Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chicago Bears Legends

Since it's the offseason for the Bears, all we hear about are the Bears deficiencies at essentially every position and crazy trade, free agent, and draft theories on how to fix the problems. Well here is a little change of pace. Here is a list of some of the craziest games the Bears have been a part of. A lot of these may be more myth than fact, but they are intriguing nonetheless. I found these on Wikipedia, so here goes:
The Staley Swindle (December 4, 1921, Buffalo All-Americans vs. Chicago Staleys): The Staleys, having won every game of their 1921 season (partially by refusing to play any road games) except their Thanksgiving game against the then-undefeated All-Americans (who, other than their match against Chicago, also had played all of their games at home), challenged the All-Americans to a rematch. Buffalo, having already scheduled their last game for December 3, agreed on the condition that it be considered a "post-season" exhibition match and not be counted in the standings. When Chicago won the rematch 10-7, Staleys owner George Halas persuaded the league to count the game in the standings by playing two more games, in an effort to discredit the All-Americans' "post-season" claim and to bring their win percentage to the same as the All-Americans. The league then instituted the first-ever tiebreaker for the championship (a now discontinued rule stating that a rematch counts more than a first matchup) and handing the championship to Chicago. The "Staley Swindle" name is primarily used by Buffalo sports fans.

First Ever Indoor Playoff Game (December 18 Portsmouth Spartans vs. Chicago Bears): Due to severe blizzards and sub-zero wind chill, the first ever NFL playoff game was moved indoors to Chicago Stadium. Because of the size of the arena, several rules were adapted for the game, including an 80-yard long field. The Bears defeated the Spartans 9-0.

The Sneakers Game (December 9, 1934, Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants, NFL Championship game): The game was played at the Polo Grounds in frigid weather on a frozen field. At halftime, New York coach Steve Owen provided his team with basketball shoes for better traction. Gliding on the ice with the sneakers, the Giants scored 27 points in 10 minutes during the fourth quarter, and ended up beating the undefeated Bears 30-13.

The Most One-Sided Victory in NFL History (December 8, 1940, Chicago Bears vs. Washington Redskins, 1940 NFL Championship Game): Sparked by a comment made by Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, who had said three weeks earlier that the Bears were crybabies and quitters when the going got tough, Chicago crushed Washington, 73-0. This game currently stands as the most onesided victory in NFL history.

The Fog Bowl (December 31, 1988, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears, NFC Divisional Playoff Game): A heavy, dense fog rolled over the stadium (Soldier Field) during the second quarter, cutting visibility to about 15-20 yards for the rest of the game. The fog was so thick that TV and radio announcers had trouble seeing what was happening on the field. The Bears ended up winning 20-12.

The Instant Replay Game (November 5, 1989, Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers): On the final play of the game, Green Bay quarterback Don "Magic" Majkowski rifled a desperation pass into the endzone which was caught by receiver Sterling Sharpe, a TD that with the extra point would give the Packers a 14-13 victory. A penalty flag was down, and it charged that Majkowski had thrown an illegal pass after he stepped over the line of scrimmage. After review, the play was ultimately ruled a touchdown for Green Bay. The Bears organization protested, and to this day, it is marked in their media guide as "The Instant Replay Game."

My personal favorite? The Staley Swindle. My least favorite? The Instant Replay Game. There was no allowance in the rule book for refs to use instant replay; what the hell was that?

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