On Sunday afternoon, the football world will be celebrating Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, but there is still plenty for fans of the Chicago Bears to celebrate.
Feb. 2 marks the 119th birthday of team founder George Halas, who passed away on Halloween in 1983. Halas has a deep connection to the New York-New Jersey area, as he played outfield for the New York Yankees for a two-month span in 1919.
Outside of his baseball accomplishments though, Halas is obviously known more for his impact on the game of football. He took a sport that was thoroughly barbaric in its infancy and turned it into an organized league that has turned into the dominant sports league in the world. His team, the Bears, was one of the charter members of the league, and has long been viewed as one of the most tradition-rich franchises in NFL history.
With that knowledge of Halas' nurturing of the NFL in mind, it seems appropriate that the Super Bowl be contested not just on his birthday, but in a cold weather environment for the first time in the game's history. Halas' grind-it-out style on the football field would play well in an environment like New Jersey, and the entire game will be a type of homage to his legacy in the game.
As for Bears fans, watching this game will give them a tremendous glimpse into the value of constructing the type of team that the Seahawks and Broncos have made. Whether via trade (Marshawn Lynch), savvy free agent signing (Peyton Manning, Wes Welker), or aggressive drafting (Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman), Phil Emery and the Bears could learn a lot from both squads, and could bring the team back to the type of glory that they experienced while they were under Halas' direction.