The 1969 Chicago Bears season was their 50th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 1–13 record, the worst in franchise history. This occurred despite the exploits of Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers. Sayers had torn the ligaments in his right knee during the 1968 season. After surgery, Sayers went through a physical rehabilitation program with the help of teammate Brian Piccolo. In 1969 Sayers led the league in rushing once again with 1,032 yards, but he lacked the speed he once had and averaged only 4.4 yards per carry. An already poor season was made even worse when running back Piccolo was diagnosed with cancer in November. He would succumb to the disease in June of the following year.
On August 30, a crowd of 85,532 fans viewed a doubleheader at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. In the first contest, the Chicago Bears played the AFL's Buffalo Bills, while the Cleveland Browns hosted the Green Bay Packers in the second match.