Top Bears Moments: 20-11

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The Chicago Bears, one of the two remaining charter franchises of the National Football League, have put together an impressive century – nine NFL championships and a league-high 28 players inducted into the NFL’s Hall of Fame. Within that history have been signature moments spanning every era.

NBC Sports Chicago has identified the 100 greatest Bears moments, the “Hallowed Hundred” which are etched in memories throughout the history of the organization that started it all.

Some of those moments have been individual games with defining overall significance. Some have been specific plays within those games. And some of those moments have occurred away from any one game.

Pivotal games rate edges over individual performances. Fair or not, games since Thanksgiving Day 1934, the date of the first Bears game broadcast nationally, on NBC radio, and since the NFL crashed into national consciousness in 1958 with “The Greatest Game Ever Played” get a touch more weight simply because the Bears have been seen and heard more with the growth of football on the air. Put simply, games that are seen or heard are going to be arguably more memorable than ones only read about in the newspapers of the time.

20. Bears draft Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers (1965)

Landing arguably history’s greatest linebacker and pure runner in the same draft didn’t bring a championship but did bring greatness to the Bears as George Halas outmaneuvered AFL suitors for both the future Hall of Famers’ services.

19. The signing and tour of Red Grange

In the NFL’s infancy, it was the signing of the “Galloping Ghost” that gave the league its first form of legitimacy. Fresh off a legendary college career at the University of Illinois, Grange turned pro – a rarity for college players of the time - and signed a contract with the Bears. George Halas then put together a barnstorming tour that saw the team play 19 games in 67 days to showcase their new star, and 36,000 jammed into Cubs Park (now Wrigley Field) to see Grange’s debut on Thanksgiving 1925. Grange eventually helped the Bears win the 1933 NFL Championship, and later became one of the charter members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame before his death in 1991.

18. Bob Thomas boots Bears into ’77 playoffs (Dec. 18, 1977)

The Bears hadn’t been to the postseason since the ’63 season, but that changed when Bob Thomas kicked a field goal from 28 yards with 9 seconds left in OT against the Giants on an icy New York field.

17. Fridge flattens George Cumby (Oct. 21, 1985)

William Perry turned the Green Bay linebacker into roadkill while blocking for Walter Payton touchdowns, then scored one of his own, all on Monday Night Football as part of the mania that became the ’85 Bears. The game vaulted Perry to international fame.

16. Sid Luckman’s 7 TD passes (Nov. 14, 1943)

It was an abbreviated NFL season in 1943 because of World War II, but Luckman’s seven touchdown passes came against the New York Giants, who would tie for the NFL East title.

15. Bears down Rams on SNF (Dec. 9, 2018)

A “statement” game, the Bears throttled the 11-1 Rams, darlings of the NFC with the NFL’s leading rusher in Todd Gurley and wunderkind QB Jared Goff. The defense allowed zero touchdowns, intercepted Goff four times and served notice on the NFL with a 15-6 win. Mitchell Trubisky struggled in his return from a shoulder injury, but the Bears mauled the L.A. defense for 196 rushing yards.

14. Wilber Marshall’s run (Jan. 12, 1986)

Consecutive shutouts of the New York Giants (21-0) and Los Angeles Rams (24-0) could be a collective highlight. But Marshall scooping up the Dieter Brock fumble and going 52 yards for a TD, escorted by William Perry and Otis Wilson, with the snow starting to flutter down… Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it any better.

13. The Superfans debut (Jan. 12, 1991)

Another cultural Bears moment that transcended the football field. The first “Saturday Night Live” skit performed by Joe Mantegna, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, and Rob Smigel cemented the Ditka Bears in the national comedy consciousness. How lasting were the ’85 Bears? “The Superfans” first aired five years AFTER Super Bowl XX.

12. The “Crown their asses” game (Oct. 16, 2006).

A 2006 MNF game against the Arizona Cardinals that featured a comeback from a 23-3 halftime deficit to a 24-23 victory. The game had multiple individual highlights, such as Brian Urlacher’s countless tackles (discussed previously on this countdown) and Devin Hester’s clutch punt return TD. The escape in the desert kept the Bears undefeated and on track for the Super Bowl, and inspired Dennis Green’s legendary rant.

11. The Khalil Mack trade (Sept. 1, 2018)

It’s too soon to evaluate big-picture, but for generating Bears frenzy, few moments compare. The Bears became instant title contenders with the league-shaking deal for the premier edge rusher and the view of the Bears in Chicago ticked dramatically up. Tampa Bay trading Steve Young to San Francisco and the Packers getting Brett Favre in a deal with Atlanta may have registered greater impact, but the Mack deal was a statement move that lifted more than one position.

If you’ve missed any of our previous installments, check them out below:

100-91    90-81    80-71    70-61    60-51    50-41    40-31    30-21

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