The More You Know: Bears Basics

"Hey, Lombardi, you're lucky I let your sorry cheese-eating $&% back in the NFL." "I know, George, I know." "And why are you so tall. Compensating for somethin'?"

If you are visiting this site on a regular basis, chances are good that the Bears are the team you root for (unless you're Rence, DLions4Eva, or a troll). But, how much do you know about your beloved Bears? Do you know enough to talk shop with fellow Bears' fans without saying something silly like "what's a Superfan" or "the Bears have one championship"? Sure, you know Lovie, and can type Ditka, but do you know why our mascot is named Staley, or Gale Sayers nickname? This new series will delve into a variety of topics and unearth some factoids that, if you didn't already know, you can impress your friends and fellow fans with in hopes of being named an alpha fan (but not a Superfan, those seats are saved). First up: basic Bear facts.

Hopefully some of these factoids are new to some of you; I'm sure most of us have a good idea about the creation of the Bears, know George Halas, have heard of the Chicago Cardinals, etc., but this quick little list will hopefully in the least shore up some factual details about the Bears, and possibly enhance your Bears' knowledge in general. Quick hitter time!

  • The Chicago Bears began in 1919 as the Decatur Staleys, and were christened the Chicago Bears in 1922. They were known as the Chicago Staleys for one year, 1921.
  • The Bears are one of two charter members of the NFL, with the Chicago St. Louis Phoenix Arizona Cardinals being the other. The NFL was originally known as the American Professional Football Association (until ed_brown wrote a letter saying that was a stupid name).
  • The Bears hold the records for biggest margin of victory and most points scored thanks to a 73-0 drubbing of the Washington Redskins on December 8, 1940. Oh, and that was a championship game.
  • The first NFL game played indoors was in 1932, with the Bears defeating the Portmouth Spartans 9-0 to win the championship.
  • The Bears have won eighteen Division titles (Western, Central, and North), nine Championships, and made twenty-six playoff appearances.
  • George Halas got the Packers banned from the NFL for illegally using college players, and was instrumental in bringing the Pack back (you're welcome, Green Bay).
  • The first 1,000 yard running back in the NFL? Beattie Feathers in 1934. A Chicago Bear. And a man with a great name.
  • The Bears' first Hall of Fame inductee? George Halas, Red Grange, and Bronko Nagurski were all members of the 1963 Hall of Fame class. Red's real first name? Harold (not nearly as cool). Bronko's real first name? Bronislau (no comment).
  • George Halas is known as "Papa Bear." His other nickname? Mr. Everything. Halas coached a total of forty years for the Bears, won 68% of his games, and endured thirty-one ties.
  • In 1932, six of the Bears' fourteen games finished in a tie.
  • The Bears coach with the best winning percentage all-time? Ralph Jones (1930-32) 70%
  • The Bears coach with the worst winning percentage all-time? Abe Gibron (1972-74) 27%
  • The Bears have the most individual members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • The first African-American quarterback in the NFL? Willie Thrower, for the Bears in 1953.
  • Gale Sayers nickname? Known as "Gallopin' Gale" as a Bear, he was also known as the "Kansas Comet," having been born in Wichita, Kansas.
  • Thirteen jersey numbers are retired by the Bears. They are: 3, 5, 7, 28, 34, 40, 41, 42, 51, 56, 61, 66, 77.

You definitely know #34, and should know a lot more. If you know the great player who wore that jersey number, feel free to name them in the comments section to enlighten the rest of the audience. And feel free to throw in any other fun Bears' facts you've discovered along the way.

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