The 2018 World Cup is in full swing, and soccer fans around the globe are swept up in the frenzy. The best of the best in international soccer are squaring up to determine which country reigns supreme in the 21st edition of the quadrennial event. For those who follow the sport, it is an exciting time filled with drama and exuberance. For those who do not, however, all of the soccer talk can intensify the need for other sports, including American football, to return.
Luckily for us who know little about soccer, NFL.com has put together a series in which each NFL franchise’s all-time XI - or starting 11, in layman’s terms - would be. Adam Rank, an unabashed Chicago Bears fan, put together the top 11 players for each team in the NFC North. The group for the Bears is as follows, with “Papa Bear” George Halas as the team’s head coach:
- Walter Payton, RB
- Gale Sayers, RB
- Dick Butkus, LB
- Mike Singletary, LB
- Devin Hester, RS/WR
- Brian Urlacher, LB
- Red Grange, RB
- Bronko Nagurski, RB
- Bill George, LB
- Richard Dent, DE
- Sid Luckman, QB
Rank mentions Chicago’s deep history at the running back and linebacker positions, a history made evident by his rankings. When discussing the running backs on the list, he even takes a potshot at the Green Bay Packers, one that Bears fans will all enjoy.
This list is dominated by running backs, which makes sense. Walter Payton is the greatest player in NFL history, a fact of no dispute. And then you have Gale Sayers, Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski. Matt Forte doesn’t even make the list, but he’d be the best running back in history for a lot of franchises. Well, Green Bay, for sure.
He also mentioned that he wanted to put Jim McMahon in his all-time XI, but Luckman just edged him out.
This list seems to be close with the consensus for the Bears’ best 11 players of all time. If I were to nitpick, I would move up Dent and replace Grange with Doug Atkins, as he has Grange beat in All-Pro nominations and overall tenure, and has eight Pro Bowl appearances to his name. Other than that, though, the rankings seem to be pretty solid.
What would your “all-time Bears XI” be? Do you agree with Rank’s list?