|Pillars of the NFL: Sporting Chance Press|
George Halas drove hundreds of men to make them the best players and men they could be. At times he could be ruthless in his pursuit of excellence, but he was always relentless in his abiding love of his team. Books are full of stories on how tough he could be. As a player, Halas broke his jaw and his leg, he twisted ankles and knees, and bruised and broke ribs. He led his teams as a players’ coach and although he was tough and disciplined, he always treated his players as men.
In the early annals of the Chicago Bears, Halas had attracted the toughest of players. Even the name Bears conjures up an impression of physical abandonment that is in large part his making along with people like George Trafton, Bronko Nagurski, Doug Atkins, Ed Sprinkle, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Mike Singletary, Brian Urlacher, and many others.
Halas is a larger-than-life figure for many sports fans. Although his life was hard, it was fantastic on so many levels. His life’s story is a living history of 20th Century America. Stamped upon his character were lessons from the Great Depression, World War I, and World War II. In so many ways, his life was successful because he had faith, worked hard, and never gave up. He saw problems as opportunities. He moved on from setbacks at lightning speed.
It is customary for sportswriters to devote a chapter in their autobiographies that lists their own personal list of top athletes, coaches, teams, etc. In Warren Brown’s book named after his long running Chicago American column, Win, Lose, or Draw, he wrote:
In the professional field George Halas and the Chicago Bears year in and year out, will do for me. I am not too hard to please as long as I have the best, doing anything.
George Halas coached for 40 seasons and holds an overall NFL head coaching record of 324–151–31. The Bears won six NFL Championships with Halas as coach and a total of eight as NFL owner. Halas was present at the beginning of the NFL and worked tirelessly for over 60 years to see professional football succeed. Halas was named AP Coach of the Year, the Sporting News Coach of the Year, and the UPI NFL Coach of the Year for both 1963 and 1965. He was enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame's charter class of 1963. He is one of the greatest coaches in NFL history.
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. 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 George Halas.
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Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships by Patrick McCaskey. Order your copies here for immediate shipment.