George S Halas – A Word on Papa Bear & 1963 NFL Championship Highlight

"Papa Bear" George Halas

“Papa Bear” George Halas (Feb. 5, 1895 – Oct. 31, 1983)

In the last few years, we get to the NFL playoffs, it’s interesting to hear short sighted fans ask why the NFC Championship trophy is named after George S. Halas and the Super Bowl trophy is named after Vince Lombardi. Several times our CEO has heard on multiple occasions that one of the trophies should be named after Tom Landry. Those Cowboy fans couldn’t be more delusional.

First off, Tom Landry never had a back to back champion that would qualify any of his Cowboy teams as a best ever unit. What would be the basis for this?? Because he won 2 championships as coach of the Dallas Cowboys and coached for 29 years?? That is nowhere near close enough to unseat George Halas who coached for 40 years, and his six championships are the most ever. Not only is he the Phil Jackson of the National Football League when it comes to coaching championships, he’s also the  founding father of the NFL and the Chicago Bears. No George Halas, no NFL, its that simple.

Don Shula has overtaken him as the coach with the most wins 347-324, but you have to realize he was there pushing the pro game from it’s infancy to the modern age. Yet if you want to base it on just coaching feats try these on…

Ring for the 1933 Chicago Bears championship rings

Ring for the 1933 Chicago Bears championship.

Earlier we mentioned Landry not having coached back to back champions, well Halas did it twice. First in the 1932 & 1933 seasons, then in 1940 & 1941. The latter dynasty featured the 73-0 defeat of the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game that introduced a new backfield alignment, the T-Formation. For a seven year period, his Chicago Bears won 4 championships which nearly equals what the Steelers (4 in 6 yrs) did in the 1970’s. His greatest team were none of these.

In 1934 with his chance to three-peat, he had an undefeated team in the NFL Championship Game when the Giants “outsmarted” them switching to basketball shoes on in icy field. That 30-13 loss brought an end to his first dynasty. So it wasn’t Don Shula with the first team to finish the regular season undefeated and Bill Belichick suffered the same fate in 2007, but he was going for 3 in a row at the time.

As for his last championship in 1963:

George Halas Bust

The George Halas Trophy that is awarded to the NFC Champion.

The George Halas Trophy that is awarded to the NFC Champion.

George Stanley Halas led an incredible football life. Without his efforts of over 60 years the National Football League and the subsequent All America Football Conference and the American Football League wouldn’t have had the wings to take flight. Each of those rival leagues had to have the NFL to aspire to be greater than. So when you see his name on the side of the NFC Championship Trophy, understand his importance to pro football.

The list of his Champion Chicago Bears championship teams:

Dedicated to the memory of George Stanley Halas (Feb. 5, 1895- Oct. 31, 1983)

The ring for George Halas' last champion Bear team from 1963.

The ring for George Halas’ last champion Bear team from 1963.

2011 Predictions Continued …and the winner of the NFC is…??

The new version of the George S. Halas trophy given out last year. Emblematic of the Champion of the NFC

With every NFL season comes the prognostication of who will win each division and then who will win the Super Bowl. Well we’re not going to reveal that just yet but we are certain of several things. One, is our crystal ball is a little hazy but it usually works. It uses D Cell batteries and Duracell usua…..oops ,excuse me.  This happens whenever I write the article myself while having tequila…yet I digress

Our choices to make this year’s NFC Championship race are as follows:

1. Green Bay Packers – NFC North Champs w/ homefield advantage throughout playoffs.

2. Atlanta Falcons – NFC South Champs w/ second seed in the playoffs. If the Packers stumble in the divisional round, Falcons would host the NFC Championship Game.

3. Philadelphia Eagles -NFC East Champs. Will participate in the wildcard round and can only host the NFC Championship Game if #3 seed and lower meet. Will host the 6th seed wildcard weekend.

4. St. Louis Rams – NFC West Champs. Will participate in the wildcard round and can only host the NFC Championship Game if #4 seed and lower meet. Will host the 5th seed wildcard weekend.

5. Detroit Lions – The top record of non divisional winners and will face the 4th seeded team on the road during Wildcard weekend. Could only host the NFC Championship Game if #5 and #6 teams were to meet. (Has never happened)

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The second best record of a non division winner and will face the 3rd seed during Wildcard weekend on the road. Cannot host any playoff game no matter what.

Now that the lesser teams are vanquished, how would the playoffs line up.  Try the St. Louis Rams hosting the Detroit Lions during wildcard weekend. This would be a game to determine who would have the upper hand between two teams that would figure prominently in the Super Bowl chase in the upcoming years. In a game like that we would have to take the team with the most playmakers and that would be the Lions moving on.  In the other wildcard matchup, Tampa would face Philadelphia in a matchup to mimic those from the 2000 -2003 where a physical battle would be determined by mistake proof football.  The big question would be “Can Philadelphia stand up to the battle-hardened Buccaneers??” We say no…just like in 2010 and most of Michael Vick’s career he would be recovering from a late season injury and wouldn’t be 100%. This game would be a 50/50 toss up and would tilt in the upstarts favor if the game stayed tight.  In a game like this, the Eagles would have to get on top of the Bucs, 14- 0 or 20-3, and get them out of their gameplan early. Being a finesse team would play against the Eagles and they’d go down in wildcard weekend in the second upset of the playoffs.

On to the divisional round where the big boys would then kick things into high gear.  First the Buccaneers would take on the Atlanta Falcons for the third time in the season and would play them to a stalemate. However being that the Bucs were in their first foray late in the playoffs you’d have to figure the Falcons would force an additional turnover that would send Tampa to defeat. The Falcons would then make the pilgrimage to the NFC Championship game for the second time in their history.

There they would take on the Green Bay Packers who would best a Lion team who was in the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. The Lions would be arriving on the scene a year too early for their best effort and would lose to the Packers setting up the NFC Championship Game. Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers.

In a rematch of the previous year’s divisional playoff game won by the Packers 48-21, this would be a little closer based upon the cold weather. Yes, we’re saying that being in Lambeau Field would benefit the Falcon defense. The year before, the Falcons were carved up in a controlled environment at home.  In the arctic climes of Lambeau, the playing style would bring the teams closer together in terms of score. Yet the Packers would prevail 26-17 to make it to their second straight Super Bowl with the George S. Halas Trophy presented by former Packer legend Jerry Kramer. Hopefully Kramer would be there to deliver the trophy on the backdrop that he would be a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Packer faithful would then descend on Indianapolis in search of their 14th championship.  Would they get it?? Sorry, you’ll have to stay tuned for that.  As for this look into the crystal ball… Green Bay would represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVI… So who would they play??

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Next Up: AFC West Predictions