The Chicago Bears Football Team: History & 4 Great Tips for Gameday
Updated On: July 17, 2023
Football is the most popular sport in the United States. Fans from all over arrive at their stadiums early to tailgate, socialise, and cheer on their favourite teams. Whether you’re completely new to the sport or a lifelong Bears fan, you must know about their legacy.
To fully understand what makes the Bears great and how to prepare for a trip to Soldier Field, we’ve dove deep into their history and listed our top tips for gameday.
History of Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears have a great history, despite not winning many Superbowls. They are the 2nd most victories of all the NFL teams and have the most retired jersey numbers in the League.
While their legacy may not be as adorned with rings as other franchises, the Chicago Bears football team has left its mark on Chicago.
Early Days of Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears were founded in 1920 by George Halas. The team was initially called the Stanleys and played in Decatur, Illinois. It wasn’t until the following year that the team would move to Chicago. When the team relocated, they played at Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
During this move, the team changed their name to the Chicago Bears. The name was chosen to match the Cubs, as that is what you call baby bears. The team colours were also changed. Halas was fond of the colours of his Alma Mater, the University of Illinois: orange and blue, and decided that the Bears would wear the same.
For the next decade, the Chicago Bears football team would dominate the league and win multiple NFC championships. Although they saw success on the field, the team was struggling to fill their stadium. To fix this, the team tried signing big talent, such as Red Grange. It worked a first but would not be sustainable in the long run.
In 1932 and 1933, the Bears would win consecutive NFC championships. In the 1940s, the team made it to 5 championships and took home the trophy at 4 of them. One of these wins was the 1940 championship, where the Bears beat the Washington Redskins by an astonishing 73-0.
Successes & Struggles
The Chicago Bears football team struggled throughout the 1950s. Their star players were retiring, and the young talent had received injuries that left them unable to play. The team’s luck would change when they secured their 8th title in 1963, but it would not stay for long.
After their championship win, the Bears would fall through the rankings in the mid to late-1960s. At the end of the 1969 and 1970 seasons, the team would have the worst record in the league.
In 1971, the Bears moved from Wrigley Field to Soldier Field, where they still play today. Unfortunately, the team would struggle to fill the stadium’s 61,500-person capacity. For the rest of the 70s, the Bears were a bottom-of-the-table team and could not reignite the spark of their early years.
The Chicago Bears Superbowl Era
In 1982, Mike Ditka was hired to coach the team. He had played for the Chicago Bears from 1991 to 1996 and understood the game from a player’s perspective. Ditka would lead the team to their 9th NFC championship two years later. This was their first victory since the AFC and NFC merged to create the NFL.
During the 1985 season, the Chicago Bears football team dominated the league and only lost one game. They made it all the way to the Superbowl, where they beat the New England Patriots 46-10. This was their first Superbowl victory and the only one in the franchise’s history.
Post-Superbowl – Present
The Bears continued to be competitive throughout the rest of the 1980s but could not secure another championship. Mike Ditka was let go from the team in the early 1990s after the lack of success, and things only got worse from there.
For the Chicago Bears, the 1990s are widely considered as a disappointment. The team struggled greatly and had few winning records throughout the decade. The next time the Bears would see success would be in 2005.
In 2005, rookie coach Lovie Smith would take the Bears to the postseason for the first time in 4 years. The following season, the team would once again make the playoffs. They worked their way to the Superbowl but lost 29-17 to the Indianapolis Colts.
Throughout the late-200s and 2010s, the Bears’ success weaned. The Bears would occasionally make the playoffs but be knocked out early. Today, the team is struggling to see success on the field and is dedicated to a rebuild.
4 Tips for Your First Chicago Bears Football Game
To make the most out of a trip to Soldier Field, it is important to know the ins and outs of football traditions. From tailgating to fight songs, check out these tips to improve your game-day experience.
1: Arrive Early
While arriving early is important for most sports games, it is even more essential at football games. Many fans consider getting there early and tailgating one of the best parts of attending a Chicago Bears football game.
Tailgating is when fans go to a football game hours before the start to cook and socialise in the parking lots. Most tailgate parties take place at the end of a pickup truck, where fans set up portable grills and have coolers full of beer.
Family-friendly tailgating lots are also available at the stadium, where alcohol is not allowed. These spaces are a great way to experience and enjoy tailgating when out with children.
Another benefit of getting to the game early is that you can walk around the stadium and find your seats. The doors at Soldier Field open 2 hours before kickoff, giving fans ample time to grab food, find their seats, and get to know their neighbours.
2: Dress for the Weather
Football is played during the winter months, and the weather in Chicago can get quite chilly. If you’re planning on seeing the Bears play at Soldier Field, it is important to dress right.
Coats, scarves, gloves, and hats are all common to see at a game, especially in the team’s colours. Just ensure you don’t wear the opposing team’s colours or the colours of the Bear’s greatest rivals – the Greenbay Packers.
3: Sing the Fight Song
One of the Bears’ longest traditions is to sing their fight song after they score. The song, “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” was written in 1941 by Al Hoffman.
Singing with the fans after a touchdown is a great way to immerse yourself in the Chicago spirit and raise the energy at Soldier Field.
4: Check out the Memorabilia
If you have spare time at Soldier Field, walk around the inside and outside of the stadium and look at Bears memorabilia and statues immortalising important dates throughout history.
Outside the stadium, statues of the Bears’ founder George “Papa Bear” Halas and star player Walter Payton can be found. They have been welcoming guests since 2019.
In addition to these statues, the Flame of Hope Special Olympics torch can also be found outside of Soldier Field. Unveiled in 2018, the statue honours the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary, where the first event was held. Other statues at the stadium include the Tribute to Freedom and Gold Star Families Memorial.
Inside the stadium, the Bears’ only Superbowl trophy, replica Superbowl rings, signed uniforms, and more can be found at Halas Hall. Walking through this area is a trip back in time and showcases the brilliance of the Bears’ legacy.
Chicago Bears Football Games are Fun Events for all Fans
The Chicago Bears have been representing the Windy City for over a century. The team has achieved success and endured loss, but their diehard fans were always there to support them.
To make the most out of a trip to Soldier Field and a day with the Bears, try these tips and fully engage with Chicago and football culture. Win or lose, your gameday will be one to remember.
If you’re planning a trip to the Windy City, check out our list of fun things to do in Chicago.