DaBears.com Chicago Bears Ring of Honor
Chicago Bears Ring of Honor
Most professional football teams have established an official Ring of Honor. The way I see it, the ring of honor is a way for teams to honor those players they feel were the greatest in the team's history, even if those players weren't quite good enough to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Usually, a team's Ring of Honor is displayed inside the stadium as a tribute to those players.
When the "new Soldier Field" was opened in 2003, the Bears unveiled what they call their ring of honor as panels inside the concourses honoring the 25 Bears players and 1 General Manager that are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the Bears have never given honors to other players that were consummate Bears but have not made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Bears have not officially recognized any of these players, so we will, with the DaBears.com Chicago Bears Ring of Honor.
Our Ring of Honor begins with those enshrined in the Hall of Fame...
#82 Ray Bray (RG) 1939-1942, 1946-1951 - 4x Pro Bowler. Played on 3 Bears championship teams. Tribute to all the great players who get overlooked, especially the ones whose careers were interrupted by World War II. Bray was bigger and stronger than Hall-of-Fame counterpart Fortmann. He was the Mark Bortz of the '40s. Abe Gibron once said Bray had to make any all-time Bear team.
#51 (WR) 1940-1941, 1945-1950 - 2x Pro Bowler, 1940s All-Decade Team. Bears all-time leader in touchdowns by a receiver with 50 despite only 162 receptions for a remarkable reception-touchdown ratio of 3.24 (1 touchdown every 3.24 recptions). Also Bears all-time leader in yards per reception (22.4).
#7 Ed Sprinkle (DE) 1944-1955 - 4-time Pro Bowler, 1940s All-Decade Team
#35 Rick Casares (FB) 1955-1964 - 5x Pro Bowler & 1x First Team All-Pro
#31 Joe Fortunato (OLB) 1955-1966 - 1x Pro Bowler, 1x First Team All-Pro,& 1950s All-Decade Team. Overshadowed by MLB Bill George.
#17 Richie Petitbon (S) 1959-1968 - 4x Pro Bowler & 1x First Team All-Pro
#41 Brian Piccolo (RB) 1966-1969 - Typified the legendary Chicago Bear. He was too small and slow to play professional football. What he lacked in size and speed, he made up for in grit and determination. Played for the Chicago Bears for only four seasons, and his statistics were not remarkable, but the fact that Piccolo’s number, 41, is one of the few retired in the Bears’ long history and the Piccolo name is still revered by football fans everywhere, is a testimony to the remarkable values Brian brought to both the game and to life.
#55 Doug Buffone (OLB) 1966-1979 - Overshadowed by MLB Dick Butkus
#45 Gary Fencik (S) 1976-1987 - 2x Pro Bowler & 1x First Team All-Pro. A play etched in Bear fans' memories was the vicious hit he put on a Redskin during the 1985 meeting between the two teams at Soldier Field, when Fencik went airborne to level his opponent. He retired at the Bears' leader in interceptions (38) and tackles.
#63 Jay Hilgenberg (C) 1981-1991 - 7x Pro Bowler & 2x First Team All-Pro. Helped anchor an offensive line that led the NFL in rushing four straight years (1983-1986). Started 130 of his last 134 games. Offensive captain. Should be in Hall of Fame.
#76 Steve McMichael (DT) 1981-1993 - 2x Pro Bowler & 2x First Team All-Pro
#9 Jim McMahon (QB) 1982-1988 - Established himself as the best play-action passer in the game. Excellent at reading defenses. At one point between the 1984 and 1987 seasons, he won 22 consecutive regular-season (25 including playoffs, & The Super Bowl) starts, the longest "regular season winning streak" by an NFL quarterback at the time. 1x Pro Bowl selection. With the Bears trailing 17-9 he came off the bench and threw 3 td passes in a five minute span at Minnesota during the 1985 season. Coach Ditka and Walter Payton have both said the Bears would not have won the Super Bowl without McMahon.
#74 Jim Covert (LT) 1983-1990 - 2x Pro Bowler and 2x First-Team All-Pro. 1980s First Team All-Decade Team. Covert never allowed more than one sack per season. He destroyed the best rushers in the NFL. He was technically perfect with a nasty streak. He just didn't stop rushers, he punished them. Neutralized Lawrence Taylor. Helped anchor an offensive line that led the NFL in rushing four straight years (1983-1986). Should be in Hall of Fame.
#95 Richard Dent (DE) 1983-1993, 1995 - He deserves to be in Hall of Fame. Dent was drafted in the eighth round by the Bears, with 203rd overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft. At 6'5, 265 lb (120 kg)., Dent was a great pass rusher who beat offensive tackles with his speed. He was part of the core of great players who made the Bears' defenses of the 1980s legendary. Between 1984 and 1985, Dent recorded 34.5 sacks. Bears All-Time leader in sacks with 124.5, 4x Pro Bowler, 1x First Team All-Pro.
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#48 Beattie Feathers (HB) - 1x First Team All-Pro & 1930s All-Decade Team. Was three quarters Cherokee Indian. First player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season (1934). That same year had 8.4 yards/attempt average.
The following are some Bears legends that were worthy players but just couldn't fit them in.
#9 Bill Osmanski (FB) 1939-1943, 1946-1947 - 3x Pro Bowler, 1x First Team All-Pro, & 1940s All-Decade Team
#24 Fred Davis T-DT 1946-1951 - 2x Pro Bowler
#32 Johnny Lujack (QB) 1948-1951 - 2x Pro Bowler & 1x First Team All-Pro. Could have been Bears all-time 2nd best quarterback.
#75 Fred Williams (DT) 1952-1963 - 4x Pro Bowler. No other defensive tackle in Bears history has gone to more Pro Bowls than the four Fred Williams played in.
#87 Harlon Hill (WR) 1954-1961 - 3x Pro Bowler & 2x First Team All-Pro. His 40 receiving touchdowns and 20.2 yards per reception are 2nd best in franchise history.
#28 Willie Galimore (HB) 1957-1963 - 1x Pro Bowler
#47 Johnny Morris FL-HB 1958-1967 - 1x Pro Bowler & 1x First-Team All-Pro. His 5,059 receiving yards are #1 in franchise history.
#33 Larry Morris (OLB) 1959-1965 - 1960s All-Decade Team
#24 Roosevelt Taylor (S) 1961-1969 - 2x Pro Bowler & 1x First Team All-Pro
#87 Ed O'Bradovich (DE) 1962-1971 - His INT set up the winning touchdown in the 1963 Championship Game
#26 Bennie McRae (CB) 1962-1970 - 27 INTs by a CB are second most in franchise history
#26 Matt Suhey (FB) 1980-1989 - Throwback fullback (could block, run and catch), blocked for Sweetness, had quick feet and 5,059 total yards from scrimmage.
#55 Otis Wilson (OLB) 1980-1987 - 1x Pro Bowler
#62 Mark Bortz (LG) 1983-1994 - 2x Pro Bowler. Helped anchor an offensive line that led the NFL in rushing four straight years (1983-1986).
#58 Wilber Marshall (OLB) 1984-1987 - 1x Pro Bowler and 1x First Team All-Pro
#57 Tom Thayer (RG) 1985-1992 - Helped anchor an offensive line that led the NFL in rushing four straight years (1983-1986).
#21 Donnell Woolford (CB) 1989-1996 - 1x Pro Bowler. 32 INTs are most by a CB in franchise history.
#71 James Williams (RT) 1991-2002 - 1x Pro Bowler
Last edited by GeorgiaJeff; 12-23-2010 at 04:31 PM.
Chicago Bears who made All-Decade Teams. Beginning with the 1970s All-Decade Team they have First and Second Teams...
1920s All-Decade Team
The National Football League's All-Decade Teams have been determined by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee.
Paddy Driscoll QB Pro Career: 1919 Hammond Pros; 1920, 1926-29 Decatur Staleys/Chicago Bears; 1920-25 Chicago Cardinals.
One of the greatest players of the 1920s, Driscoll was a threat on offense and defense but it was skilled kicking and punting that stymied opponents. He set the then-scoring record with 27 points on four touchdowns and three extra points in a game against the Rochester Jeffersons in 1923. He was named All-NFL six times during his Hall of Fame career.
Harold "Red" Grange RB
The NFL’s biggest name star put the league on the map with his historic signing in 1925. His debut on Thanksgiving Day drew the NFL’s largest ever crowd of 36,000. His famous “barnstorming tour” after the season attracted unheard of crowds of more than 70,000 fans. A knee injury sidelined the “Galloping Ghost” for the entire 1928 season. When he returned, his greatest contribution came on the defensive side of the ball. His memorable tackle in the NFL’s first championship game in 1933 preserved a Bears victory.
George Halas End
The legendary "Papa Bear" Halas was better known as a coach and owner of the Chicago Bears, first known as the Decatur Staleys. He spent nine seasons as a player and was a dominant end during the league’s infancy. In a 1923 game against the Oorang Indians, Halas picked up a fumble by Jim Thorpe and returned it 98 yards for a TD. That remained a NFL record until 1972. Halas’s No. 7 has been retired by the Bears.
An end in American football is a player who lines up at either end of the line of scrimmage. Rules state that a legal offensive formation must always consist of seven players on the line of scrimmage. An end who lines up close to the offensive line is known as a tight end, while one who lines up some distance from the offensive line is known as a split end. In recent years, the generic term wide receiver has come to define both split ends and flankers (backs who line up in split positions but behind the line of scrimmage). The terms "split end" and "flanker" are no longer in common usage.
There is a commonly-used position on the defense called the defensive end. However, as there are no rules regulating the formation of the defense, players at this position commonly take on and share multiple roles with other positions in different defensive schemes.
Before the advent of two platoons, in which teams fielded distinct defensive and offensive units, players that lined up on the ends of the line on both offense and defense were referred to simply as "ends".
Ed Healey Tackle
Played end in college but due to his size, 6’2”, 192 pounds, was converted to tackle in the new pro league. He is a footnote in NFL history as being the first player to be dealt. Rock Island sent him to the Bears in exchange for $100. His versatility helped the Bears become one of the league’s powerhouses in the ‘20s.
Historically, in the one-platoon system a tackle played on both offense and defense.
Hunk Anderson Guard Chicago Bears, Cleveland Indians (1 game)
After playing for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame, Anderson joined George Halas and the Bears and became one of the finest lineman of the NFL’s early years. After a four-season, 39-game playing career, he returned to Notre Dame as an assistant coach. He was named the Irish’s head coach following Rockne’s tragic death in 1931. Anderson later spent many seasons as a Bears assistant coach. He also served as Chicago’s co-head coach briefly when Halas served in World War II.
George Trafton Center
A colorful but at times mean-spirited personality, Trafton’s college days were cut short after Knute Rockne learned he was playing semi-pro football. By far, the most dominant center of the NFL’s first decade. Trafton is recognized as the first NFL center to snap the ball with one hand. He was also a force on the defensive side of the ball for the Bears.
1930s All-Decade Team
Beattie Feathers RB Chicago Bears (1934-1937), Brooklyn Dodgers, Green Bay Packers
As a rookie with the Chicago Bears in 1934, Feathers became the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher. He averaged an incredible 8.4 yards per carry that season to total 1,004 yards which shattered the league record. He also scored a league-leading 8 TDs. He was named first-team All-NFL that season and was accorded second-team All-NFL honors two seasons later.
Bronko Nagurski FB
Nagurski was as tough as they came. His legend as a terrorizing runner and bone-jarring tackler grew quickly around the NFL. He threw the game-winning TD in the 1932 playoff game and a pair of TD passes in the 1933 title game. In all, he was named All-NFL five times and amassed an impressive 4,000 career rushing yards.
Bill Hewitt End Chicago Bears (1932-1936), Philadelphia Eagles
Hewitt’s best athletic qualities were his speed and quickness which helped him use trick plays to give his opponents fits. As good as he was on offense; this two-way star was nearly flawless on defense. He earned the nickname “Offside Kid” because of how quickly he attacked after a ball was snapped. Hewitt is the first player in NFL history to earn All-NFL honors with two different teams.
Joe Stydahar Tackle
A dominant force of “Monsters of the Midway” Chicago Bears team of this era, Stydahar began his NFL career by earning All-Pro honors six straight times. A two-way player, he was especially effective on the offensive line where he showcased his unusual strength and size combined with speed.
Dan Fortmann Guard
Fortmann, a very smart player who earned a medical degree after his NFL career, excelled as a two-way star for George Halas’s Chicago Bears. He teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Joe Stydahar on the left side of the Bears line to make for one of the NFL’s most formidable tandems. Fortmann was named first- or second-team All-Pro each of his eight seasons.
1940s All-Decade Team
Sid Luckman QB
The Bears number one draft choice in 1939, Luckman became the first great professional "T-Formation" quarterback. After he led his team to an upset 73-0 demolishing of the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship, there was a mad rush of teams that converted to the offensive system. A superb signal-caller and ball handler Luckman was an All-NFL selection five times and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1943. His career numbers include 14,686 yards passing and 137 TDs.
George McAfee HB
McAfee was a phenomenal two-way star who was a long-distance scoring threat on every play. He took the league by storm when he returned a punt for a TD to give the Bears a last-second victory in his first-ever game. Although his Navy service came at the peak of his career, McAfee managed to score 234 points, gain 5,313 combined net yards, and intercept 25 passes in eight seasons. His career punt return average of 12.78 yards remains an NFL record.
Bill Osmanski FB
Osmanski was called by many to be one of the greatest ball carriers of all-time. He was selected by the Bears in the first round of the 1939 draft after an All-America career at Holy Cross and an MVP performance in the 1939 College All-Star game. He led the NFL in rushing his rookie season and was a member of four championship Bears teams.
Ed Sprinkle End
Sprinkle may have been the first player to achieve fame strictly from his pass rushing ability. Labeled “The Meanest Man in Football,” Sprinkle was extremely quick but also had the ability to overpower opposing linemen. During his career he was voted to four Pro Bowls and was selected for several all-league teams.
George Connor Tackle
Connor was New York Giants' No. 1 draft pick in 1946 but was instantly traded to the Boston Yanks and then to the Bears. A two-way performer throughout his career, he was an All-NFL selection at three positions - offensive tackle, defensive tackle and linebacker. Known for his exceptional ability to diagnose enemy plays, Connor played in four Pro Bowl games.
Clyde "Bulldog" Turner Center
Turner was the Chicago Bears number one draft pick in 1940. He didn’t disappoint as he immediately became a starter. One of the most athletic members of his team, he was a terrific blocker, superb pass defender and a flawless ball-snapper. During his career he was selected to seven All-NFL teams. As center, he anchored the offensive line on four NFL championship teams.
Ken Kavanaugh End
Kavanaugh was the Bears third round choice in the 1940 NFL Draft. He immediately became a deep threat for the Bears’ passing game and helped the team capture the league title in his rookie year. He went on to be an impact player on two more Bears championship teams. His career numbers read: 162 receptions for 3,626 yards and 50 TDs. His touchdown mark and career reception average (22.4) remain Bears team records.
1950s All-Decade Team
Dick Barwegan Guard Chicago Bears (1950-1952 34 games), Baltimore Colts
Barwegan began his career in the rival All-America Football Conference where he earned All-AAFC honors three times. After joining the Bears in the NFL in 1950, he was named first- or second-team All-NFL three straight years and also was voted to the Pro Bowl four consecutive times.
Joe Fortunato LB
Fortunato was a steady performer on the Bears defense during his 12-season NFL career in the Windy City. He only missed one game in his entire 155-game pro career. Although his best years came in the 1960s, Fortunato’s solid play started to gain him recognition during the ‘50s. He was named second-team All-NFL in 1958 and was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time.
Bill George LB
One of the all-time finest middle linebackers, George was the “quarterback” of Chicago’s vaunted defense. Starting in 1955, he was a perennial All-NFL pick and Pro Bowl choice. In all, he was named All-NFL eight times and voted to eight straight Pro Bowls. An all-around player, George also intercepted 18 passes during his Hall of Fame career.
1960s All-Decade Team
Gale Sayers HB
In just seven seasons, Sayers dazzled the world of pro football more than any player had before. His talent as a runner, kick returner and receiver was immeasurable. A constant threat to score every time he touched the ball, he holds the NFL record for most touchdowns in a game with six. Serious knee injuries cut his brilliant career short.
Doug Atkins DE
At 6’8”, 257 pounds, Atkins was one of the largest players of his era and as such, wreaked havoc against opposing NFL quarterbacks. His speed and agility often allowed him to leap over blockers while on constant pursuit of the ball carrier. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl pick.
Dick Butkus LB
Mention Dick Butkus’ name to an offensive player who played in the 1960s and most instinctively cower in fear. This was deservedly so, Butkus had an insatiable drive of meanness, pursuit, and tackling ability. He had the rare ability to cover sideline to sideline and played every game as if it where his last. Although he had a comparatively short career, the seven time all-league selection and eight-time Pro Bowl pick is considered one of the best ever.
Larry Morris LB
Morris, an All-America selection out of Georgia Tech, was one of the most consistent linebackers in the National Football League as well as one of the most aggressive. He played a vital role in the Bears 1963 NFL Championship victory over the New York Giants. In the game he intercepted a Y.A. Tittle pass which he returned for 61 yards.
1970s All-Decade Team
Walter Payton RB First Team
Named to both the 1970s and 1980s All-Decade Teams, Walter Payton was a bona fide star from the very beginning of a NFL career from which he retired as the league’s all-time leading rusher. He reached the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his second season. It was the first of a then-record 10 times that he reached the 1,000-yard plateau.
Dick Butkus MLB First Team
Butkus is regarded as one of the toughest and meanest players ever to step onto a NFL field. He was especially known for his great tackling ability that included impeccable range as he roamed from sideline to sideline to stop any player with the ball. He also was adept at covering tight ends or running backs on pass plays and had 22 career interceptions.
1980s All-Decade Team
Walter Payton RB First Team
Payton was perhaps one of the most beloved players in the history of the National Football League. A first round pick by the Bears in 1975, he quickly became one of the league’s superstars. Also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s, Payton retired in 1987 as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with 16,726 yards. His 77 games with 100 or more yards rushing and 110 career rushing TDs were also NFL records.
Jim Covert Tackle First Team
Covert, a two-time All-America selection at Pitt, was the first round pick of the Chicago Bears in the 1983 Draft. He immediately became a starter and earned All-Rookie honors. In all, he started 108 of his 111 career games. In 1985 Covert won the Miller Lite/Offensive Lineman of the Year award, an honor he repeated the following season.
Dan Hampton DT First Team
Hampton, a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 1979, was an outstanding and versatile defensive lineman who earned honors at both defensive end and defensive tackle. In all, he was named first- or second-team All-Pro six times and was selected to four Pro Bowls.
Mike Singletary MLB First Team
Singletary was the cornerstone of the Chicago Bears defense for 12 seasons. In 1985 he was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year as he helped lead the Bears, using its innovative “46 Defense,” to a 15-1 record and a run through the postseason capped by a victory in Super Bowl XX. He earned Player of the Year honors again in 1988. In all he was selected to eight All-Pro teams and ten consecutive Pro Bowls.
2000s All-Decade Team
Olin Kreutz Center Second Team
Kreutz was named to the Pro Bowl six times in the decade and was the first-team All-NFL in 2005 and again in 2006. He was a key part of the Bears front line that produced 1,000-yard runners six times in the decade.
Julius Peppers DE Second Team (Carolina Panthers)
Peppers, a three-time All-Pro selection and five-time Pro Bowler, is one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL. At 6-7, 283 pounds, his tremendous size and strength combined with his speed creates nightmares for opposing lineman. He has recorded double-digit sacks every season but two during his career.
Brian Urlacher LB First Team
Urlacher, who was drafted in the first round of 2000 draft, played free safety in college. He successfully converted to linebacker and won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors with the Bears. In 2005 he added Defensive Player of the Year to his resume. He is a six-time Pro Bowl pick and was selected to four All-Pro teams.
Devin Hester Punt Returner Second Team
Hester wasted no time in making his mark in the NFL. His electrifying rookie season was highlighted by five returns for touchdowns including three on punt returns. He followed that with four punt returns for scores in his second season.
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Chicago Bears who made the 75th Anniversary All-Time Two Way Team
Tackle, Defensive Tackle George Connor
Guard, Defensive Tackle Dan Fortmann
End, Defensive End Bill Hewitt
Back, Defensive Back George McAfee
Guard-Tackle, Defensive Tackle George Musso
Fullback, Linebacker Bronko Nagurski
Tackle, Defensive Tackle Joe Stydahar
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Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton, and Doug Atkins deserve to have their numbers retired. On the issue of Atkins, George Halas once said that he, along with Jim Thorpe, were the two greatest athletes he ever saw.