George Halas coached for 40 seasons and accumulated 324 wins, 151 losses, and 31 ties. The Bears won six NFL Championships with Halas as coach. He was enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame’s charter class of 17 members on September 7, 1963. Halas was named AP Coach of the Year, the Sporting News Coach of the Year, and the UPI NFL Coach of the Year for the 1963 and the 1965 seasons.
If anyone could be called the Father of the NFL, it would be George Halas. In this way, his nickname, Papa Bear says it all. He loved the fans and was dedicated to his friends, family, and faith. On Thursday, December 10, 1981, Halas appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., with Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue. Halas explained how the NFL was like a wheel: The league was the rim and the teams were the spokes. If you have a weak spoke, you have a weak wheel. That’s why the teams with the worst records get to draft first. That’s why the league schedules the games instead of the strong teams just playing each other. That’s why the teams share the television money equally.
Halas and a small group of men developed the framework for professional football in the most humble circumstances—a meeting in a car showroom in Canton, Ohio. It took decades to make it work. No one worked as hard or as long as Halas.
Halas never really retired from football. Any awards and honors that came his way would take place during his “career.” When he received the Sword of Loyola at the Conrad Hilton, he said:
“Sixty years ago I offered my heart and my helmet to the Lord. My heart is still beating and my helmet still fits. I pray the Divine Coach finds me worthy to be on His first team.”
Copyright 2021, Sporting Chance Press
Illustration: Bill Potter’s biographical montage of George “Papa Bear” Halas, Copyright 2014, Sporting Chance Press
More on the Chicago Bears. Here at the other Chicago Bears bios that we have released for the month of September thus far:
Two of our books.
We have published several books that cover some material on the Chicago Bears. One of our recent books is called PAPA BEAR AND THE CHICAGO BEARS’ WINNING WAYS reviews the exciting story of George Halas and his dynamic role in professional football for those in middle school and older. Author: Patrick McCaskey. Visit Amazon, Great offer today on this great educational and sports resource for middle grades students!
Our most ambitious book on sports is a 2014 effort called PILLARS OF THE NFL. This book is a real collector’s book on the 10 greatest coaches in NFL history. It includes stats as well as stories and more. Visit Amazon, this one is also offered at a great price today.