Tuesday, July 30, 2019

George Halas Picks Bears All-Time Team & Greatest Players

By Chris Willis
As the NFL's 100th season approaches PFJ will take a look at several players-coaches testimonies of who they thought were the greatest of all-time. These random posts will show how some of the NFL's greatest players, coaches, executives, and game officials thought about who played the game in the league's early years.

First up is Mr. Papa Bear himself-—George Halas.

In 1939 Halas selected his 6 greatest players he had ever seen. It was a Mount Rushmore of the early stars of the NFL. Bronko Nagurski, Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Ernie Nevers, Dutch Clark, and Paddy Driscoll.
1939 George Halas 6 Greatest Players Ever Seen
Two years later (1941) Halas choose an All-Time Bears squad that was published in the Chicago Tribune. This team did not include any of the current Bears stars on the 1941 team—so sorry no Sid Luckman, Dan Fortmann or Bulldog Turner. Halas's starting eleven included 7 future Hall of Famers, very impressive for a Bears franchise that was just 21 years old.

The Ends were Bill Hewitt and Bill Karr; tackles were Ed Healey and Link Lyman; guards were Hunk Anderson and Jim McMillen; the center was George Trafton. In the backfield was quarterback Paddy Driscoll, left halfback Red Grange and fullback Bronko Nagurski. Can't argue with those choices.

The only real surprise was Joe Lintzenich at right halfback. Lintzenich only played 2 years with the Bears (1930-31) and scored just 2 career TDs. Halas could've picked Beattie Feathers, Jack Manders or Bill Senn, but went with Lintzenich.

1941 George Halas All-Time Bears Team, published in Chicago Tribune
 In the Tribune article, Halas does have a list of Honorable Mention players.


  1. Later, I think it was 1950, Halas then said that Ed Sprinkle was the greatest end, above Hewitt.