The story of the Chicago Bears is filled with important facts, many of which have been hashed and rehashed by NFL experts. What this post attempts to do is show some of the more peculiar facts that the Bears have been a part of in that long and distinguished history.
1. During the NFL’s first six seasons the Bears had an amazing 34 shutout wins.
2. On November 27th, 1922 the Bears made the NFL’s first player transaction when they purchased the contract of tackle Ed Healey from the Rock Island Independents for an astronomical sum of $100.
3. In 1932 the first ever NFL Championship game and first NFL game to be played indoors was decided at Chicago Stadium. This was due to the extreme cold and heavy snow falling around Wrigley Field the entire week of the game. The game was played on an 80 yard field that was also the first to employ hashmarks. The Bears beat the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 to win the first playoff game in NFL history.
4. The Bears have been involved in two games that ended in final scores of 2-0. The first was a loss to the Green Bay Packers in 1932. The second was a win against those same Packers in 1938. This would not seem quite so extraordinary if not for the fact that there have been only five 2-0 scores in the entire history of the NFL. It figures that Green Bay and Chicago would be involved in 40% of them.
5. The first NFL player in history to rush for over 1000 yards in a season was the Bears’ Beattie Feathers, who accomplished the feat in his rookie season of 1934. He ran for 1,004 yards in only 11 games; His extremely impressive 8.4 yards per carry is still an NFL record. What makes all of this quirky is the fact that Feathers never again came close to his astonishing 1934 stats. In fact, his next best rushing yardage total was only 350 yards in 1936.
6. In the 1940 NFL Championship game the Bears beat the Washington Redskins 73-0. Most Bears fans know of this game and its place in the league’s lore. What most of them don’t realize is that the game was halted in the fourth quarter so that the referee could ask the Bears to run for their extra points instead of kicking as they were down to their last football. Coach George Halas was only too happy to comply.
7. In 1952 the Bears lost on Thanksgiving day to the Dallas Texans. On it’s own merit a rather mundane statistic. But as it turns out, that was the only victory in the short history of the Dallas Team. The Texans played for only one year before folding from the NFL. Not only that, but their only franchise win, the aforementioned victory against the Bears, occurred in Akron, Ohio because the team could no longer afford to play in Dallas.
8. The Bears trademark “C’ logo was first displayed on their helmets in 1962. It was redesigned in 1974 by adding the teams primary colors to the existing logo. That redesign happened exactly 45 years ago. The quirky part of this one is the Bears logo is the exact same design used by the Chicago Cardinals from 1920 to 1947. The Cardinals were defunct so the Bears took their logo.
9. Almost everyone knows that Gale Sayers scored 6 touchdowns in a single game in his rookie year. What people have long since forgotten is that earlier in the day, the great Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers scored 5 touchdowns against the Baltimore Colts. While Sayers was just starting his career, Hornung was finishing his. One has to wonder if Hornung’s five TD’s played any kind of a role in Halas leaving Sayers in the game until he got 6.
10. The NFL’s shortest punt return for a touchdown in history belongs to the Bears’ Shaun Gayle. In the 1985 divisional playoff game, Sean Landeta of the New York Giants lined up to kick from his own end zone. It was a very windy day at Soldier Field and that may have played a role in what was about to happen. The ball slid off the side of Landeta’s foot and was picked up at the five yard line by Gayle, who proceeded to sashay into the end zone for the touchdown. The Bears went on to win the game 21-0 and three weeks later would get their only Super Bowl victory.
11. There have been over 24,000 field goal attempts in the NFL since 1994. Of those, approximately 2,600 have been attempted from longer than 50 yards. And only 5 have been returned by the defense for what has become known as a kick six. In 2005 Nathan Vasher took a Joe Nedney miss 109 yards for a Bears touchdown. Then in 2006 Devin Hester returned one 108 yards off the foot of Jay Healy. That the Bears have 2 of the 5 pick sixes in the NFL is wild. That they did it in back to back years is a statistical anomaly that may never be repeated.
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