Rank 'Em: 50 Greatest Bears
Here's your chance to rank the Top 50 Chicago Bears of all time as determined by ESPN Chicago. Check out our list and then rank your own below.
50 Greatest Bears
"Mongo" was one of the most dependable and colorful players in Bears history. He played 13 seasons in Chicago and was two-time first-team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler.
The most electrifying return man in NFL history, Hester's next return for a TD will tie him with Deion Sanders for the most combined return touchdowns in NFL history with 19. Hester scored 11 return touchdowns in his first two seasons.
A hard-hitting safety with a penchant for big plays, Brown played nine seasons with the Bears, making one Pro Bowl (2005) and one appearance on the first team All-Pro (2001). He scored seven defensive touchdowns (four interceptions, three fumbles) in his career, including two pick-sixes during the Bears' 13-3 season in 2001. After missing just one game in his first four seasons, Brown missed 44 games because of injuries over his final five seasons in Chicago.
A running back known for his speed and lateral quickness, Galimore was a fifth-round draft choice of the Bears in 1956. He rushed for 2,985 yards in seven seasons in Chicago before he was killed in an automobile accident at age 29 in 1964. His number 28 was retired by the Bears.
A safety with great size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds), Petitbon was a second-round draft pick out of Tulane by the Bears in 1959. A four-time Pro Bowler, Petitbon spent 10 seasons with the Bears. His 37 interceptions are second in team history to Gary Fencik's 38.
A Northwestern product, Driscoll wasn't big (5-foot-11, 160 pounds), but he could do everything: run, pass, kick and punt. He played his first five seasons with the Chicago Cardinals before being traded to the Bears in 1926. A six-time first team All-Pro, Driscoll was also known for his dropkicks and punting. He coached the Bears from 1956-57, compiling a 14-9-1 record. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965.
A native of Hillside, Ill., O'Bradovich was a standout at Proviso East High School before moving on to the University of Illinois. He spent his entire 10-year NFL career with the Bears. He is perhaps best remembered on the field for his interception of a short pass and rumble down the field in the 1963 NFL championship game victory.
Taylor had 23 interceptions over nine seasons with the Bears. He led the NFL with nine interceptions during the Bears' championship season in 1963, one of his two Pro Bowl seasons.
A 15th-round draft pick in 1954 out of Florence State Teacher's College (now North Alabama), Hill was an immediate star for the Bears, catching 45 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns to win rookie of the year. A three-time Pro Bowler, Hill posted one more 1,000-yard season during his eight years in Chicago.
An eighth-round selection out of Iowa in the 1983 NFL draft, Bortz became a fixture on the offensive line in Chicago for 12 seasons. A two-time Pro Bowler, Bortz joined fellow guard Tom Thayer, tackles Keith Van Horne and Jimbo Covert along with center Jay Hilgenberg to form one of the best offensive lines in the NFL during the 1980s.
Drafted in the first round of the 1986 NFL draft to eventually be the successor to Bears legend Walter Payton, Anderson posted three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons from 1988-90. His best season was in 1988 when he rushed for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns along with 50 receptions for 434 yards and 4 TDs. A four-time Pro Bowler, Anderson's 6,166 yards rushing is second in franchise history behind Payton.
"The Claw" played 12 seasons for the Bears and was one of the most ferocious pass rushers of his time. After joining the Bears in 1944, Sprinkle played on offense and defense, catching 10 passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns in 1948. He switched exclusively to defense after a few seasons, harassing quarterbacks before the creation of the sack as an official statistic.
Drafted by the Bears in the NFL and by the Chargers in the AFL in 1966, Buffone chose Chicago and played all 14 of his NFL seasons there. He retired in 1980 as the franchise's all-time leader in games played and he now ranks third with 186 games. His 18 sacks in 1968 are a team record.
He helped Canton and the Cleveland Bulldogs win NFL titles before joining the Bears in 1925 and helping them win the championship in 1933. The defensive tackle is credited with developing the pre-snap shifting strategy employed by defensive linemen today. He was a two-time first-team All Pro and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.
He played his entire eight-year career with the Bears in the 1940s, but his career was interrupted by World War II. He was a decorated pilot in the European theater, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. The end led the league with 13 touchdown receptions in 1947 and nine in '49. Kavanaugh was second-team All Pro in 1947.
He wasn't the greatest quarterback in the world, but he was tough and fearless. He led the Bears to the Super Bowl XX championship by completing 56.9 percent of his passes for 15 touchdowns, but he also threw 11 interceptions. "The Punky QB" played for the Bears from 1982-88 and has fallen on hard times physically since retiring.
A true leader in the Bears' locker room, Kreutz played center in Chicago from 1998 to 2010 before a nasty split led to him signing with the New Orleans Saints, where he played just four games before retiring. Kreutz was a six-time Pro Bowler and was once a first-team All Pro.
The Hall of Famer played for the Bears from 1932-36 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971. His five receiving touchdowns led the league in '34. He was first-team All Pro in '33, '34, '36 and '38.
The Bears picked him in the second round of the 1954 draft and he played in Chicago until '64. The fullback was a five-time Pro Bowler and was a first-team All Pro once. He led the NFL in rushing in '56 with 1,126 yards on 235 carries. He helped lead the Bears to the '56 title game, but they lost to the New York Giants. His franchise rushing records stood until Walter Payton eclipsed them decades later.
He played his entire career with the Bears from 1976-87 and was known as a hard-hitting safety with great knowledge of the game. A Yale grad, Fencik was a two-time Pro Bowler and first-team All Pro in 1981. He was a key member of the Super Bowl XX champions.
One of the greatest receivers in Bears history, Morris led the NFL in 1964 with 93 catches for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. He earned first-team All Pro honors that season. He played for the Bears his entire career from 1958-67. He was a beloved sportscaster for many years after his playing career.
Some believe he has surpassed Brian Urlacher as the face of the Bears' defense. He's off to one of his best starts in a stellar career. He already has two interceptions for touchdowns five games into the 2012 season. He's a seven-time Pro Bowler and was first-team All Pro once.
He played center for the Decatur Staleys, later the Bears, from 1920-32 and was a first-team All Pro two years. He is credited with being the first center to snap the ball with one hand. A local product, Trafton attended Oak Park River Forest and Notre Dame for one year. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.
'Mama's Boy' was an athletic and ferocious linebacker for the Bears during the 1980s. He made the Pro Bowl during the 1985 Super Bowl XX season. Wilson was the 19th overall pick out of Louisville and joined Wilber Marshall and Mike Singletary to form one of the greatest linebacking corps in a rich Bears history of linebackers.
One of the most athletic linebackers in history, Marshall was key member of the Super XX champions. The Bears drafted him 11th overall in 1984, and he played in Chicago until '87, at which point he signed with the Washington Redskins and played there until 1992. He was a first-team All Pro in '86 and '92 and a Pro Bowler in '86, '87 and '92. He also won a Super Bowl with the Redskins. He has fallen on tough times physically since leaving football.
He played for the Bears from 1981 to '92 and was a staple on one of the best lines in NFL history. Hilgenberg was a first-team All Pro in 1988 and '89 and Pro Bowler for seven seasons.
The offensive lineman played for the Bears from 1923-'27 and was a four-time first-team All Pro four times. He was voted into the Hall of Fame in '64. He was also a member of the NFL's all-decade team for the 1920s.
The linebacker played 12 seasons for the Bears from 1955-66. He was a first-team All Pro from 1963-65 and Pro Bowler for five seasons and was named one of the 300 greatest players of all time.
The sixth overall pick in 1936, the offensive tackle spent his entire nine-year career with the Bears. He was a four-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler. Stydahar was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967.
The guard-tackle was a first-team All Pro in 1937 and made the Pro Bowl from 1939-41. He was on four NFL championship teams and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.
A Hall of Fame induction in 1991, Jones played 12 of his 13 NFL seasons with the Bears. He was a fixture at guard for eight seasons before adding defensive tackle duties in 1962 before switching exclusively to DT in 1963. He went to seven straight Pro Bowls from 1955-61 and missed just two games in his first 11 seasons.
The offensive tackle was one of the anchors of the great Bears lines of the 1980s that led the way for Walter Payton. Covert was a first-team All Pro and Pro Bowler in 1985 and '86. He was the No. 6 overall pick out of Pitt in 1983.
The halfback-defensive back was the No. 2 overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1940 draft. He was a first-team All Pro and Pro Bowler in 1941 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966. He led the NFL with a 7.3 yards-per-carry average in '41. He also made the college hall of fame after a stellar career at Duke.
A guard and linebacker, Fortmann played for the Bears from 1936-43 and was a six-time First-Team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965. Legend has it that Fortmann convinced George Halas to allow him to pursue his medical degree while playing football. He ultimately became a surgeon and team physician for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947-63.
The New York Giants selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1946 draft out of Notre Dame, and he played for the Bears from 1948-55. He played tackles on both sides of the ball and linebacker. A four-time first-team All Pro and Pro Bowler, Connor was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1975.
The Hall of Fame seems within reach for No. 54. He may be slowing down just a bit after a knee injury late last season, but he remains the face of the Bears defense, which is off to a strong start. The Bears drafted Urlacher with the No. 9 pick in 2000 and he went on to become a four-time first-team All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler. His athletic ability and range from sideline to sideline has resulted in 21 interceptions. He was the 2005 defensive player of the year.
"The Galloping Ghost" helped legitimize the fledgling NFL when George Halas signed him to a barnstorming tour after his legendary career at Illinois. He played seven seasons for Chicago and was a three-time all-NFL selection three seasons. ESPN named Grange the greatest college player of all time and he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1963.
A two-time defensive player of the year (1985, '88) Singletary's intensity and focus was one of the defining characteristics of the 'Shufflin' Crew' Super Bowl champs. The middle linebacker was a seven-time first-team All-Pro and 10-time Pro Bowler. He was a second-round pick by the Bears in 1981 and played until '92. Singletary was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
The 1985 Bears remain legends in Chicago, and Richard Dent was Super Bowl XX's MVP. Dent had 1.5 sacks, three tackles, two forced fumbles and one pass defense in the Bears' 46-10 victory over the New England Patriots. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011 after recording 137.5 career sacks during his 15-year career (12 years as a Bear). Originally selected by the Bears in the eighth round (No. 203 overall) of the 1983 draft out of Tennessee State, Dent made eight career interceptions and recorded 10 or more sacks eight times, including a stretch of five consecutive seasons from 1984-88.
One of the larger-than-life characters on the Bears' Super Bowl XX-winning defense. 'Danimal' made it to the Hall of Fame in 2002 after starring at defensive end for the Bears for the entirety of his career from 1979-90. Despite battling serious knee injuries, Hampton made it to four Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro once.
The 6-8 high jumper went to Tennessee on a basketball scholarship, but his freakish skills soon grabbed the attention of the football coach, and Atkins earned All-America honors as a football standout. He was the No. 11 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in 1953, but he forged his Hall of Fame career with the Bears from 1955-66. The dominant defensive end was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro one season.
One of the toughest football players ever, Nagurski was a punishing runner and linebacker. He played from 1930-43 and gained 4,031 yards. He was a two-time champion, five-time all-NFL selection and a member of the Hall of Fame. Nagurski would fake a plunge into the pile, step back and throw a jump pass with tremendous results. His two TD passes helped the Bears win the 1933 championship.
Part of the Bears' legendary tradition of great middle linebackers, George played from 1952-65 and was all-NFL for eight seasons and played in eight straight Pro Bowls from 1955-62. He had 18 career interceptions and recovered 19 fumbles. He is credited with being perhaps the first middle linebacker to immediately drop back into coverage on passing downs.
Not many players from schools as small as Hardin-Simmons University were drafted in the early 1940s when scouting was still in its infancy, but as the story goes, two teams were pursuing Turner. The Lions thought he would turn down any other team so they didn't even draft him, but George Halas picked Turner in the first round and he went to enjoy a Hall of Fame career. The center/linebacker played from 1940-52 and was a seven-time All-Pro and four-time league champion. He had four interceptions in five NFL title games.
He played from 1939-50, yet Luckman remains the benchmark for every Bears quarterback. Part of that has been due to a mediocre crop of QBs, but Luckman had a great career. He was a first-team All-Pro from '41-'44 and again in '47. Luckman had the first 400-yard passing game in history, led the league in passing yards and TDs in '43, and his seven-touchdown game remains tied for the record. Luckman is in the Hall of Fame and his No. 42 is retired.
Those who saw Sayers often wonder how good he could have been if he had access to today's medical advances. Knee injuries cut his career to just seven seasons, but that was enough time to get the "Kansas Comet" into the Hall of Fame. Sayers was a two-time rushing champ and five-time All-Pro. He scored a record 22 touchdowns as a rookie in 1965. One of the greatest return men in NFL history, Sayers averaged a record 30.56 yards per return.
"Da Coach" was a success on the field and on the sidelines. Ditka revolutionized the tight end position as a pass catcher, hauling in 56 passes for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns while winning rookie of the year honors in 1961. A Hall of Famer, Ditka was a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. Ditka finished his playing career in Dallas, where he won a Super Bowl ring in 1972, and he went on to be a tight end and special teams coach with the Cowboys, winning another ring in '78. He became immortalized in Chicago as the head coach of the Super Bowl XX champs. Ditka and Tom Flores are the only two in NFL history to win Super Bowls as players, assistant coaches and head coaches.
One of the fiercest players in NFL history, Butkus was the Bears' middle linebacker from 1965-73. The Hall of Famer's No. 51 was retired. Butkus made eight Pro Bowls and was a six-time first-team All-Pro. The two-time defensive player of the year was voted onto the all-decade teams for the '60s and '70s.
"Sweetness" is one of the most beloved and respected Chicago Bears in history. The Hall of Famer played from 1975-87 and gained 16,726 yards, which stood as the most in NFL history until Emmitt Smith broke the mark in 2002. And much of Payton's success came during lean times for the Bears. Payton was a nine-time Pro Bowler and five-time first-team All-Pro. He was known for punishing tacklers on impact and was a major contributor on the team that won Super Bowl XX.
One of the founders of the NFL, Halas bought the Decatur Staleys in 1921 and moved them to Chicago, where they became the Bears in '22. 'Papa Bear' won six NFL championships as a coach, and he also played receiver and defensive end. He signed former Illinois star Red Grange, lending legitimacy to the fledgling NFL, and he drafted Mike Ditka and later hired Ditka as head coach.
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