Chicago Bears

My All Time Favorite Chicago Bears Players

Since the NFL’s inception, the Chicago Bears have been a vital part of the league’s fabric. One of the classic football franchises (one of the two original NFL teams still in existence), the Bears are known for their punishing brand of black and blue football. Referred to as “The Monsters of the Midway”, the Bears have been one of the elite franchises in the history of the NFL. The team has had some of the greatest players in football history wear the Dark Navy, Orange and White. When you think of great Chicago Bears, you generally think of defense, especially punishing linebackers. Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, Brian Urlacher are all considered some of the best linebackers in NFL history.

While many consider the best players to play for the Bears to be defenders, one of the greatest offensive weapons played for the Bears. The running back position for the Bears is one of the most prestigious in the entire NFL. That’s what happens when you have players like Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, and Red Grange. So whether you like backs, centers, QBs, or receivers, there’s a great Bears player at that position, to be sure.

The Bears have won nine championships in its illustrious history, which includes one Super Bowl berth. From that special 1985 team, you’ll find many of the defensive stars on this list. They are considered one of the greatest defenses of all time, so you would expect them to be considered some of the best Bears players ever.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACKS

Sid Luckman

Sid Luckman - Chicago Bears

1948 Leaf #1 Rookie Card

During his 12 seasons with the Chicago Bears, Luckman led the Bears to four NFL Championships. The man is the only Chicago Bear quarterback in the Hall of Fame, making him the greatest quarterback in Bears history.  Not only was Luckman the first modern T-Formation quarterback, but he also was regarded as the best deep passer of his time.  Luckman’s best season as a Chicago Bear came in 1943 when he threw for 28 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. He also had a quarterback rating of 107.5 that year; all were career highs. It’s evident that the Bears have not had a solid winning quarterback since Luckman, with some exceptions, including Jim McMahon.

Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon - Chicago Bears

1983 Topps #33 Rookie Card

 

Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler - Denver Broncos - Chicago Bears

2006 Donruss Gridiron #162 Rookie Card

 

Red Grange

Red Grange - Chicago Bears
1955 Topps #27 Rookie Card

The Galloping Ghost not only played halfback for the Bears, but helped legitimize the NFL. He also had a short stint in baseball with the New York Yankees.
After playing college football at Illinois, Grange is considered the greatest college football player of all-time. Grange brought in fans on a tour to play teams on the road, like an exhibit.

Fans loved Grange and wanted to see him play, this would lead to the interest from the NFL. Grange won back to back NFL Championships with the Bears in 1932-33, and was a key player on both those teams.

RUNNING BACKS

Walter Payton

1976 Topps #142 Rookie Card

The late great Walter Payton, also known as “Sweetness”, is undoubtedly the greatest Chicago Bear of all-time.  Payton, in my opinion, is the greatest running back in NFL history. He tore up defenses like it was easy; juking defenders and making them miss was his specialty. He could also run over you, if he had to.  Payton was drafted in 1975, as the fourth overall pick. Although he didn’t have a successful rookie season, he broke out in 1976 when he was selected as MVP of the Pro-Bowl.  On November 20, 1977 Payton broke the single game rushing record against the Minnesota Vikings when he rushed for 275 yards. This record would later be broken. Payton also held the all-time rushing record, before Emmitt Smith broke it a couple of decades later.  The way Payton ran was incredible. He was just a pure offensive force, that struck fear into defenders’ eyes. Payton helped lead the Bears to a Super Bowl win in 1985, although sadly enough, he did not score in the game.  Payton passed away on November 1, 1999. His legacy will always be remembered by the NFL and the Chicago Bears.

Gale Sayers

Gale Sayers - Chicago Bears

1966 Topps #38 Rookie Card

Also known as the “Kansas Comet,” Sayers had a very short but amazing NFL career. If it wasn’t for injuries that ended his playing career, Sayers would be higher on the list, as possibly the best Bear ever to play.  Sayers was a deadly half back, and when he got in the open field, he was gone. Sayers was drafted by the Bears in 1965 and scored a NFL record 22 touchdowns that season. Sayers had an immediate impact on the game not only rushing, but in the receiving and return game, too.  In his rookie year, he had 1,374 yards from scrimmage, and 3,917 all purpose yards. On December 12, 1965 Sayers scored six touchdowns, a record that still stands.  Sayers had a excellent career and was named to four Pro-Bowls. One can only imagine how his career would have turned out if he would have kept playing.

Matt Forte

Matt Forte - Chicago Bears

2008 Topps Chrome #TC191 Rookie Card

 

Bronko Nagurski

1935 National Chicle #34 Rookie Card

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Harlon Hill

Harlon Hill - Chicago Bears

1955 Bowman #33 Rookie Card

 

Johnny Morris

Johnny Morris - Chicago Bears

Topps #11 Rookie Card

 

Ken Kavenaugh

Ken Kavenaugh - Chicago Bears

1948 Leaf #23 Rookie Card

 

TIGHT ENDS

Mike Ditka

Mike Ditka - Chicago Bears

1962 Topps #17 Rookie Card

“Da Coach” is one of the greatest Bears of all-time not because of his playing career, but mainly because of his coaching.  He was a five time Pro-Bowl tight end, and one of the best in Bears history.  He is the only coach to lead the Bears to a Super Bowl win, with that amazing 1985 team. When Ditka was hired in 1982, he brought a toughness to the Bears that nobody had before. He worked the players hard, to ultimately achieve their goal in 1985.  Ditka was drafted fifth overall in 1961, and had an immediate impact. He caught 56 passes for the Bears that year, and helped establish the tight end position as more than just a blocking position.

Emery Moorehead

Emery Moorehead - New York Giants - Chicago Bears

1978 Topps #228 Rookie Card

 

OFFENSIVE LINEMENT

OT – Ed Healey (1922-1927)

OG – Danny Fortmann (1936-1943)

Jay Hilgenberg

Jay Hilgenberg - Chicago Bears

1986 Topps #17 Rookie Card

 

Stan Jones

Stan Jones - Chicago Bears

1956 Topps #71 Rookie Card

 

Joe Stydahar

Joe Stydahar - Los Angeles Rams - Chicago Bears

1952 Bowman #99 Rookie Card

 

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Richard Dent

Richard Dent - Chicago Bears

1985 Topps #24 Rookie Card

DT – George Musso (1933-1944)

Dan Hampton

Dan Hampton - Chicago Bears

1981 Topps #316 Rookie Card

 

Doug Atkins

Doug Atkins - Cleveland Browns - Chicago Bears

1954 Bowman #4 Rookie Card

Atkins was one of the best defensive ends in NFL history. He revolutionized the position and made it an important part of the defense.  Atkins had incredible size for his position during his playing years. At 6′8″, he forced quarterbacks to alter their throws over or around him, as he would bat a lot of them away.  Atkins became a Pro-Bowl starter in eight of his last nine years as a Bear, before being traded to the Saints. Atkins has paved the way for a rich amount of dominant defensive ends in the NFL.

Julius Peppers

Julius Peppers - Carolina Panthers - Chicago Bears

2002 Bowman Chrome #135 Rookie Card

 

LINEBACKERS

Dick Butkus

Dick Butkus - Chicago Bears

1966 Philadelphia #31 Rookie Card

Butkus is considered the best linebacker of his generation, and one of the best of all-time.  The Bears drafted Butkus in 1965, and he lead the team in tackles, interceptions, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries that season.  Butkus had a tenacious attitude for the game, and took it out on opposing players. Being a big middle linebacker, he struck fear in the offenses and showed no mercy on anyone.  He was selected to eight Pro-Bowls in his career. He was named the 70th Greatest Athlete of the 20th century, as well as the ninth best player in NFL history by The Sporting News.  Butkus’ relationship with Halas caused him to retire early, because of a dispute that occurred when Butkus played on a torn knee when he shouldn’t have. Still, Butkus is considered one of the best ever to play the game.

Mike Singletary

Mike Singletary - Chicago Bears

1983 Topps #38 Rookie Card

Singletary led one of the greatest defenses in NFL history.  Dubbed “Samurai” Mike for his focus and intensity, Singletary was a force for opposing offenses week in and week out.  The Bears drafted Singletary in the second round of the 1981 draft, and he started in the seventh game of the season. He went on to start in 172 games in his 12 year career, all with the Bears.  Leading the Bears in the remarkable 1985 season, Singletary finished with 109 tackles, three sacks, and an interception. He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award that season, with a Bears team that finished number one overall in defense. Singletary was also a 10 time Pro-Bowl player.

Bill George

Bill George - Chicago Bears

1956 Topps #47 Rookie Card

George was a fierce linebacker for the Bears in the 1950’s. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974. George is considered one of the first true middle linebackers in the game.  He also “accidentally” created the 4-3 defense, by his tendency to hit the center. He then dropped back, creating a four man front.  George was elected to eight straight Pro-Bowls from 1955 to 1962. George led a fierce 1963 Bears defense that won the NFL Championship, and is considered by a lot to be the “meanest football player.”

Brian Urlacher

Brian Urlacher - Chicago Bears

2000 Bowman Chrome #178 Rookie Card

 

Lance Briggs

Lance Briggs - Chicago Bears

2003 Bowman #120 Rookie Card

 

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Donnell Wolford

Donnell Wolford - Chicago Bears

1989 Score #247 Rookie Card

 

Roosevelt Taylor

Roosevelt Taylor - Chicago Bears

1964 Philadelphia #25 Rookie Card

 

Mark Carrier

Mark Carrier - Chicago Bears

1990 Pro Set #647 Rookie Card

 

Gary Fencik

Gary Fencik - Chicago Bears

1978 Topps #497 Rookie Card

 

Richie Petitbon

Richie Petibon - Chicago Bears

1962 Topps #23 Rookie Card

 

Dave Duerson

Dave Duerson - Chicago Bears

1986 Topps #27 Rookie Card

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Kevin Butler

Kevin Butler - Chicago Bears

1986 Topps #18 Rookie Card

P – George Gulyanics (1947-1952)

PR – George McAfee

George McAfee - Chicago Bears

1948 Leaf #19 Rookie Card

 

KR – Gale Sayers

Gale Sayers - Chicago Bears

1966 Topps #38 Rookie Card

 

HEAD COACHES

George Halas

George Halas - Chicago Bears

1952 Bowman #48 Rookie Card

George Halas did everything for the Chicago Bears as a player and a coach.  Halas brought a football team to Decatur in 1920 and called them the Staleys. Halas not only played, but he coached, did ticket sales and ran the business of the team.  Halas had a shining moment when he striped Jim Thrope and returned the ball 98 yards for a touchdown, a record that would stand until 1972. Halas also signed Red Grange to the Bears, giving the league more popularity.  Halas is considered a man who made the NFL exist and succeed. Halas also created a version of the T-Formation.  Halas career is marked by with 63 years of ownership, 40 as a coach, 324 wins, eight NFL Championships, and being a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

 

NICKNAME

  • Named Bears as a companion to baseball’s Cubs, whom they shared Wrigley Field with at the time.

HEAD COACHES

  • George Halas (1920-1929)
  • Ralph Jones (1930-1932)
  • George Halas (1933-1942)
  • Hunk Anderson/Luke Johnsos (1942-1945)
  • George Halas (1946-1955)
  • Paddy Driscoll (1956-1957)
  • George Halas (1958-1967)
  • Jim Dooley (1968-1971)
  • Abe Gibron (1972-1974)
  • Jack Pardee (1975-1977)
  • Neill Armstrong (1978-1981)
  • Mike Ditka (1982-1992)
  • Dave Wannstedt (1993-1998)
  • Dick Jauron (1999-2003)
  • Lovie Smith (2004-2012)
  • Marc Trestman (2013-2014)
  • John Fox (2015-Present)

SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS

  • Super Bowl XX (1985) – Chicago Bears defeat New England Patriots 46-10

NFL CHAMPIONS (PRE-1966)

  • 1921
  • 1932
  • 1933
  • 1940
  • 1941
  • 1943
  • 1946
  • 1963

SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES

  • Super Bowl XX (1985) – Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots
  • Super Bowl XLI (2006) – Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts

NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (PRE-1966)

  • 1933, 1934, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946, 1956, 1963

NFL/NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

  • 1984, 1985, 1988, 2006, 2010

DIVISION CHAMPIONS

  • 1921, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946, 1956, 1963, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES

  • 1933, 1934, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1946, 1950, 1956, 1963, 1977, 1979, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1994, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010

PLAYOFF RECORD

  • 17-18 .486

HALL OF FAME PLAYERS

  • Doug Atkins WR (1955-1966)
  • Dick Butkus LB (1965-1973)
  • George Blanda QB/PK (1949-1958)
  • Guy Chambers E (1920-1921)
  • George Connor T (1948-1955)
  • Jimmy Conzelman RB (1920)
  • Richard Dent DE (1983-1993, 1995)
  • Mike Ditka TE (1961-1966)
  • Paddy Driscoll RB (1920, 1926-1929)
  • Jim Finks GM (1974-1983)
  • Danny Fortmann G (1936-1943)
  • Bill George G/LB (1952-1965)
  • Red Grange RB (1925, 1929-1934)
  • Dan Hampton DE (1979-1990)
  • Ed Healey T (1922-1927)
  • Bill Hewitt E (1932-1936)
  • Stan Jones T (1954-1965)
  • Walt Kiesling G (1934)
  • Bobby Layne QB (1948)
  • Sid Luckman QB (1939-1950)
  • Link Lyman T (1926-1928, 1930-1931,1933-1934)
  • George McAfee RB (1940-1941, 1945-1950)
  • George Musso G (1933-1944)
  • Bronko Nagurski FB (1930-1937, 1943)
  • Allan Page DT (1978-1981)
  • Walter Payton RB (1975-1987)
  • Gale Sayers RB (1965-1971)
  • Mike Singletary LB (1981-1992)
  • George Trafton C (1920-1932)
  • Bulldog Turner C (1940-1952)

HALL OF FAME COACHES

  • George Halas Coach (1920-1929, 1933-1942, 1946-1955, 1958-1967)
    Owner (1920-1983) 
  • Jim Finks GM (1974-1983)

RETIRED NUMBERS

  • 3 Bronko Nagurski FB (1930-1937, 1943)
  • 5 George McAfee RB (1940-1941, 1945-1950)
  • 7 George Halas End (1920-1929)
  • 28 Willie Galimore RB (1957-1963)
  • 34 Walter Payton RB (1975-1987)
  • 40 Gale Sayers RB (1965-1971)
  • 41 Brian Piccolo RB (1966-1969)
  • 42 Sid Luckman QB (1939-1950)
  • 51 Dick Butkus LB (1965-1973)
  • 56 Bill Hewitt End (1932-1936)
  • 61 Bill George G/LB (1952-1965)
  • 66 Bulldog Turner C (1940-1952)
  • 77 Red Grange RB (1925, 1929-1934)
  • 89 Mike Ditka (1961-1972)

PRO BOWL MVP

  • 1953 Doug Atkins WR
  • 1967 Gayle Sayers RB
  • 1970 Gayle Syaers RB
  • 1978 Walter Payton RB

SUPER BOWL MVP

  • Super Bowl XX – Richard Dent DE (1985)

 

©MMXVI My All Time Favorites, all pictures and logos, team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the NFL or Chicago Bears.  All Football Cards are low resolution scans from a personal collection and each is credited with the production company name and year.  This site is maintained for research purposes only.

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