Excitement for the Bears are at an all-time high, so while March Madness and the NCAA Tournament begin, we still have Bears on the mind. So we've created Chicago Bears Football Madness, pitting players from the three best Bears teams and legends head-to-head. This is the Legends and Others region.
1. George Halas
16. Marc Trestman
Halas: Good luck going against the OG of Chicago Bears football. The "Mr. Everything" of Pro Football coached the Bears for 40 seasons and won six NFL titles. An innovator and disciplinarian, he can fill any role from coach, to player, to owner. He's used to running the table, having led two different teams to undefeated regular seasons and "Papa Bear" is certainly used to winning. His 324 total victories stood as an NFL record until 1993.
Trestman: True story: My first night in Chicago was the Sunday Night Football, Aaron Rodgers six touchdown game that was the beginning of the end of the Trestman era. Usually even in the worst reality TV shows, there's at least one kinda loveable character right? Like Pauly D in Jersey Shore. But from Trestman, to Aaron Kromer, to Jay Cutler, to Martellus Bennett to Brandon Marshall, once it was clear the season was lost, you almost enjoyed watching them all try to stab each other in the back cuz they all kinda deserved it.
So yeah, there's no way Trestman pulls off the upse-- I'm sorry what's that?
Well, in that case, UMBC might have company.
By Paul Aspan
8. Sid Luckman
9. Red Grange
Luckman: Beware of jump passes by one of the dominant two-way players in the tourney; never comes off the court, running offense from point guard spot, then defending deep threats from the other side. Favors T-formation and ensign in wartime U.S. Merchant Marine at home with land, sea and air games.
Grange: Still dangerous even after knee injuries limited sideline speed. Can thrive in structured schemes or barnstorming, great tournament ambassador who delivered championship-winning plays on offense one year, then on defense the next. May work nicely as game broadcaster when/if tournament run ends.
By John "Moon" Mullin
5. Julius Peppers
12. Dave Wannstedt
Peppers: By name and by price tag, Julius Peppers is probably the biggest free agent signing in Chicago Bears history, inking a six-year, $91.5 million contract with $42 million guaranteed. The Bears showed they were all-in that year, splurging on Peppers and big-time free agents, uh, Chester Taylor and Brandon Manumaleuna? Okay, maybe nix the second part. But Peppers was well worth it for the majority of his time in Chicago.
In four seasons, he recorded 37.5 sacks, forced 10 fumbles and picked off three passes. While he did go on to have a few productive seasons with Green Bay after leaving Chicago, he was still a very good Bear.
Wannstedt (I'm going to type this the way Dave Wannstedt would say it out loud): Hey, look here, coach. The toughest job you can have with the Chicago Bears is replace Mike Ditka. And that's what I did there in Chicago. Now I took that team to the playoffs in my second year, coach! Look here, we lost Richard Dent, Steve McMichael and Jim Harbaugh and hey! Coach! We still made it to the playoffs and beat the hell out of the Vikings! Ya know?
By Slavko Bekovic
4. Matt Forte
13. Alshon Jeffery
Forte: Put simply, Forte is one of the great all-time Bears. Here's just some of where he ranks among Bears history:
2nd all-yime rushing yards
4th all-time in rushing touchdowns
5th all-time in rushing yards per game
7th all-time in receiving yards
20th all-time in receiving touchdowns
2nd all-time in receptions
So, yeah. Matt Forte deserves to have his number retired.
Jeffery: Bears fans aren't crazy about Jeffery because he pretty consistently trashes the city and the organization. Still, Jeffery is Top-10 all-time in Bears' receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He's a bit of a heel now, and his performance against the Bears during Double-Doink certainly doesn't make Bears fans feel any better, but his impact on the organization wasn't insignificant. Maybe there's a pleasant reunion 10 years down the road. Maybe.
By Cam Ellis
6. Ryan Pace
11. John Fox
Pace: A grudge match! Pace and Fox had their disagreements, and in Fox's defense, Pace never gave him the roster he gave Matt Nagy in 2018. But Pace's ability to nail cheap, mid-round draft picks like Adrian Amos, Jordan Howard, Eddie Jackson, Tarik Cohen and Bilal Nichols is a good starting point, even if his first-round picks (besides Roquan Smith) have had their questions. Pace, though, didn't have any missteps as he built the Bears' 2018 roster…except for Cody Parkey.
Fox: Fox can be credited with turning around a horrendous culture at Halas Hall after the forgettable Marc Trestman/Phil Emery era. He was well-liked in the Bears' locker room when he was fired in 2017, though players understood the team didn't win nearly enough games for him to keep his job. The dour, run-first offense Fox preferred never worked, and that brutal challenge in 2017 against the Green Bay Packers (the Benny Cunningham one) was one of the lowest points of his tenure. But, even if it's not much, he left the Bears in a better place than he found them.
By JJ Stankevitz
3. Gale Sayers
14. Mike Brown
Sayers: One of the ultimate "what could have been" cases in NFL history. Gale Sayers was widely regarded as one of the most electric players in the league, but his career was cut short due to multiple injuries. In parts of seven seasons with the Bears, he only played in 68 games, but was one of the best running backs in the league and still made the Hall of Fame. Known for his incredible cuts and blazing speed, "The Kansas Comet" was Barry Sanders before Barry Sanders.
Brown: In the first two rounds of the 2000 NFL Draft, the Bears landed Brian Urlacher and Mike Brown - not too shabby. Some might argue that Brown was the heart and soul of those great Bears defenses of the 2000s. A hard-hitting safety, fans will remember him for his overtime heroics back in 2001.
In Week 7, the first play of overtime between the Bears and 49ers, Terrell Owens bobbled the ball right into the hands of Brown, who took it 33 yards to the house to win the game. Then in Week 8, the Bears and Browns went to overtime and Bryan Robinson deflected Tim Couch's pass straight up into the arms of the waiting Brown, who took it 16 yards into the endzone (and right on through into the tunnel) to win the game. I smell upset.
By Slavko Bekovic
7. Jay Cutler
10. Kyle Orton
Jay Cutler: Whoooooo caresssss. It's the seven seed that showed flashes. Maybe even knocked off a top-5 team during the regular season. But overall just couldn't consistently put it together. Was it mentality? Was it work ethic? Was it not enough supporting talent? Never say never- UConn won it in 2014 as a seven seed when they put it all together. The talent is there, but can Cutty FINALLY put it all together?
Kyle Orton: He's a fan favorite. Nothing flashy. Works hard and plays efficiently. He's Syracuse in a down year but knowing how to efficiently perfect the 2-3 zone come March. He'll win you some games, maybe even get you to the playoffs. But eventually, will be overwhelmed by a team that can take some shots and hit them.
By Matt Rooney
2. Dick Butkus
15. Jim Harbaugh
Butkus: Mad that he wasn't top overall seed (still mad having had to negotiate with Papa Bear anyway) so may be nastier than usual. Underrated offensive threat from days as center at Illinois plus No. 2 all-time in Bears takeaways so can win with offense or defense, as long as it's physical.
Harbaugh: Captain Comeback can bring unpleasant surprises late and can win a track meet – 15th rushing quarterback all-time – or with a heave at the buzzer, with 15 fourth-quarter comebacks and 19 game-winning drives. Comfortable vs. physical opponent and the muckier the game, the better.
By John "Moon" Mullin