When the words "Chicago Bears" slide off anyone's lips, the first thing that comes to mind is defense.
Chicago has stayed true to its word by creating a defensive powerhouse, that we see spurts of life from, year after year. The position that has contained the most talent since the Bears were established in 1920 is famously known as their linebacker corps.
Dick Butkus, the NFL's number 1 "Most Feared Tackler," was one of the most feared linebackers in football's history. The 1979 Hall of Fame Inductee was an inspiration for many, and was a prime example of how to play with the highest notch of intensity on the gridiron.
Butkus was just another remarkable linebacker to play for the NFL's most storied franchise.
Now, another debate that I will like to propose includes Chicago's current leader and linebacker versus "'Da Bears" old timer, Mike Singletary. No matter the opinion, they are both amazing players and Hall of Famers.
Brian Urlacher | #54 | MLB | 6'4 | 258 Pounds
One of the teams' more vocal and physical leaders in centuries, Urlacher has been worth every penny, as he gives Chicago a whole new dimension and style. He always speaks his mind, which could be a bad thing sometimes, but he is probably the realest person on the team. While both Singletary and Urlacher are mental and vocal leaders, let's move to the physical and performing aspect of their game.
Urlacher has always been feared in the Bears' current Cover 2 system. Lovie Smith has always used his linebackers to fake a blitz up the middle gaps and then drop back into zone coverage in the middle of the field. Brian has always been perfect for this scheme.
Collecting 7 interceptions throughout 2007 and 2008, Urlacher also added 22 pass deflections. Number 54 has always been useful in passing situations as opposing lines fear a blitz from the veteran.
67 Pass Deflections
While Urlacher has been one of the brick wall tacklers in the NFL, Chicago hasn't used the 11th season pro in running situations compared to other middle linebackers like Ray Lewis. But, with a outside linebacker like Lance Briggs, you can't blame them.
With a total of 934 tackles, Urlacher has always been feared, yet again, from any offense's standpoint. Brian Urlacher hasn't been used against opposing tailbacks much, but still creates hesitation to hit the gap. While useful in any aspect of the game, Urlacher isn't considered an elite run stopper.
1058 Combined Tackles
804 Solo Tackles
Mike Singletary | #50 | MLB | 6'0 | 230 Pounds | 1981-1992
Note : Many of Singletary's statistics were not recorded. These include stats like tackles.
Mike Singletary, a name that speaks so many emotions. A man who wore his emotions on his sleeve, Singletary became the emotional voice of the 1985 Chicago Bears, and a basis for the 46 defensive scheme. Today, he is currently the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Still a voice in all of today's young stars and a strong mentor for his current players, Singletary is one of the most well respected men on and off the field.
With Mike Ditka's 46 defensive success mostly generated from unrealistic pressure thanks to their defensive line, Singletary wasn't a big interception player. Still a play maker, Singletary was never known for zone coverages or making plays on pigskins in the air. With that said, he did mess with the quarterback quite a bit.
Singletary's famous staredown at the line of scrimmage left quarterbacks feeling anxious and scared. The pride and intimidation that Mike carried was unmatched. This may have engaged with many quarterback's mindsets under center. Whether it be a read, or just plain fear, Singletary was behind it all.
While excelling at every aspect of the linebacker position, Singletary specialized in this area of concern. Many people who watched the old-school, man up defenses from back in the day express how amazing Singletary was at getting in the back's mind. Similar to the stare down that he gave the sucker under center, Number 50 packed a bigger punch to running backs.
Containing one of the biggest and hardest tackles in the history of football, the fearless linebacker give running backs a brutal beating. While his history of tackles were not recorded, Singletary had multiple tackles per game, if not per offensive possession. Despite the Chicago Bears' monster of a line, Singletary was ordered to blitz on occasion. Recording 19 sacks in his lifetime, Mike Singletary was a beast when it came to run stopping.
Conclusion | Brian Urlacher Vs. Mike Singletary
Pass Coverage : Urlacher
Run Stopping : Singletary
While every NFL fanatic has a massive amount of respect for these 2 all time greats of middle linebackers, in my opinion, Mike Singletary was better. Throughout highs and lows, the intensity Singletary played with just cannot be matched. Both players play with one of the highest notches of fearlessness, leadership, and strength, Singletary has edged this debate out.
Brian Urlacher, some may say, should not be compared to Mike Singletary for a numerous account of reasons.
First, Urlacher is more of a zone coverage, big hit over the middle linebacker. While Urlacher is a leader and very much a team player, Singletary not only matched that, but had the utmost class and respect for the media and fellow peers around him.
This being one of the hardest sports decisions of my life, Singletary is better than Urlacher, by a hair.
Also, if you would like to learn more about inside linebackers, check out Spencer Tucksen's slideshow. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/364819-top-7-inside-linebackers#page/1
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