51) & Gale Sayers (40) were retired in 1994. The team moved into its new headquarters, Halas Hall at Conway Park, on March 3, 1997. The Bears became the first franchise in NFL history to win 600 games; number 600 was a 13-7 win over Tampa Bay at Soldier Field (11-23-97). On August 1, 1998, Mike Singletary became the 24th Bear inducted into the NFL Hall-of-Fame, the most of any franchise.

6/6/90: &y McKenna & Patrick G. Ryan, two Chicago businessmen, purchase approximately 20% (total) of the Bears from the McCaskeys.

1990: Bears regain NFC Central Title with 11-5 mark, & beat the the Saints 16-6 in First Round playoff game before falling to eventual Super Bowl Champion NY Giants, 31-3, in Dan Hamptons final game.

12/8/91: Mike Ditka wins his 100th regular season game as the Bears head coach with a 27-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.

1991: Chicago finishes 11-5 & earns a Wild Card berth in the playoffs. The Bears are upset in the First Round by the Dallas Cowboys, 17-13, at Soldier Field.

10/4/92: Kevin Butler becomes the Bears all-time leading scorer with a 50-yard FG. He surpasses Walter Paytons 750 points.

12/13/92: In Mike Singletarys final home game, the Bears upset AFC Central champion Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-6.

1/19/93: Dave Wannstedt is hired as the 11th head coach in club history.

10/3/93: The Bears play their 1,000th game in franchise history, shutting out the Atlanta Falcons in Soldier Field, 6-0.

1993: Bears conclude Wannstedts rookie season with 7-9 record. 10/31/94-Dick Butkus & Gale Sayers have their jersey numbers (51 & 40) retired at halftime before a Monday night national audience.

12/24/94: Kevin Butler becomes the first Bear to surpass the 1,000 point mark with his first quarter FG vs. New Engl&.

1/1/95: 9-7 Bears earn a Wild Card berth & upset the Vikings with a 35-18 playoff win at Minnesota.

5/12/95: Michael McCaskey announces plans for a new $20 million state-of-the-art Bears headquarters at the ground-breaking ceremony in Lake Forest.

1995: Bears win final two games to finish 9-7 but are eliminated on final day as Falcons upset 49ers to earn final post-season spot.

3/3/97: Bears move into Halas Hall at Conway Park, the teams 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.

11/23/97: The Bears defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-7 for the 600th win in team history. Chicago becomes the first NFL franchise to reach the 600-win plateau.

12/28/98: After six seasons & a 41-57 record, Dave Wannstedts coaching tenure ends.

1/24/99: Dick Jauron is hired as the 12th head coach in club history.

2/4/99: Ted Phillips is promoted to President & CEO, becoming the fourth in team history.

11/1/99: Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton dies at the age of 45. The Bears name the Halas Hall indoor facility in his honor the following off-season.

6/12/01: Jerry Angelo named first Bears general manager since the 1986 season.