46 Facts About George Halas


George Halas was the founder and owner of the National Football League's Chicago Bears, and served as his own head coach on four occasions.

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George Halas was lesser-known as a Major League Baseball player for the New York Yankees.

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George Halas was one of the co-founders of the American Professional Football Association in 1920, and in 1963 became one of the first 17 inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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George Halas was the oldest person in NFL history to serve as a head coach, as he was 72 years and 318 days old when he coached the final game of his career in December 1967, until Romeo Crennel 54 years later, who was 73 years and 115 days old when he became the interim head coach of the Houston Texans.

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George Halas was born in Chicago, Illinois, into a family of Czech-Bohemian immigrants.

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In 1915, George Halas worked temporarily for Western Electric, and was planning on being on the SS Eastland.

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George Halas was running late as he was attempting to gain weight to play Big Ten football and missed the capsizing, which killed 844 passengers.

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George Halas helped Illinois win the 1918 Big Ten Conference football title.

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In recognition of his Rose Bowl accomplishments, George Halas was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2018.

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George Halas said that he was succeeded as the Yankees' right fielder by Babe Ruth, but in reality, it was Sammy Vick.

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Later that year, George Halas played for the Hammond Pros and received about $75 per game.

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George Halas served as a company sales representative, an outfielder on the company-sponsored baseball team, and the player-coach of the company-sponsored football team the Decatur Staleys.

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George Halas selected his alma mater's colors—orange and navy blue—for the team's uniforms.

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In 1920, George Halas represented the Staleys at the meeting which formed the American Professional Football Association in Canton, Ohio.

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The Staleys' financial troubles didn't dissuade George Halas from significantly upgrading the roster, to the point that it was a works team in name only.

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George Halas then took on teammate Edward "Dutch" Sternaman as a partner.

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The newly minted "Chicago Staleys" set up shop at Cubs Park, soon to be known as Wrigley Field; George Halas had a good relationship with Chicago Cubs owner William Wrigley Jr.

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George Halas was not only the team's coach but played end and handled ticket sales and the business of running the club.

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In 1925, George Halas persuaded Illinois star player Red Grange to join the Bears; it was a significant step in establishing both the respectability and popularity of the league, which had previously been viewed as a refuge for less admirable players.

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George Halas returned as coach in 1933 to eliminate the additional cost of paying a head coach's salary.

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George Halas believed he'd found the perfect quarterback for his new offense in Sid Luckman, a passing star at Columbia University.

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George Halas was not satisfied with other players who succeeded Luckman under center.

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George Halas entered the Navy again after the advent of World War II in 1942, with the rank of lieutenant commander.

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George Halas served overseas for 20 months under the command of Admiral Chester Nimitz.

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George Halas's duties were supporting the welfare and recreational activities of the Seventh Fleet.

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George Halas was awarded the Bronze Star during his recall and released from duty in 1946 with the rank of captain.

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That same year, George Halas met with the Army Chief of Staff, General Dwight Eisenhower, the Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Carl Spaatz, and offered to set up an annual charity football game, with the Bears as hosts, whose proceeds would go to the relief agencies of the armed forces.

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George Halas did win his 200th game in 1950 and his 300th game in 1965, becoming the first coach to reach both milestones.

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Several former players and assistant coaches of George Halas have gone on to their own Head Coaching careers, and are recognized under his coaching tree:.

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Pioneer both on and off the field, George Halas made the Bears the first team to hold daily practice sessions, to analyze film of opponents to find weaknesses and means of attack, place assistant coaches in the press box during games, place tarp on the field, publish a club newspaper, and to broadcast games by radio.

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George Halas offered to share the team's substantial television income with teams in smaller cities, firmly believing that what was good for the league would ultimately benefit his own team.

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George Halas insisted on absolute integrity and honesty in management, believing that a handshake was sufficient to finalize a deal; few, if any, intermediaries were necessary.

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George Halas was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

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In 1925, George Halas tipped his hand in pro basketball when he helped to create the first professional basketball league in the United States – the American Basketball League – as the owner of the Chicago Bruins.

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George Halas revived the team for four more seasons, 1939 to 1942, and played in the National Basketball League and in the World Professional Basketball Tournament.

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In 1939, George Halas followed Tim Mara footsteps who purchase the Stapleton Buffaloes in 1937 and obtained the rights to a former NFL club Newark Tornadoes from Piggy Simandl, changed the team's name to Bears and stocked with talent that did not make the Chicago roster.

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George Halas used the club to incubate talent and for easy return for injured players, thus making it pro football's first true farm team.

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George Halas folded the team in 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ushered in the United States' participation in World War II.

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In 1946, after he returned from service in WWII, George Halas launched the Akron Bears of the American Football League as the Chicago Bears' minor league affiliate.

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In both 1963 and 1965, George Halas was selected by The Sporting News, the AP and the UPI as the NFL Coach of the Year.

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George Halas has been recognized by ESPN as one of the ten most influential people in sports in the 20th century, and as one of the greatest coaches.

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In 1956, George Halas was awarded the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, which is the Navy's highest civilian award.

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From 1966 to 1996, a George Halas Trophy was awarded to the NFL defensive player of the year by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

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George Halas continued as the team's principal owner, and continued to make the franchise's football decisions until hiring Jim Finks as general manager in 1974.

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George Halas continued to take an active role in team operations until his death.

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George Halas was honored in 1970 and 1980 as the only person involved in the league throughout its first 50 and 60 years of existence.

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