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Bears could make history in futility Sunday

The winningest team in NFL history faces a season record never seen before

Washington Redskins v Chicago Bears Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In the 96-season history of the Chicago Bears, the team has finished with three wins just three times and they’ve finished with fewer than three wins only once in 1969.

With a road loss on Sunday the Bears could face some serious futility records: finishing 3-13 for the first time in team history, solidifying the worst record in a 16-game season in team history and finish 0-8 on the road for the first time ever.

The 2016 season seemed to go off the rails early, with the team’s razor thin depth and margin of error being tested early and the injuries haven’t stopped piling on since.

Chicago limps in to Week 17 with 19 players on injured reserve, including at least nine starters and a couple more that would at least be key back ups.

In a 9-on-9 drill, Team Injured Reserve would likely be favored over the current Bears starting cast.

Things are bad, indeed, but the Bears are all but assured the third overall pick in next year’s draft. They could lose it with a win and a Jacksonville loss but even if both teams finish with four wins, the Bears hold the strength of schedule tiebreaker.

However a high draft pick is no guarantee that the right player is selected or that the team’s fortunes will begin to turn.

A little history

The Bears have been playing football since 1920 and in the 96 seasons since they’ve had four seasons with three or fewer wins but never in a 16-game season or a season that wasn’t without a caveat.

The worst record the Bears have ever had was in 1969 when they went 1-13. Infamously, the bears lost a coin toss with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the No. 1 overall selection and missed out on drafting Terry Bradshaw.

All other seasons with three wins came before the 16-game schedule or due to other factors. Mike Ditka’s first season on the Bears sideline in 1982 resulted in just three wins but the season was only nine games long due to a players’ strikes.

The first three-win season came way back in 1945 when the team finished 3-7 but George Halas and many of the Bears’ best players were fighting in World War II and the season was shortened by a game.

The only other three-win season came in 1973 during Abe Gibron’s second year. The schedule was only 14 games long in those days.

The Bears will play a fledgling Minnesota Vikings team Sunday, that comes in riding a two-game losing streak and has been knocked out of the playoffs after a 5-0 start.

It’s a winnable game for sure and there would be some pride in avoiding an all-time worst season finish but is it a game fans want to see the team win with a top-three pick right there for the taking?