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All-Time Teams: Chicago Bears



Introduction

In my endless research of all things football and through my passion for the history of the NFL, I have decided to try and compile an All-Time Team for all 32 current NFL franchises. By All-Time Team I mean a starting roster compiled of the very best players to ever put on each franchise’s jersey. I will be starting in alphabetical order by current franchise location, so Arizona Cardinals all the way to The Washington Football Team, with the goal of releasing one to two All-Time teams a week for the duration of the current NFL season. This is meant to be fun and cause some debate and is based on my opinion after all my research and deep dives into each franchise’s history. Of course, not everyone will agree with who I chose, and I’d love to hear from anyone who agrees or disagrees, but first, let’s lay out some ground rules for how I came up with each team.


1. Each team roster will consist of the following:

Offense - 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 2 OT, 2 OG, 1 C

Defense - 2 DE, 2 DT, 3 LB, 2 CB, 2 S

Special Teams - 1 K, 1 P, 1 Returner

Coach - 1 Head Coach


2. I only considered an individual’s stats and contributions with each specific franchise. For example, Peyton Manning’s years with the Broncos were not considered when deciding on the starting QB of the Colts All-Time Team. As a result, the stats and awards listed with each individual player are only those that were achieved with that specific franchise.


3. A player cannot represent two teams as the starter. Players who spent time with more than one team were considered for the franchise they spent the most time with or had the most impact on. This rule led to some interesting scenarios that I will discuss in detail with each specific article to try and clear up any confusion.


4. A player’s stats and impact were considered in context with their era. This won’t simply be a listing of who passed or ran for the most yards in franchise history.


5. All stats are from Pro-Football-Reference and through the 2021 season. I will also be counting sacks from 1960, though the NFL doesn't officially count sacks until 1982.


6. Players in the "Honorable Mentions" section are ordered by year. It's not an indication of where I believe they rank in franchise history.


Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!


Chicago Bears All-Time Team


Franchise Information

First Season: 1920

  1. Decatur Staleys (1920)

  2. Chicago Staleys (1921)

  3. Chicago Bears (1922-Present)

Record: 783-610-42 (56.21 W-L%)

Playoff Record: 17-20

Super Bowls Won: 1 (1985) (Lost in 2006)

Pre-Super Bowl Championships Won: 8 (1921, 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946 and 1963) (Lost in 1934, 1937, 1942 and 1956)

Passing Leader: Jay Cutler 2,020/3,271 | 23,443 Yds | 154 TD

Rushing Leader: Walter Payton 3,383 Att | 16,726 Yds | 110 TD

Receiving Leader: Johnny Morris 356 Rec | 5,059 Yds | 31 TD

Sack Leader: Richard Dent 124.5 Sk

Interception Leader: Gary Fencik 38 Int

Scoring Leader: Robbie Gould 1,207 Points

Winningest Coach: George Halas 318-148-31


QB: Sid Luckman (1939-1950)

Record: 98-32-3 | 51.8 Cmp%| 14,686 Yds | 137 TD | 132 Int | 4 Rush TD | Led League in Cmp% 1941 (57.1%) | Led League in Yds/A 1943, 1946, 1947 (10.9, 8, 8.4) | Led League in Yds 1943, 1945, 1946 (2,194, 1,727, 1,826) | Led League in TD 1943, 1945, 1946 (28, 14, 17) | Led League in Yds/G 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946 (219.4, 145.4, 172.7, 166) | Led League in QB Rating 1941, 1943, 1946 (95.3, 107.5, 71) | 3x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 42) | 5x All-Pro (41, 42, 43, 44, 47) | 1943 MVP | 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946 NFL Champion | 1942 NFL Championship Appearance | Hall of Fame All-1940s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1965


The Bears haven't had a true franchise quarterback in over 70 years. Not since the great Sid Luckman. His name gets lost sometimes when discussing the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but it's due more to the fact that he played over 70 years ago than it is due to his play on the field. He was one of the first great passers in NFL history. Luckman led the league in every major passing category multiple times during his 12 seasons in Chicago. His best statistical season came in 1943 where he led the league in yards, touchdowns, yards per attempt, yards per game and quarterback rating and was named league MVP. He guided the Bears to five championship appearances, winning four of them. At retirement, Luckman was number two all-time in completions, yards and touchdowns. It took over 60 years for his franchise records to be broken by Jay Cutler. He was named to the Hall of Fame All-1940s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Joey Sternaman (1922-1930) | Record: 74-33-17 | 20 Rush TD | 4 Rec TD | 2x All-Pro (24, 25)

  2. Keith Molesworth (1931-1937) | Record: 38-8-7 | 38.1 Cmp% | 1,486 Yds | 18 TD | 19 Int | 1,105 Rush Yds | 8 Rush TD | 1932 and 1933 NFL Champion | 1934 NFL Championship Appearance

  3. Berine Masterson (1934-1940) | Record: 38-16-3 | 38.1 Cmp% | 3,366 Yds | 34 TD | 38 Int | 6 Rush TD | Led League in TD 1937 (9) | 1x Pro-Bowl (40) | 1937 Championship Appearance

  4. Johnny Lujack (1948-1951) | Record: 35-13 | 50 Cmp% | 6,295 Yds | 41 TD | 54 Int | 742 Rush Yds | 21 Rush TD | Led League in Cmp 1949 (162) | Led League in Yds 1949 (2,658) | Led League in TD 1949 (23) | Led League in Yds/A 1949 (8.5) | Led League in Yds/G 1949 (221.5) | Led League in Rush TD 1950 (11) | 2x Pro-Bowl (50, 51) | 1x All-Pro (50)

  5. Ed Brown (1954-1961) | Record: 39-25-2 | 48.7 Cmp% | 9,698 Yds | 63 TD | 88 Int | 841 Rush Yds | 10 Rush TD | Led League in Cmp% 1956 (57.1%) | Led League in Yds/A | 1956 (9.9) | Led League in QB Rating 1956 (83.1) | 2x Pro-Bowl (55, 56) | 1956 Championship Appearance

  6. Billy Wade (1961-1966) | Record: 27-20-2 | 54.5 Cmp% | 9,958 Yds | 68 TD | 66 Int | 647 Rush Yds | 14 Rush TD | Led League in Cmp 1962 (225) | Led League in QB Rating 1961 (93.7) | 1x Pro-Bowl (63) | 1963 NFL Champion

  7. Jim McMahon (1982-1988) | Record: 46-15 | 57.8 Cmp% | 11,203 Yds | 67 TD | 56 Int | 1,284 Rush Yds | 15 Rush TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (85) | 1985 Super Bowl Champion

  8. Rex Grossman (2003-2008) | Record: 19-12 | 54.2 Cmp% | 6,164 Yds | 33 TD | 35 Int | 80 Rush Yds | 3 Rush TD | 2006 NFC Champion

  9. Jay Cutler (2009-2016) | Record 51-51 | 61.8 Cmp% | 23,443 Yds | 154 TD | 109 Int | 1,227 Rush Yds | 6 Rush TD


RB: Walter Payton (1975-1987)

4.4 Yds/A | 16,726 Yds | 110 TD | 492 Rec | 4,538 Rec Yds | 15 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 1977 (1,852) | Led League in TD 1977 (14) | Led League in Yds/A 1977 (5.5) | Led League Yds/G 1977 (132.3) | Led League YScm 1977, 1978 (2,121, 1,875) | Led League in RRTD 1977 (16) | 9x Pro-Bowl (76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 83, 84, 85, 86) | 5x All-Pro (76, 77, 80, 84, 85) | 1977 MVP | 1977 Offensive Player of the Year | 1977 Walter Payton Man of the Year | 1985 Bert Bell | Hall of Fame All-1970s Team | Hall of Fame All-1980s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1993


Walter Payton may be the greatest running back to ever live and no one in their right mind has him outside of their top three. Payton was one of the most powerful and versatile backs to ever play the game. He is currently number two in yards and five in touchdowns in NFL history and was number one in both at the time of his retirement. Payton went over 1,000 yards rushing in 10 of his 13 seasons in Chicago and had at least 10 touchdowns in five of them. His best season came in 1977 where he was named league MVP after rushing for 5.5 yards per carry, 1,852 yards, 14 touchdowns, and had 2,121 yards from scrimmage and 16 rushing and receiving touchdowns, all of which led the league. Payton was named to the Pro-Bowl nine times, All-Pro Team five times, both the Hall of Fame All-1970s and All-1980s Teams and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993. Only two other backs in NFL history (Brown and Sanders) are even in the discussion with Payton as the greatest running back of all time.

RB: Gale Sayers (1965-1971)

5.0 Yds/A | 4,956 Yds | 39 TD | 112 Rec | 1,307 Rec Yds | 9 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 1966, 1969 (1,231, 1,032) | Led League in Yds/A 1968 (6.2) | Led League in Yds/G 1966, 1968 and 1969 (87.9, 95, 73.7) | Led League in YScm 1966 (1,678) | 4x Pro-Bowl (65, 66, 67, 69) | 5x All-Pro (65, 66, 67, 68, 69) | 1965 Offensive Rookie of the Year | Hall of Fame All-1960s | Hall of Fame Class 1977


Gale Sayers is one of the biggest "what ifs" in NFL history. From 1965-1969, Sayers was one of the greatest all-purpose backs the league had ever seen. If it wasn't for a career ending injury, he might have ended up on everyone's Mount Rushmore of running backs. Those five seasons were still enough to land Gale Sayers in the Hall of Fame in 1977. He led the league in rushing twice and yards from scrimmage once. Three different seasons he averaged over five yards per attempt, including an absurd 6.2 in 1968. Sayers was also one of the best returners in NFL history, but we'll get to that later. Everyone knows Sayers amazing six touchdown game where he scored four on the ground, one through the air and one on a return. It's a shame we weren't able to see Sayers have a full career. Four other running backs for the Bears are in the Hall of Fame, Paddy Driscoll, Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski and George McAfee.



Honorable Mentions

  1. Paddy Driscoll (1920, 1926-1929) | 12 TD | 1 Rec TD | 3x All-Pro (20, 26, 27) | Hall of Fame All-1920s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1965

  2. Red Grange (1925, 1929-1934) | 3.3 Yds/A | 569 Yds | 20 TD | 16 Rec | 288 Rec Yds | 10 Rec TD | Led League in RRTD 1932 (7) | 2x All-Pro (30, 31) | Hall of Fame All-1920s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1963

  3. Bronko Naguraski (1930-1937, 1943) | 4.4 Yds/A | 2,778 Yds | 25 TD | 11 Rec | 134 Rec Yds | 4x All-Pro (32, 33, 34, 36) | Hall of Fame All-1930s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1963

  4. Jack Manders (1933-1940) | 3.5 Yds/A | 1,586 Yds | 11 TD | 15 Rec | 260 Rec Yds | 6 Rec TD | Led League in Yds/Tch 1937 (6) | 2x All-Pro (34, 37)

  5. Beattie Feathers (1934-1937) | 5.5 Yds/A | 1,846 Yds | 14 TD | 11 Rec | 197 Rec Yds | 1 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 1934 (1,004) | Led League in TD 1934 (8) | Led League in Yds/A 1934 (8.4) | Led League in Yds/G 1934 (91.3) | Led League in Yds/Rec 1934 (9.4) | Led League in YScm 1934 (1,178) | Led League in RRTD 1934 (9) | 1x All-Pro (34) | Hall of Fame All-1930s

  6. Ray Nolting (1936-1943) | 4.5 Yds/A | 2,285 Yds | 10 TD | 30 Rec | 508 Rec Yds | 3 Rec TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (40, 41)

  7. Gary Famiglietti (1938-1945) | 3.8 Yds/A | 1,927 Yds | 20 TD | 11 Rec | 170 Rec Yds | 1 Rec TD | Led League in TD 1942 (8) | 3x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 42)

  8. Bill Osmanski (1939-1947) | 4.8 Yds/A | 1,753 Yds | 20 TD | 12 Rec | 170 Rec Yds | 1 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 1939 (699) | Led League in Yds/G 1939 (69.9) | Led League in Yds/A 1941 (5.3) | 3x Pro-Bowl (39, 40, 41) | 1x All-Pro (39) | Hall of Fame All-1940s Team

  9. Ray McLean (1940-1947) | 5.4 Yds/A | 412 Yds | 5 TD | 103 Rec | 2,232 Rec Yds | 21 Rec TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (40,41)

  10. George McAfee (1940-1950) | 4.9 Yds/A | 1,685 Yds | 21 TD | 85 Rec | 1,359 Rec Yds | 11 Rec TD | Led League Yds/Rec 1941 (8.6) | 1x Pro-Bowl (41) | 1x All-Pro (41) | Hall of Fame All-1940s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1966

  11. Hugh Gallarneau (1941-1942, 1945-1947) | 4.1 Yds/A | 1,421 Yds | 26 TD | 51 Rec | 794 Rec Yds | 7 Rec TD | Led League in TD 1941 (8) | 1x Pro-Bowl (41)

  12. John Hoffman (1949-1956) | 4.3 Yds/A | 1,366 Yds | 7 TD | 136 Rec | 1,870 Rec Yds | 9 Rec TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (53, 55)

  13. Rick Casares (1955-1964) | 4.1 Yds/A | 5,657 Yds | 49 TD | 182 Rec | 1,538 Rec Yds | 10 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 1956 (1,126) | Led League in TD 1956 (12) | Led League in Yds/A 1955 (5.4) | Led League in Yds/G 1956 (93.8) | Led League in RRTD 1956 (14) | 5x Pro-Bowl (55, 56, 57, 58, 59) | 1x All-Pro (56)

  14. Willie Galimore (1957-1963) | 4.5 Yds/A | 2,985 Yds | 26 TD | 87 Rec | 1,201 Rec Yds | 10 Rec TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (58)

  15. Matt Shuey (1980-1989) | 3.6 Yds/A | 2,946 Yds | 20 TD | 260 Rec | 2,113 Rec Yds | 5 Rec TD

  16. Neal Anderson (1986-1993) | 4.1 Yds/A | 6,166 Yds | 51 TD | 302 Rec | 2,763 Rec Yds | 20 Rec TD | 4x Pro-Bowl (88, 89, 90, 91)

  17. Matt Forte (2008-2015) | 4.2 Yds/A | 8,602 Yds | 45 TD | 487 Rec | 4,116 Rec Yds | 19 Rec TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (11, 13)


Bill Hewitt (1932-1936)

52 Rec | 939 Yds | 13 TD | Led League in TD 1934 (5) | 3x All-Pro (33, 34, 36) | Hall of Fame All-1930s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1971


Starting off at wide receiver is Bill Hewitt. His stats aren't anything to look at in comparison to today's game, but in his time, Hewitt was one of the best two way ends in the game. Twice he was in the top three in receiving yards, and twice he was in the top two for receiving touchdowns, including a league leading five in 1934. He was voted to the All-Pro Team in 1933, 1934 and 1936 and was a key member of two NFL Championship teams. Hewitt is also famous for refusing to wear a helmet throughout his whole career until the NFL made him wear one in 1939 with the Eagles. When he retired in 1939, he ranked fourth all time in receptions, third all time in yards and third all time in touchdowns. Hewitt was named to the Hall of Fame All-1930s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.


WR: Johnny Morris (1958-1967)

356 Rec | 5,059 Yds | 31 TD | Led League in Rec 1964 (93) | Led League in Yds 1964 (1,200) | Led League in TD 1964 (10) | Led League in Yds/G 1964 (85.7) | Led League in Yds/Rec 1964 (12.9) | 1x Pro-Bowl (60) | 1x All-Pro (64)

Bears are a little thinner at wide receiver in comparison to other positions as we come to the first player not in the Hall of Fame. Johnny Morris is the franchise leader in yards, even after some 50+ years. His best season came in 1964 where he led the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He was a consistent receiver for 10 seasons with the Bears and was a key member of their 1963 Championship team.


WR: Harlon Hill (1954-1961)

226 Rec | 4,616 Yds | 40 TD | Led League in Yds/Rec 1954, 1956 (25, 24) | Led League in TD 1954, 1955 (12, 9) | Led League in RRTD 1954, 1955 (12, 9) | 3x Pro-Bowl (54, 55, 56) | 2x All-Pro (55, 56)


Harlon Hill is the final wide receiver for the All-Time Bears. If you know anything about Division II football, his name might sound familiar. The Harlon Hill Trophy is Division II's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Hill led the league in receptions and touchdowns on two different occasions and was named to three straight Pro-Bowls from 1954-1956. He was also named to the All-Pro Team in 1955 and 1956. I struggled with this selection and strongly considered Brandon Marshall and Ken Kavanaugh here. But Marshall was only with the Bears for three seasons and Kavanaugh had less catches and less yards in more seasons than Hill, although he does have the franchise record in touchdowns.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Luke Johnsos (1929-1936) | 58 Rec | 985 Yds | 20 TD | Led League in TD 1933 (3) | Led League in Yds/G 1933 (33.1) | 2x All-Pro (30, 31)

  2. Bill Karr (1933-1938) | 48 Rec | 1,032 Yds | 18 TD | Led League in TD 1933, 1935 (3, 6) | Led League in RRTD 1935 (6) | 1x All-Pro (35)

  3. George Wilson (1937-1946) | 111 Rec | 1,342 Yds | 15 TD | 3x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 42) | 1x All-Pro (42)

  4. Ken Kavanaugh (1940-1950) | 162 Rec | 3,626 Yds | 50 TD | Led League in TD 1947, 1949 (13, 9) | Led League in RRTD 1947 (13) | 2x Pro-Bowl (40, 41) | Hall of Fame All-1940s

  5. Gene Schroeder (1951-1957) | 104 Rec | 1,870 Yds | 13 TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (52)

  6. Dick Gordon (1965-1971) | 238 Rec | 3,550 Yds | 35 TD | Led League in Rec 1970 (71) | Led League in TD 1970 (13) | Led League in RRTD 1970 (13) | 2x Pro-Bowl (70, 71) | 1x All-Pro (70)

  7. Willie Gault (1983-1987) | 184 Rec | 3,650 Yds | 27 TD

  8. Marty Booker (1999-2003, 2008) | 329 Rec | 3,895 Yds | 25 TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (02)

  9. Brandon Marshall (2012-2014) | 279 Rec | 3,524 Yds | 31 TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (12, 13) | 1x All-Pro (12)

  10. Alshon Jeffery (2012-2018) | 304 Rec | 4,549 Yds | 26 TD | Led League in Yds/Rec 2013 (14.5) | 1x Pro-Bowl (13)


TE: Mike Dtika (1961-1966)

316 Rec | 4,503 Yds | 34 TD | 5x Pro-Bowl (61, 62, 63, 64, 65) | 2x All-Pro (63, 64) | 1961 Offensive Rookie of the Year | Hall of Fame Class 1988


Now back to Hall of Famers, we come to Iron Mike Ditka. Ditka is one of the best tight ends in NFL history and one of the first pass catchers who everyone was afraid to tackle. He was named to five straight Pro-Bowls from 1961-1965 and the All-Pro Team in 1963 and 1964. His best season was his first where he caught 56 passes for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns and was named Offensive Rookie of the Year. Ditka was a huge reason for the Bears 1963 Championship win and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Martellus Bennett (2013-2015) | 208 | 2,114 Yds | 14 TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (14)


OT: George Connor (1948-1955)

Started 78 of 91 Games | 4x Pro-Bowl (50, 51, 52, 53) | 4x All-Pro (50, 51, 52, 53) | Hall of Fame All-1940s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1975


Continuing with Hall of Famers, we come to a STACKED offensive line. Starting with offensive tackle George Connor. Connor played in over 90 games with the Bears, starting in 78 of them. He was named to four straight Pro-Bowls and All-Pro Teams from 1950-1953. He was surprisingly named to the All-1940s Team, as one would assume he would have been named to the All-1950s team. Connor was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.


OT: Jimbo Covert (1983-1990)

Started 110 of 111 Games | 2x Pro-Bowl (85, 86) | 2x All-Pro (85, 86) | Hall of Fame All-1980s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2020


Jimbo Covert is the other starting offensive tackle for the All-Time Bears, and he too is a Hall of Famer, being inducted in 2020. He started and played in over 110 games with the Bears and was a key member of the 1985 Super Bowl champion team. Covert was named to the Pro-Bowl and All-Pro Team in 1985 and 1986. The Bears have three other tackles in the Hall of Fame in Ed Healey, Link Lyman and Joe Stydahar.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Hugh Blacklock (1920-1925) | Started 46 of 54 Games | 1x All-Pro (20)

  2. Ed Healey (1922-1927) | Started 58 of 67 Games | 4x All-Pro (23, 24, 25, 26) | Hall of Fame All-1920s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1964

  3. Link Lyman (1926-1934) | Started 73 of 89 Games | 2x All-Pro (30, 34) | Hall of Fame Class 1964

  4. Joe Stydahar (1936-1946) | Started 53 of 84 Games | 4x Pro-Bowl (38, 39, 40, 41) | 4x All-Pro (37, 38, 39, 40) | Hall of Fame All-1930s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1967

  5. Lee Artoe (1940-1942, 1945) | Started 35 of 42 Games | 3x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 42) | 1x All-Pro (42)

  6. Ed Kolman (1940-1942, 1946-1947) | Started 32 of 55 Games | 3x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 42)

  7. Fred Davis (1946-1951) | Started 51 of 71 Games | 1x Pro-Bowl (50)

  8. Bill Wightkin (1950-1957) | Started 88 of 94 Games | 1x Pro-Bowl (55) | 1x All-Pro (55)

  9. Kline Gilbert (1953-1957) | Started 60 of 60 Games | 1x Pro-Bowl (57)

  10. Keith Van Horne (1981-1993) | Started 169 of 186 Games

  11. James Williams (1991-2002) | Started 143 of 166 Games | 1x Pro-Bowl (01)

  12. Charles Leno (2014-2020) | Started 94 of 102 Games | 1x Pro-Bowl (18)


OG: Stan Jones (1954-1965)

Started 122 of 144 Games | 7x Pro-Bowl (55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61) | 3x All-Pro (55, 56, 59) | Hall of Fame Class 1991


Another position, another Hall of Famer. Starting with guard Stan Jones. Jones played in over 140 games with the Bears, including playing in every game in nine seasons. He was named to seven straight Pro-Bowls from 1955-1961 and three All-Pro Teams, coming in 1955, 1956 and 1959. He finally won an NFL championship in 1963, but at this point was the team's starting defensive tackle, talk about versatility. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 after waiting much longer than he probably should have.


OG: Danny Fortmann (1936-1943)

Started 79 of 86 Games | 3x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 42) | 6x All-Pro (38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43) | Hall of Fame All-1930s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1965


The next starting offensive guard is Danny Fortman and what a surprise, he's a Hall of Famer too! Fortmann played in 86 games with the Bears, being named to the Pro-Bowl from 1940-1942 and the All-Pro Team from 1938-1943. Fortmann was a key member on the line for three championship winning teams. He was named to the Hall of Fame All-1930s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965. The Bears have a long list of other great guards including one other Hall of Famer in George Musso.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Jim McMillen (1924-1928) | Started 66 of 68 Games | 2x All-Pro (25, 28)

  2. Joe Kopcha (1929-1935) | Started 49 of 60 Games | 3x All-Pro (33, 34, 35)

  3. Zuck Carlson (1929-1936) | Started 67 of 95 Games | 1x All-Pro (32)

  4. George Musso (1933-1944) | Started 84 of 128 Games | 3x Pro-Bowl (39, 40, 41) | 1x All-Pro (37) | Hall of Fame Class 1982

  5. Ray Bray (1939-1951) | Started 76 of 109 Games | 4x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 50, 51)

  6. Dick Barwegen (1950-1952) | Started 34 of 34 Games | 3x Pro-Bowl (50, 51, 52) | 2x All-Pro (50, 51) | Hall of Fame All-1950s Team

  7. Mark Bortz (1983-1994) | Started 155 of 171 Games | 2x Pro-Bowl (88, 90)

  8. Roberto Garza (2005-2014) | Started 145 of 154 Games

  9. Kyle Long (2013-2019) | Started 76 of 77 Games | 3x Pro-Bowl (13, 14, 15)


C: Clyde Turner (1940-1952)

Started 127 of 138 Games | 4x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 50, 51) | 7x All-Pro (41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48) | Hall of Fame All-1940s | Hall of Fame Class 1966


Rounding out the offensive line is, you guessed it, another Hall of Famer. Clyde "Bulldog" Turner is one of the best centers to ever play the game. Turner was named to seven All-Pro Teams and four Pro-Bowls. He played in every game of the season 10 different times and was also a great linebacker, leading the league in interceptions once as well. Turner maned down the middle for four NFL championship winning teams and was named to the Hall of Fame All-1940s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966. The Bears have one other center in the Hall in George Trafton and will most likely add a third one day in Olin Kreutz.


Honorable Mentions

  1. George Trafton (1920-1932) | Started 100 of 148 Games | 2x All-Pro (20, 24) | Hall of Fame All-1920s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1964

  2. Larry Strickland (1954-1959) | Started 48 of 62 Games | 1x Pro-Bowl (56) | 1x All-Pro (56)

  3. Mike Pyle (1961-1969) |Started 119 of 121 Games | 1x Pro-Bowl (63)

  4. Jay Hilgenberg (1981-1991) | Started 130 of 163 Games | 7x Pro-Bowl (85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91) | 2x All-Pro (88, 89)

  5. Olin Kreutz (1999-2010) | Started 183 of 191 Games | 6x Pro-Bowl (01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06) | 1x All-Pro (06) | Hall of Fame All-2000s Team

  6. Cody Whitehair (2016-Present) | Started 95 of 95 Games | 1x Pro-Bowl (18)


DE: Doug Atkins (1955-1966)

3 Int | 9 FR | 64.5 Sk | 8x Pro-Bowl (57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65) | 1x All-Pro (63) | Hall of Fame All-1960s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1982


10 of 12 offensive starters for the All-Time Bears are in the Hall of Fame, let's see if the Monsters of the Midway can hold up their end of the bargain. Starting at defensive end is Doug Atkins. Atkins was a feared defender in Chicago for 12 seasons, racking up 64.5 sacks and that's not counting sacks from 1955-1959 as pro-football-reference only has sacks counted back to 1960. He may be the franchise leader in sacks if those years were counted. He was named to eight Pro-Bowls, but somehow only one All-Pro Team. He won a championship with the Bears in 1963 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.


DE: Richard Dent (1983-1993)

8 Int | 34 FF | 13 FR | 124.5 Sk | 641 Tackles | Led League in FF 1984, 1985 (4, 7) | Led League in Sk 1985 (17) | 4x Pro-Bowl (84, 85, 90, 93) | 1x All-Pro (85) | Hall of Fame Class 2011


Starting off two for two on the defensive side of the ball with another Hall of Famer in Richard Dent. Dent was a key defender for one of the greatest defenses in NFL history in the 1985 Bears. He led the league in sacks in that very 1985 season and currently holds the franchise record in sacks with 124.5. Dent had at least 10 sacks in eight seasons in Chicago. He was named to four Pro-Bowls and one All-Pro Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. Ed Sprinkle and Bill Hewitt are also in the Hall of Fame as defensive ends for the Bears.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Bill Hewitt (1932-1936) | 3x All-Pro (33, 34, 36) | Hall of Fame All-1930s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1971

  2. Ed Sprinkle (1944-1955) | 4 Int | 12 FR | 4x Pro-Bowl (50, 51, 52, 54) | Hall of Fame All-1940s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2020

  3. Mike Hartenstine (1975-1986) | 17 FR | 55 Sk

  4. Julius Peppers (2010-2013) | 3 Int | 10 FF | 7 FR | 37.5 Sk | 174 Tackles | 47 TFL | 3x Pro-Bowl (10, 11, 12) | 1x All-Pro (10) | Hall of Fame All-2010s Team

  5. Akiem Hicks (2016-Present) | 5 FF | 5 FR | 31 Sk | 247 Tackles | 51 TFL | 1x Pro-Bowl (18)


DT: Dan Hampton (1979-1990)

10 FR | 82 Sk | 4x Pro-Bowl (80, 82, 84, 85) | 1x All-Pro (84) | Hall of Fame All-1980s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2002


Starting at defensive tackle is Dan Hampton. Another member of the great 1985 Bears defense. Hampton made four Pro-Bowls and one All-Pro Team throughout the 1980s and was named to the Hall of Fame All-1980s Team. He had at least 10 sacks in three different seasons and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.


DT: Steve McMichael (1981-1993)

2 Int | 12 FF | 16 FR | 92.5 Sk | 814 Tackles | 2x Pro-Bowl (86, 87) | 2x All-Pro (85, 87)


The first member of the All-Time Bears defense who isn't in the Hall of Fame is Steve McMichael. I am fully in the camp that he should be in the Hall of Fame. McMichael had three seasons of 10 or more sacks and was voted to two Pro-Bowls and two All-Pro Teams. He arguably had just as good of a career, or maybe an even better one than Dan Hampton and should be put in the Hall.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Bill Bishop (1952-1960) | 2 Int | 14 FR | 1x Pro-Bowl (54)

  2. Fed Williams (1952-1963) | 2 Int | 9 FR | 0.5 Sk | 4x Pro-Bowl (52, 53, 58, 59)

  3. Jim Osborne (1972-1984) | 9 FR | 81 Sk

  4. Wally Chambers (1973-1977) | 1 Int | 3 FR | 37 Sk | 3x Pro-Bowl (73, 75, 76) | 1x All-Pro (76)

  5. William Perry (1985-1993) | 5 FR | 28.5 Sk | 448 Tackles

  6. Tommie Harris (2004-2010) | 1 Int | 5 FF | 7 FR | 28.5 Sk | 219 Tackles | 51 TFL | 3x Pro-Bowl (05, 06, 07)


LB: Mike Singletary (1981-1992)

7 Int | 12 FR | 19 Sk | 10x Pro-Bowl (83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92,) | 7x All-Pro (84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91) | 1985 Defensive Player of the Year | 1988 Defensive Player of the Year | 1990 Walter Payton Man of the Year | Hall of Fame All-1980s Team | Hall of Fame Class of 1998


Chicago has been blessed at the linebacker position more so than any other team in history. Starting with the leader of that 1985 Super Bowl team, Mike Singletary. Singletary made an insane 10 straight Pro-Bowls from 1983-1992 and also made seven All- Pro Teams. He was named the defensive player of the year in 1985 and 1988. Singletary is one of the best linebackers in NFL history and was rightly inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

LB: Dick Butkus (1965-1973)

22 Int | 27 FR | 11 Sk | 8x Pro-Bowl (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72) | 5x All-Pro (65, 68, 69, 70, 72) | Hall of Fame All-1960s Team | Hall of Fame All-1970s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1979


Next is another linebacker in the discussion for the greatest ever, Dick Butkus. Butkus is one of the most feared tacklers to ever play football. He was named to eight straight Pro-Bowls from 1965-1972 and five All-Pro Teams. He was named to both the All-1960s and the All-1970s Team. He unfortunately never won a championship as the bears were on a decline during his tenure. He was named to the Hall of fame in 1979.


LB: Brian Urlacher (2000-2012)

22 Int | 11 FF | 15 FR | 41.5 Sk | 1,361 Tackles | 138 TFL | Led League in Solo Tackles 2002 (117) | 8x Pro-Bowl (00, 01, 02, 03, 05, 06, 10, 11) | 4x All-Pro (01, 02, 05, 06) | 2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year | 2005 Defensive Player of the Year | Hall of Fame All-2000s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2018


How have the Bears had so many great linebackers? I'm going with Brian Urlacher as the third starter over fellow Hall of Famers Clyde Turner and Bill George. All three linebackers chosen played middle linebacker, but I think they'll manage just fine all being on the field at the same time. Urlacher made eight Pro-Bowls and four All-Pro Teams and carried Rex Grossman to the Super Bowls in 2006. He was Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. He was named to the Hall of Fame All-2000s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. Bill George can easily be put in this spot. It's crazy how many great linebackers the Bears have had. Lance Briggs and Joe Fortunato should make the Hall of Fame one day, but voters may be reluctant to add more Bears to the Hall.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Clyde Turner (1940-1952) | 17 Int | 5 FR | Led League in Int 1942 (8) | 4x Pro-Bowl (40, 41, 50, 51) | 7x All-Pro (41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48) | Hall of Fame Class 1966

  2. Bill George (1952-1965) | 18 Int | 17 FR | 27 Sk | 8x Pro-Bowl (54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61) | 8x All-Pro (55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63) | Hall of Fame All-1950s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1974

  3. Joe Fortunato (1955-1966) | 16 Int | 22 FR | 21 Sk | 5x Pro-Bowl (58, 62, 63, 64, 65) | 3x All-Pro (63, 64, 65) | Hall of Fame All-1950s Team

  4. Doug Buffone (1966-1979) | 24 Int | 9 FR | 15 Sk

  5. Otis Wilson (1980-1987) | 10 Int | 8 FR | 38 Sk | 1x Pro-Bowl (85)

  6. Wilber Marshall (1984-1987) | 9 Int | 8 FF | 5 FR | 16.5 Sk | 295 Tackles | 2x Pro-Bowl (86, 87) | 1x All-Pro (86)

  7. Lance Briggs (2003-2014) | 16 Int | 16 FF | 7 FR | 15 Sk | 1,181 Tackles | 97 TFL | 7x Pro-Bowl (05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11) | 1x All-Pro (05)

  8. Khalil Mack (2018-Present) | 2 Int | 14 FF | 6 FR | 36 Sk | 163 Tackles | 35 TFL | 3x Pro-Bowl (18, 19, 20) | 1x All-Pro (18) | Hall of Fame All-2010s Team


CB: Charles Tillman (2003-2014)

36 Int | 42 FF | 11 FR | 3 Sk | 875 Tackles | 24 TFL | Led League in FF 2012 (10) | 2x Pro-Bowl (11, 12) | 1x All-Pro (12) | 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year


The inventor of the peanut punch, Charles Tillman should be put in the Hall of Fame. His 42 forced fumbles are obviously the franchise record and his 44 on his career are the sixth best in NFL history. He made two Pro-Bowls and one All-Pro Team. He was a key member of the defense that carried Rex Grossman to the Super Bowl and while he may never get the call from the Hall of Fame, I believe he deserves to.


George McAfee (1940-1941, 1945-1950)

25 Int | 13 FR | Led League in FR 1948 (5) | 1x Pro-Bowl (41) | 1x All-Pro (41) | Hall of Fame Class 1966


The other starting cornerback for the All-Time Bears is George McAfee. He also played running back and is maybe more well known for that, but he picked off 25 balls in his eight seasons in Chicago. He was somewhat overlooked in his time, only making one Pro-Bowl and one All-Pro Team, but this was made up for when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Don Kindt (1947-1954) | 21 Int | 15 FR | 1x Pro-Bowl (53)

  2. J.C. Caroline (1956-1965) | 24 Int | 6 FR | 1x Pro-Bowl (56)

  3. Allan Ellis (1973-1980) | 22 Int | 1x Pro-Bowl (77)

  4. Donnell Woolford (1989-1996) | 32 Int | 3 FF | 2 FR | 552 Tackles | 1x Pro-Bowl (93)

  5. Jerry Azumah (1999-2005) | 10 Int | 1x Pro-Bowl (03)

  6. Nathan Vasher (2004-2009) | 19 Int | 2 FF | 1 FR | 1 Sk | 174 Tackles | 2 TFL | 1x Pro-Bowl (05)

  7. Tim Jennings (2010-2014) | 16 Int | 5 FF | 4 FR | 302 Tackles | 9 TFL | Led League in Int 2012 (9) | 2x Pro-Bowl (12, 13)

  8. Kyle Fuller (2014-2020) | 19 Int | 4 FF | 390 Tackles | 6 TFL | Led League in Int 2018 (7) | 2x Pro-Bowl (18, 19) | 1x All-Pro (18)


S: Gary Fencik (1976-1987)

38 Int | 13 FR | 14 Sk | 2x Pro-Bowl (80, 81) | 1x All-Pro (81)


Safety is the only position that the Bears don't have at least one Hall of Famer. While he's not in the Hall of Fame, Gary Fencik is most certainly in the Hall of Very Good. His 38 interceptions are the franchise record, and he was a big part of the 1985 Bears defense that one the Super Bowl. He was named to two Pro-Bowls and one All-Pro Team during his time in Chicago.


S: Richie Petitbon (1959-1968)

37 Int | 7 FR | 1 Sk | 4x Pro-Bowl (62, 63, 66, 67) | 1x All-Pro (63)


The other safety for the All-Time Bears is Richie Petitbon. He is number two All-Time in Bears history in interceptions with 37 and won a championship in 1963. He was named to four Pro-Bowls and one All-Pro Team. Neither of these safeties are in the Hall, but both were very good and just get overshadowed by the other all-Time greats in Bears history.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Rosey Taylor (1961-1969) | 23 Int | 12 FR | 4.5 Sk | Led League in Int 1963 (9) | 2x Pro-Bowl (63, 68) | 1x All-Pro (63)

  2. Dave Duerson (1983-1989) | 18 Int | 4 FR | 16 Sk | 4x Pro-Bowl (85, 86, 87, 88) | 1987 Walter Payton Man of the Year

  3. Shaun Gayle (1984-1994) | 14 Int | 11 FF | 11 FR | 2 Sk | 685 Tackles | 1x Pro-Bowl (91)

  4. Mark Carrier (1990-1996) | 20 Int | 10 FF | 7 FR | 587 Tackles | Led League in Int 1990 (10) | 3x Pro-Bowl (90, 91, 93) | 1990 Defensive Rookie of the Year

  5. Mike Brown (2000-2008) | 17 Int | 8 FF | 7 FR | 5 Sk | 523 Tackles | 11 TFL | 1x Pro-Bowl (05) | 1x All-Pro (01)


K: Robbie Gould (2005-2015)

85.4 FG% | 58 Long | 1,207 Points | Led League in FGM 2006 (32) | 1x Pro-Bowl (06) | 1x All-Pro (06)


Only the third player from the 2000s to make the cut is kicker Robbie Gould. He is the franchise leader in points and made an outstanding 85.4% of his field goals with Chicago. His best season came in 2006 where he led the league in field goals made and may have been the best offensive weapon for a team that made it to the Super Bowl.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Kevin Butler (1985-1995) | 73.2 FG% | 55 Long | 1,116 Points | Led League in Points 1985 (144)


P: Bobby Joe Green (1962-1973)

35,057 Punt Yds | 72 Long | 42.1 Yds/Punt | Led League in Punt Yds 1966 (3,358) | 1x Pro-Bowl (70)


For Punter I'm going with the only punter in Bears history to make the Pro-Bowl, Bobby Joe Green, which he did in 1970. He led the league in punt yards in 1966 and had a respectable 42.1 yards per punt in his 12 seasons with the Bears.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Bob Parsons (1972-1983) | 34,180 Punt Yds | 81 Long | 38.7 Yds/Punt | Led League in Punt Yds 1981, 1982 (4,531, 2,394) | Led League in Long 1982 (81)

  2. Brad Maynard (2001-2010) | 36,781 Punt Yds | 75 Long | 41.9 Yds/Punt | Led League in Punt Yds 2004 (4,638)


Returner: Devin Hester (2006-2013)

3,241 Punt Rt Yds | 13 Punt Rt TD | 12.3 Yds/Punt Rt | 5,504 Kick Rt Yds | 5 Kick Rt TD | 24.8 Yds/Kick Rt | Led League in Punt Rt Yds 2006, 2010 (600, 564) | Led League in Punt Rt TD 2006, 2007, 2010 (3, 4, 3) | Led League in Yds/Punt Rt 2010, 2011 (17.1, 16.2) | Led League in Kick Rt Yds 2013 (1,436) | Led League in Kick Rt TD 2006, 2011 (2, 1) | 3x Pro-Bowl (06, 07, 10) | 3x All-Pro (06, 07, 10) | Hall of Fame All-2000s Team | Hall of Fame All-2010s Team

Of course, the greatest returner in NFL history is the returner for the All-Time Bears. Hester's six returns for a touchdown in 2007 are an NFL record and so are his 19 career return touchdowns. He led the league in every return category more than once and returned the opening kickoff of the 2006 Super Bowl back for a touchdown. He was named to three Pro-Bowls, three All-Pro Teams and both the Hall of Fame All-2000s and All-2010s Team. His 14-career punt returns for a touchdown are also the NFL record. Special teams are a part of the game and it's about time voters start treating it as such. Sayers would be the starting returner for many other teams but unfortunately, he's competing against the goat in this case.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Gale Sayers (1965-1971) | 391 Punt Rt Yds | 2 Punt Rt TD | 14.5 Yds/Punt Rt | 2,781 Kick Rt Yds | 6 Kick Rt TD | 30.6 Yds/Kick Rt | Led League in Punt Rt TD 1967 (1) | Led League in Punt Rt Long 1965 (85) | Led League in Kick Rt TD 1965, 1966 (1, 2) | Led League in Yds/Kick Rt 1965, 1966 (31.4, 31,2) | Led League in All Purpose Yds 1965, 1966, 1967 (2,272, 2,440, 1,689) | 4x Pro-Bowl (65, 66, 67, 69) | 5x All-Pro (65, 66, 67, 68, 69) | 1965 Offensive Rookie of the Year | Hall of Fame All-1960s Team | Hall of Fame Class 1977

  2. Glyn Milburn (1998-2001) | 970 Punt Rt Yds | 1 Punt Rt TD | 10.3 Yds/Punt Rt | 4,596 Kick Rt Yds | 2 Kick Rt TD | 23.9 Yds/Kick Rt | Led League in Kick Rt Yds 1998 (1,550) | Led League in Kick Rt TD 1998 (2) | 1x Pro-Bowl (99) | 1x All-Pro (99)

  3. Cordarrelle Patterson (2019-2020) | 1,842 Kick Rt Yds | 2 Kick Rt TD | 29.2 Yds/Kick Rt | Led League in Kick Rt Yds 2019, 2020 (825, 1,017) | Led League in Kick Rt TD 2019, 2020 (1, 1) | Led League in Kick Rt Long 2020 (104)


Head Coach: George Halas (1920-1929, 1933-1942, 1946-1955, 1958-1967)

Regular Season: 318-148-31 | 68.2 W-L% | Playoffs: 6-3 | 1963, 1965 Coach of the Year | 1921, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1946, 1963 NFL Champion | 1934 and 1937 NFL Championship Appearance | Hall of Fame Class 1963


No surprise here that Papa Bear is the choice for head coach. He coached in more games than anyone in the history of the NFL and his 318 wins are second only to Don Shula. He guided the Bears to eight championship appearances, winning six of them. He was named the coach of the year in 1963 and 1965 and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963, while he was still coaching. Halas is one of the founding fathers of the NFL and one of the greatest coaches ever. His six championships are second only to Paul Brown. Side note, Mike Ditka should be in the Hall of Fame as a coach as well as a player.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Ralph Jones (1930-1932) | Regular Season: 24-10-7 | 70.6 W-L% | 1932 NFL Champion

  2. Hunk Anderson & Luke Johnsos (1942-1945) | Regular Season: 23-11-2 | 67.6 W-L% | Playoffs: 1-1 | 1943 NFL Champion | 1942 NFL Championship Appearance

  3. Paddy Driscoll (1956-1957) | Regular Season: 14-9-1 | 60.9 W-L% | Playoffs: 0-1 | 1956 NFL Championship Appearance

  4. Dave Wannstedt (1993-1998) | Regular Season: 40-56 | 41.7 W-L% | Playoffs: 1-1

  5. Dick Jauron (1999-2003) | Regular Season: 35-45 | 43.8 W-L% | Playoffs: 0-1 | 2001 Coach of the Year

  6. Mike Ditka (1982-1992) | Regular Season: 106-62 | 63.1 W-L% | Playoffs: 6-6 | 1985, 1988 Coach of the Year | 1985 Super Bowl Champion

  7. Lovie Smith (2004-2012) | Regular Season: 81-63 | 56.3 W-L% | Playoffs: 3-3 | 2006 NFC Champion

1 Comment


Chris Bonneu
Chris Bonneu
Feb 13, 2023

The All-Time "Sta-Bears"' talent at MLB is absolutely unbelievable. Easily the best in the NFL.

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