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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Flash Points: Bears' defining moment

By Kevin Seifert

What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Bears -- for better or worse? Give us your take and we'll give you our definitive moment on May 17.

The Chicago Bears have been in the pro football mix since it started in 1920, a fact now clearer given the team's new mailing address at 1920 Football Dr. George Halas founded the franchise as the Decatur Staleys, and two years later they became known as the Chicago Bears to match the Chicago Cubs' zoo animal theme.

There have been countless flash points over the ensuing 91 years, and we've done our best to narrow them to four. Halas' decision to sign halfback Harold "Red" Grange to a $100,000 contract in 1925 signaled the inception of modern-day football on the field and its economic impact off it. In his first game with the Bears, 36,000 fans showed up on Thanksgiving Day.

Halas debuted the "T-formation" offense in the 1940 NFL Championship Game, leading to a 73-0 victory over the Washington Redskins and setting in motion a change in offensive philosophy to put two running backs behind the quarterback.

Halas retired in 1967, ushering in a dark period for the Bears that didn't end until its Super Bowl season 18 years later.

Finally, in 1978, veteran coach Buddy Ryan arrived and began putting in place the famed "46 defense" that ultimately carried the Bears to one of the most dominating seasons in NFL history in 1985.

Use the module in this post to cast your vote. If you vote Other, give us your suggestion in the comments area below.