Legendary Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton
As a child, I spent my neighborhood days moving around the north suburbs of Illinois dangerously close to Packers territory. But it was the Bears who stole my heart and have been my first love since before I could walk.
There are a lot of reasons that one would/should/could be a Bears fan, and frankly, there are not a lot of teams that can say that. I've been a Chicago Bears fan for as long as I can remember, and I plan to keep it that way until my time is done on this Earth.
The most important team to the creation of the National Football League, the Bears have long been regarded as one of the most storied franchises of all time. It's not a mistake either, from the domination of the early NFL, to the greatest single team of all time (I'm sure you all know which one I'm talking about), the Bears have always been talked about and loved by their diehard fans.
I'm going give you the 10 best things about being a fan of the Chicago Bears.
New York can have their history and filth. LA can have their celebrities and smog. It's Chicago that is the greatest city in the United States. And it's Chicago who has the best fans in the country; sorry Philadelphia, but we'll talk when you have to wait 100-plus years for a championship and still have a fanbase all over the country.
The Bears have been playing in the city of Chicago since 1921, when they were still known as the Chicago Staleys.
As a Chicago Bears fan, the city is one of the reasons to love the Bears: the atmosphere on game day, the smell of bar-b-Que at tailgates, the views of downtown, the stadium on the lake front. There is nothing like a Sunday during football season in Chicago.
The Bears have won countless NFL Championships and even snuck in a Super Bowl title in 1985, but there's not much to talk about there. Oh wait.
Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon
Unfortunately, I was not alive the last and only time the Chicago Bears hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. Growing up, I always knew how great the 1985 Bears were. For a period there in the late 1990's to the early 2000's, there wasn't much to talk about except for the past greatness the Bears had.
There has never been an NFL team that was as good as the 1985 Bears, I don't care that the Dolphins went undefeated. The 1985 Bears team was the epitome of greatness. There were five Hall of Famers on that team, four players and of course, Da Coach.
Arguably the greatest running back of all time, Walter Payton, was in the backfield for that team. Samurai Mike Singletary manned the middle linebacker position with a head made of steel. Danimal Hampton wreaked havoc on opposing offense from the defensive tackle position. Newest Hall-of-Famer Richard Dent was as good as there was at the defensive end spot.
That's just the Hall of Famers, there still hasn't been a mention of the punky QB Jim McMahon, speedy wideout Willie Gault, stout safety Gary Fencik, Mongo Steve McMichael and certainly we can't forget William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Clearly this was a team for the ages.
The 1985 Chicago Bears are a team that will forever be talked about. And it's just another on a long list of the best things about being a Bears fan.
The late, great Walter Payton
If I was to ask Bears fans who is the most beloved Bear of all-time, the answer would be Walter Payton. And it wasn't just that he was an incredibly amazing player, it was also that he was outstanding person.
The man known as "Sweetness" spent his entire storied career with the Chicago Bears. From 1975-1987, there was no one better than Walter Payton. In just 13 seasons, Payton amassed almost 17,000 yards rushing with 110 TDs.
He retired as the NFL's all-time leading rusher and was chosen as the fifth best player of all time by the NFL Network.
Walter Payton was the quintessential Chicago Bear, and he will forever be loved by not only Chicago Bears fan, but the city of Chicago as a whole.
Rest in Peace Walter.
Bears owner Virginia McCaskey, daughter of George Halas
George Halas is the man behind the biggest sport in all of America, the National Football League. Halas was the man behind the Bears for a long time and was so influential that the Bears adopted his initials, GSH, to go on the sleeves of their jerseys.
As a Bears fan it is nice to have the bragging rights that we have the man who was the father of the NFL. He amassed over 300 wins as a coach and even played for nine seasons at defensive end.
No other team in the league can claim they have the man who started the NFL, and that is pretty cool.
Former Bears linebacker Mike Singletary
The Bears have had a long history of having stud linebacker after stud linebacker. The defense has always been the Bears' priority and it earned the team the nickname the "Monsters of the Midway."
It all stated started with Bill George, the man who invented the middle linebacker position. He was as mean as they came and often was flying all over the field inflicting pain. He was an eight-time All-Pro and was selected to the NFL's 1950's All-Decade Team.
Then came arguably the Bears' most famous linebacker: the man, the myth, the legend, Dick Butkus. No. 51 patrolled the field for the Bears from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's. He was selected to eight consecutive Pro-Bowls and is probably the nastiest player anyone has ever seen.
Samurai Mike Singletary was the next man in line to take the reigns. He was the heart and soul of the Bears' defense in the 1980's and was instrumental in the Bears' 1985 Super Bowl run. He went to 10 straight Pro Bowls and was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
And then there's the current crop of Bears linebackers, which includes two potential Hall of Famers. Longtime face of the franchise Brian Urlacher has the best chance to make the Hall. At age 34, Urlacher continues to perform at a high level. Lance Briggs, his partner in crime, has been Urlacher's equal for a long time know, but he has played under his shadow a bit. Briggs has been the definition of consistency with seven straight Pro Bowl appearances as well as three NFL All-Pro selections.
It's hard not to love the Bears when they continue to have a line of success at the linebacker position. The "Monsters of the Midway" hold the hearts to many Chicago Bear fans.
The Bears have some of the most classic uniforms in the NFL. They're very distinctive and have remained consistent for a long time. Even the 1940's throwbacks they pulled out last season were incredibly nice.
The Bears are also the only team to pay homage to the founder of both their organization and the NFL, George Halas. The "GSH" found on the sleeves of all Bears uniforms is a tribute to the man who made everything about the game possible.
Navy blue and orange have long been associated with the Bears, but this was only after Halas wanted to use the colors of his his alma-mater, Illinois. He ended up making the Bears' blue a shade darker, and it has stuck ever since.
Bears fans love their jerseys and it's hard to see why we wouldn't. They are classic and gorgeous, not much more you can ask for in a uniform.
The new Soldier Field was a bit disappointing to a lot of Bears fan. They even went as far as to call it an Alien Ship that landed inside the old Soldier Field's pillars. Regardless of all that, Soldier Field still provides a top notch game-day experience.
Bears games are electric, especially when the team is playing well. And when the Bears square off against the Packers at Soldier Field? Forget about it, there's no other place I'd rather be. Bears fans are diehard through and through and Soldier Field is basically a meet-up spot for all Bears fans to get rowdy and watch football.
While the grass in Soldier Field may be terrible, the fans and seating are not. It is a top-of-the-line experience in the NFL. More the reason to love the Bears.
Former Bears defensive end Richard Dent
It's hard not to like a team with the track record of success the Bears have had. Since the NFL began, the Bears are the holders of the most wins in NFL history with 729 (including playoffs), as well as the best winning percentage of any team at .575.
While they have been around for as long as the NFL has, they have still been dominant for much of their time in existence. This continued success has really earned the Bears one of the best fanbases in all the NFL.
They say everyone loves a winner, so it's easy to see why the Bears have the fans they do.
It is like religion in the city of Chicago on Sundays. There is nothing, I mean nothing, more important than the Bears game. I remember my dad telling me stories about how stores were literally closed the day the Bears were in the 1985 Super Bowl. It was like the city shut down to catch a glimpse of history.
The same could not be said about a lot of other cities. But the Bears love Chicago and Chicago loves the Bears. Oh you want to go golfing Sunday? That's good. Your tee-time better be after the Bears game. You want to go out for dinner? The place you're going better be showing the game.
That's just how it is in Chicago. The Bears are the city's most beloved team and us fans sometimes care way too much about our Bears. But maybe, just maybe, a Super Bowl victory this year would make it all worth it.
DA BEARS DA BEARS DA BEARS DA BEARS DA BEARS.
Bill Swerski's Superfans will forever be a part of Chicago Bears folklore history. They made the saying "Da Bears" one of the most well known quotes about a sports team of all time.
If the SNL guys love Da Bears, everyone loves Da Bears. Nuff said.