Originally named the Decatur Staleys, the club was established by the A. E. Staley food starch company of Decatur, Illinois in 1919 as a company team. This was the typical start for several early professional football franchises. The company hired George Halas and Edward “Dutch” Sternaman in 1920 to run the team and turned over full control of the team ...
On September 17 1920: Halas joins the APFA with the Staleys as one of the founding members. The league has 14 teams and no fixed schedule.
The Staleys finish with a 10-1-2 record and are recognized as the runners-up of the APFA behind the Akron Pros. They are led by Halas and Sternaman, who score most of the team’s points. They also have future Hall of Famers Guy Chamberlin and George Trafton on their roster.
History of the Staleys
The Decatur Staleys, now known as the Chicago Bears, is among the oldest and most storied teams in NFL history. Founded in 1919 by George Halas and Dutch Sternaman, the team began its journey as a member of the American Professional Football Association (APFA). After just two seasons with this league, they moved to become part of what is now recognized as the National Football League (NFL) after it was formed from several other football leagues.
Throughout their long history with NFL, The Decatur Staleys have had some impressive feats, including being crowned champions on eight occasions - 1921 APFA Championship, 1932 NFL Championship Game, 1933-34 Championships, 1941-43 Championships, and 1985 Super Bowl XX. They also hold records for most wins at home during regular season games between 1920–1959, which is an impressive 99 wins! This record has been matched but never beaten since then. It’s no wonder they were nicknamed “Da Bears” due to their dominance over these years!
Furthermore, many legendary players have graced The Decatur Staley's roster. Such names include Red Grange, who is considered one of greatest running backs ever; Bronko Nagurski, who was known for his authoritarian tackling style; Sid Luckman – widely regarded as the first modern quarterback; Gale Sayers – renowned for his speed on the field; Walter Payton - arguably best running back ever amongst others like Dick Butkus & Mike Ditka. These players helped shape this team and professional football into what it is today.
All things said, there can be no doubt that The Decatur/Chicago Bears are an essential part of America's sporting heritage has been around since the early days when the sport started becoming popularized nationally through media coverage, etc... Their legacy will live on forever hearts & minds all true fans out there!
Decatur - Chicago
1920 – Present / National Football League
1922 - Present / Chicago Bears
1921 / Chicago Staleys
1920 / Decatur Staleys
Staleys - The Decatur Staleys is one of the most iconic teams in NFL history, and their nickname has a fascinating origin story. The team was founded by George Halas and Edward “Dutch” Sternaman in 1919 as a semi-professional football club based out of Decatur, Illinois.
The team initially went by the name "Staley Athletic Club," after A.E. Staley, who sponsored them financially during their early years. However, when they joined what is now known as the National Football League (NFL) in 1920, they had to change it due to league rules that prevented corporate sponsorship from being used for namesakes at that time. So they shortened it to "Decatur Staleys."
In 1921 Halas moved his beloved franchise from Decatur to Chicago, where he renamed them the Bears – which remains their official moniker today – but many old-school fans still refer fondly refer back to those original days with an affectionate nod towards its origins: The Decatur Staleys! So next time you watch your favorite NFL game or talk sports with friends, remember this fantastic pro football history!
Super Bowl 0
NFL Championships 0
1963, 1946, 1943, 1941, 1940, 1933
NFL Standings Champion 0
2003 - Present / Soldier Field II
2002 / Memorial Stadium
1971 - 2001 / Soldier Field I
1921 - 1970 / Wrigley Field
1919 - 1920 / Staley Field
1983 - Present / Virginia Halas McCaskey
1933 - 1983 / George Halas
1921 - 1933 / George Halas and Dutch Sternaman
1919 - 1921 / A. E. Staley
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.
3 / Bronko Nagurski
5 / George McAfee
7 / George Halas
28 / Willie Galimore
34 / Walter Payton
40 / Gale Sayers
41 / Brian Piccolo
42 / Sid Luckman
51 / Dick Butkus
56 / Bill Hewitt
61 / Bill George
66 / Clyde “Bulldog” Turner
77 / Harold “Red” Grange
89 / Mike Ditka
*Blue is this team’s history