Photo of Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears dropping back to complete a pass versus the Green Bay Packers.

Image Credit: Mike Morbeck (CC BY-SA 2.0)

America loves their Dallas Cowboys. But aside from the Green Bay Packers, virtually no other NFL franchise can rival the Chicago Bears in terms of overall history. Once called the Decatur Staleys in 1920, the Chicago Bears have retired 14 jersey numbers; the most in the NFL and the third most in professional sports. While this is the ultimate tribute to the club's former players, a more significant tribute has been worn on the sleeves of the Chicago Bears' uniforms for 30 seasons now. 

"GSH" was added to the sleeves of the Bears' uniforms before the start of 1984 NFL season to honor it's founding father - George Stanley Halas. Often referred to as the "Papa Bear", Halas was the Chicago Bears owner from 1920 to Halloween of 1983 when he passed away from cancer. The son of Greek-Slavic immigrants, Halas invented the Bears in 1920 when he took a job with A.E. Staley, a starch manufacturer in Decatur, Illinois. Only they weren't called the Bears at the time, they were the Decatur Staleys. 

Not only was Halas the owner and coach but he also was a wide receiver for the Staleys. (Oddly enough, George also played baseball for the New York Yankees for one season earlier in his career.) Two years later, Halas helped transition the APFA (American Professional Football Association) into the NFL (National Football League) in Canton, Ohio. The league was seen as a haven for the less than stellar football players throughout the country. That all changed over time as Halas recruited players like Bobby Layne, George Blanda, Red Grange and Sid Luckman to come play for the Bears. 

The Chicago Bears uniform has changed many times since they were the Decatur Staleys in the 1920's but have seen few adjustments since 1984. In 1984, the "GSH" was added to the left sleeve of every player's jersey. The Bears also began wearing white jerseys with navy pants for away games that year. If you would like to see a complete history of the Chicago Bears' uniforms over the years, you can do so on their website at 

Photo of Chicago Bears owner George S. Halas.

George S. Halas (Pictured Right)

Image Credit: Jim Summaria (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Unfortunately, "Papa Bear" never lived to see the Bears win their lone Super Bowl in 1985, just two seasons after his passing. He did, however, help assemble that very team who many call the greatest defensive team assembled in NFL history. Halas was the integral part of the Bears eight NFL championships which were titles before the Super Bowl era began in 1967. Six of those NFL championships were won while Halas was the head coach of the Bears, the most in NFL coaching history (tied with Curly Lambeau of the Green Bay Packers). 

Today, a part of George lives on with the Chicago Bears. His oldest daughter Virginia McCaskey is the majority owner of the team. While the team hasn't been as dominant these last few seasons, teams like the Bears never stay on the NFL's "irrelevant list" for too long. The NFL's talent will continue to fluctuate from year to year and the passionate Chicago fan base will continue to rally behind their beloved Bears.  


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