Chicago Bears: The Top 7 Moments in Brian Urlacher's Career
There have been plenty of great moments in what has been a fairly illustrious and probable Hall of Fame career for Urlacher. For example, after missing the 2009 season, he came back as strong as ever last year to lead the Bears to the NFC Championship game.
Despite that, he always seems to be the center of controversy. Opposing players continue to show disrespect to the man, perhaps out of jealousy. He is considered overrated by some.
But to those in the know, he is not only the face of the franchise, but a stellar linebacker who introduced the dimension of speed as he chased receivers and running backs all around the field.
Especially in the Bears defensive system, Urlacher sacrifices stats as he does not usually rush the passer. Instead, he is counted on to go back in coverage, a task he performs very well.
So let's take a look at the career of a man who probably will be appreciated more when he is gone and try to pick out his best moments.
Urlacher Gets His Chance
In Urlacher's rookie season in 2000, head coach Dick Jauran recognized his talent and appointed him as the team's starting strongside linebacker.
Urlacher wasn't consistent in his first game and lost his starting job to Rosevelt Colvin.
However, when Barry Minter went down with an injury, Urlacher jumped in at middle linebacker and started game three. Similar to the Lou Gehrig-Wally Pipp story in MLB, the rest is history, as they say.
Urlacher went on to win the league's Rookie Defensive Player of the Month in October. He ended up leading the Bears with 124 tackles and eight sacks, both team rookie records.
Although the team finished 5-11, Urlacher was the toast of the league.
Oct. 7, 2001: Urlacher Dominates Michael Vick
Urlacher had one of the best games of his career against the Atlanta Falcons during his second year in the league against one of the games most impressive young quarterbacks.
Not only was Vick young, he had fresh legs and was known to be arguably the most dynamic running QB the league had ever seen.
But Urlacher demonstrated his own speed and power, limiting Vick to just 18 rushing yards. He also recorded a forced fumble and a sack.
As if all that wasn't enough, Urlacher also returned one of Vick's fumbles for a 90-yard touchdown.
Brian Urlacher Tackles Everything
In the now-infamous comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals in 2006. Brian Urlacher was given credit for an amazing 25 tackles. Read what teammate Devin Hester had to say about his historic performance in the book titled "The 50 Greatest Plays in Chicago Bears Football History":
"He was killing them, just running around and tackling anyone with the ball. It was probably one of the greatest games anyone has ever played."
Urlacher finished the season with 93 tackles and three forced fumbles. He was elected to the 2006 All-Pro Team and 2007 Pro Bowl, while also earning consideration for the League's Defensive Player of the Year award.
The Bears surprised the league that year with a 13-3 record and made it to the Super Bowl for just the second time in team history, losing to the Colts.
Now, tackles are an unofficial statistic, so teams often trump up the numbers on their own players. But in this case, I remember it well and he was all over the field.
Urlacher Goes on the Offensive
This TD helped secure a win that gave the Bears a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Meet the 2005 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
In 2005, Urlacher led a defensive team that allowed the fewest points per game and created the most turnovers.
He recorded at least 10 tackles in six consecutive games, and finished the season with a team high 121 tackles. Urlacher also became known as a team leader that season, as he helped the younger teammates with audibles.
The team finished the season 11-5, their best record since 2001. For his part, Urlacher was named the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Although the Bears lost to the Panthers in the playoffs, Urlacher recorded seven tackles and one interception in the 29–21 loss.
Dec. 17, 2007 vs. Minnesota
In a Monday night game, Urlacher had one of his most productive games against the Vikings, as he recorded two sacks, recovered a fumble and also had an interception.
On seven different occasions, Urlacher has recorded two sacks in a game. But this was the only one that also included an interception, displaying his all-around power and speed game.
Unfortunately, the performance occurred in a 20-13 loss during a dismal season for the Bears.
Dec. 23, 2007: Urlacher Scores Only Defensive TD
On a cold December day in 2007, Urlacher scored his first-ever (and up to this point, only) defensive touchdown of his career.
And it came against the Green Bay Packers.
In a 35-7 thrashing of the cheeseheads, Urlacher returned a pass 85 yards into the end zone for the score. It was the fourth of five consecutive games where Urlacher had an interception.
It was the final score in the fourth quarter against Brett Favre. In a game where the Bears QB, Kyle Orton, completed just nine passes for 104 yards to score 35 points tells you that it was the defense that did the damage.