Below is an excerpt from Patrick McCaskey’s latest Sports and Faith book: Sportsmanship, copyright 2020, Sporting Chance Press.

PART ONE: NOTEWORTHY EVENTS

The Chicago Bears Celebrated the First 100 Years of the NFL. Here is a Special Calendar of Noteworthy Events in Bears’ History.

 

Chicago Bears’ Calendar

[With thanks to Dan Barile, Larry Mayer, Matt Simeone, and Dan Yuska.]

 

January

On January 1, 1919, George Halas was the Most Valuable Player in the Rose Bowl; he had a touchdown reception and a 77-yard interception return. Halas’s Great Lakes Bluejackets beat the Mare Island Marines, 17–0.

On January 2, 1936, Bronko Nagurski signed a contract to play his 7th season with the Bears.

On January 3, 1966, Wendell Davis was born.  He was a 1st round draft choice of the Bears in 1988.  He played wide receiver for the Bears from 1988 through 1993.

On January 4, 1942, before the Bears played the professional all-stars from the balance of the league at the Polo Grounds in New York, George Halas spoke to the team.  This team was, in his words, the culmination of his dream, the best that there had been.  This was a never recaptured moment; he was overcome with emotion, an unforgettable experience.  The Bears won 35–24.

On January 5, 1923, Virginia McCaskey was born.  She has seen the Bears win eight Championships: 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1963, and 1985.

On January 6, 1985, the George Halas Trophy was first presented to the NFC Champions.

On January 7, 1962, Ron Rivera was born.  He was a 2nd round draft choice of the Bears in 1984.  He played linebacker for the Bears from 1984 through 1992.  He was a Bears’ assistant coach in 1997 and 1998 and from 2004 through 2006.  He played on the Bears’ 1985 Championship team.

On January 8, 2015, Ryan Pace became the Bears’ general manager.

On January 9, 2018, Matt Nagy was introduced as the Bears’ head coach at a press conference.

On January 10, 1972, Frank Halas died at the age of 89.  He worked for the Bears from 1922 through 1972.  He was the Bears’ traveling secretary.  He is number three on the Bears’ longevity list behind Max Swiatek and George Halas.[1]

On January 11, 1895, Paddy Driscoll was born.  He played halfback, kicker, and punter for the Bears in 1920 and from 1926 through 1929.  He was first-team All-Pro for the Bears twice.  He made the NFL 1920s All-Decade Team.  He was a Bears’ assistant coach from 1941 through 1955 and from 1958 through 1962.  He was a Bears’ assistant coach for the 1941, 1943, and 1946 Bears’ Championship teams.  He was the Bears’ head coach in 1956 and 1957.  He is a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

On January 12, 1986, the Bears played the Los Angeles Rams at Soldier Field in the NFC Championship Game.  The Bears won 24–0.

On January 13, 1971, Curtis Conway was born.  He was a 1st round draft choice of the Bears in 1993.  He played wide receiver for the Bears from 1993 through 1999.

On January 14, 2007, the Bears played the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field in a playoff game.  The Bears won 27–24 in overtime.

On January 15, 2004, Lovie Smith became the Bears’ head coach. Smith took the Bears to Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007, where they faced off against Tony Dungy’s Indianapolis Colts at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens. It was the first Super Bowl contest that featured two African-American coaches. The Colts won 29–17.

On January 16, 2011, the Bears played the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field in a playoff game.  The Bears won 35–24.

On January 17, 1933, J. C. Caroline was born.  He was a 7th round draft choice of the Bears in 1956.  He played running back, defensive back, and special teams for the Bears from 1956 through 1965.  He played on the Bears’ 1963 Championship team.  He played in one Pro Bowl.

On January 18, 1936, Bo Farrington was born.  He was a 16th round draft choice of the Bears in 1960.  He played offensive end for the Bears from 1960 through 1963.  He played on the Bears’ 1963 Championship team.

On January 19, 1993, Dave Wannstedt became the Bears’ head coach.

On January 20, 1982, Mike Ditka became the Bears’ head coach.

On January 20, 2002, John Aveni died.  He was a 27th round draft choice of the Bears in 1959.  He played kicker and end for the Bears in 1959 and 1960.

On January 20, 2009, Austin Denney died.  He played tight end for the Bears from 1967 through 1969.

On January 21, 2007, the Bears played the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field in the NFC Championship Game.  The Bears won 39–14.

On January 22, 1944, Mirro Roder was born.  He was the Bears’ kicker in 1973 and 1974.  He was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia.  Dick Butkus taught him how to speak English.

On January 23, 1914, Joe Maniaci was born.  He played fullback for the Bears from 1938 through 1941.  He played on the Bears’ 1940 and 1941 Championship teams.

On January 24, 1999, Dick Jauron became the Bears’ head coach.

On January 25, 2007, Ken Kavanaugh died.  He was a 3rd round draft choice of the Bears in 1940.  He played end for the Bears in 1940 and 1941 and from 1946 through 1950.  He played on the Bears’ 1940, 1941, and 1946 Championship teams.  He was first-team All-Pro two times.  He made the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team.  He was a Bears’ assistant coach in 1951.

On January 26, 1986, the Bears played the New England Patriots for the NFL Championship in New Orleans.  The Bears won 46–10.

On January 27, 2002, Eggs Manske died.  He played end for the Bears in 1937, half the season in 1938, and 1939 through 1940.  He played on the Bears’ 1940 Championship team.

On January 28, 1922, the Chicago Staleys became the Chicago Bears at a League Meeting.

On January 29, 1977, Jack Manders died.  He played halfback, fullback, and kicker for the Bears from 1933 through 1940.  He played on the 1933 and 1940 Bears’ Championship teams.

On January 30, 1926, the Bears played the Portland All-Stars in Portland.  Red Grange scored two touchdowns.  The Bears won 60–3.

On January 31, 1934, Ted Karras was born.  He played guard for the Bears from 1960 through 1964.  He was the starting left guard on the Bears’ 1963 Championship team.

[1] Max Swiatek was hired by George Halas and served in many capacities from 1934 until 2001.

Copyright 2020, Sporting Chance Press