In 1919, the Decatur Staleys won the Central Illinois Championship with a record of 6-1. The new team would later join the American Professional Football Association in 1920, known today as the National Football League. The Staleys finished second in the league to eventual champion, the Akron Pros with a record of 10-1-2.
The Staleys relocated to Chicago in 1921 and won the APFA Championship with a league-best record of 9-1-1. Despite finishing every season but one from 1922 to 1931, the team now known as the Chicago Bears failed to secure an NFL Title, mainly due to the NFL simply naming NFL Champions with the best record in the regular season in favor of holding playoff games.
In 1932, the Bears were named NFL Champions after finishing with a record of 7-1-6, before winning the Championship again in 1933, the first season the NFL held playoff games over the New York Giants.
One of the NFL’s greatest dynasties came to life from 1932 to 1946, arguably rivaled only by the New England Patriots‘ 2001-present run. In this timespan, the Bears won the NFL Championship in 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, and 1946 while appearing in the 1934, 1937, and 1942 Championship Games.
The Bears also won the NFL Western Division eight times in that timespan.
Despite playing in two NFL Championship Games between 1947 and 1963, the Bears’ winning ways continued, finishing with thirteen winning seasons in the same span, ultimately defeating the Giants to secure the 1963 NFL Championship.
The team’s first lean period started in 1964, 46 seasons after the franchise’s founding. The Bears failed to make another playoff appearance until 1977 and wouldn’t win another playoff game until 1984.
1984 would be the first of many excellent seasons for the Bears, who went on to win five straight NFC Central Division Championships while winning their first Super Bowl in1985 to cap off a memorable 18-1 season. Some regard the 1985 Bears as the NFL’s best team during the Super Bowl Era.
Lean seasons again struck the Bears after 1990, where the team would win only one playoff game between 1991 and 2004 while winning only one NFC Central Title in 2001.
The Bears found their momentum once more in 2005 by winning the NFC North before losing in the Divisional Playoffs. In 2006, the Bears found themselves back in the Super Bowl after a 22-season layoff, losing to the Indianapolis Colts.
Since 2006, the Bears have had more down seasons than up, winning the NFC North again in 2010 before falling to eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. The Bears wouldn’t see the playoffs again until 2018, when they would win their first NFC North Title in nine seasons. However, they would lose in the NFC Wildcard Playoffs to the Philadelphia Eagles on a missed field goal.
Despite the Bears’ struggles, the team appears to be poised for success. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and edge rusher Khalil Mack lead a rugged, talented team that lacks flash but possesses a solid skillset. The Bears can definitely build on their success in 2018 and it won’t be surprising if they make a deep run into the playoffs.
Chicago Bears Quick Hits
Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
Navy blue, burnt orange
Staley Da Bear
Monsters of the Midway
William Perry, Walter Payton, Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Brian Urlacher
The Bears currently play in the oldest venue in the NFL
Main Article: The Chicago Bears Helmet History
Main Article: Chicago Bears Jersey History