Logos and uniforms of the Chicago Bears

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Earl Bennett in the current home uniform.
D. J. Moore in the current away uniform.
Jay Cutler in the orange alternate uniform.

The Chicago Bears of the National Football League sport a wishbone 'C' logo, which the team has used since the 1960s.

Since the team's inception in 1920, the Bears' uniforms have received very little changes, with minor changes and various patches added. The classic look of the club's uniforms has given it the title of one of the best uniform sets in the league.[1][2]

Logos[edit]

The club has had few official logos throughout their history. When the team was known as the Decatur Staleys in 1920, they used A. E. Staley's logo as football was intended to help promote the company.[3]

The first was introduced in the early 1940s with a bear running with a football. The next logo featured a navy blue bear on top of a football. The team kept this until 1962, when the Bears trademark 'C' logo was first introduced by the team.[4]

The change in their logo from the black bear was due to the addition of logos on helmets, which pro football teams started adding in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Unlike some NFL franchises that have had many different looks over time, the Bears have kept the wishbone 'C' for over 40 years. The Bears 'C' logo first appeared on the helmets in 1962. (The "C" is in the same font as the 'C' long worn on the Cincinnati Reds' baseball caps, as well as very closely resembling and likely copying the University of Chicago Maroons 'C' logo introduced in 1898). The logo changed from white to a white-bordered orange logo eleven years later, and has remained unchanged ever since.

In 1974, the team decided to keep the same white 'C' logo but to change the color of it from white to orange with a white trim. This is the current logo to this date; however, the club has experimented with some alternative logos throughout the past decade, including a navy blue bear inside of the orange wishbone 'C', introduced in 1995, and an orange bear head, introduced in 1999.

Uniforms[edit]

Helmets[edit]

For most of the 1940s through the late 1960s the Bears, unlike most all NFL teams, wore helmets and face masks made by Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods. This headgear was of a slightly different shape than that of the Riddell company, the principal supplier to NFL teams. (Gale Sayers's mid-1960s flared-ear Wilson helmet and white face mask with angled vertical bars are familiar to football fans). In 1982, the club's standard gray facemasks became dark blue.

In 1994, in honor of the NFL's 75th Anniversary, the Bears helmets were all blue, and without the logo. The Bears would don a similar helmet to the 1994 helmet in 2010, honoring the Monsters of the Midway, with the helmets still being blue, but with a grey facemask

Jerseys[edit]

In 1920, the Staleys introduced the official team uniforms containing brown and blue stripes. This design of vertical stripes was a popular trend for football jerseys of the 1920s. The stripes were made up of strips of canvas that helped players grip the football, which was necessary because the standard football then in use was slightly fatter, rounder, and more difficult to handle than a modern football. The players' jersey number was displayed only on the back.[5] In the 1930s, the franchise's team uniform underwent some substantial alterations. After various changes, by 1933, the Bears donned all-orange jerseys with navy numbers and matching navy blue helmets. When the team moved to Chicago in 1921, George Halas adopted the navy blue and orange colors in honor of those of his alma mater, the University of Illinois.

The Bears experimented with all-orange uniforms during the 1930s, which was booed by the New York crowd during a game against the New York Giants for being "loud".[6] In 1935, the Bears introduced an orange jersey with black arm stripes.[7] In 1936, they modified the design into "an early version of psychedelia" by adding three orange stripes to their helmets, changing the color of the jerseys from orange to white, complementing the new white jerseys with fourteen navy and orange alternating stripes on the sleeves, and introducing socks with a similar striped pattern extending from ankle to knee. Due to poor response from the fans and the media, this design lasted only one season.[8]

By 1949, the team was wearing the familiar navy blue shirts with white, rounded numbers. In 1956, the team added "TV numbers" to the sleeves. By 1957 the NFL, in part for easier television viewing, ordered home teams to wear dark, primary-colored jerseys and road teams white; the Bears' white jersey featured blue numerals with orange trim, and the three parallel sleeve stripes, the top and bottom blue and the middle orange. By 1960 the team's home jerseys had added orange trim to the round white numerals (which became slightly smaller); the blue socks gained white borders to the orange stripes. In 1961 the orange sleeve stripes were given white borders. At the turn of the decade, the Bears added names to the back to the players jersey. The initials GSH were added to the left sleeve of the jerseys after Halas' death on October 31, 1983.

For decades, the team was known as the only NFL team to wear jersey numbers that were not the traditional block-style numbers. Although a handful of other NFL teams such as the early-1960s Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Houston Oilers during their early AFL days experimented with rounder jersey numbers, by the mid-1960s the Bears were the only team left to continue wearing rounded jersey numbers, though on a few occasions in 1971 and 1972 the team appeared in jerseys with plain block numerals. Since the mid-1990s, however, several teams have shifted away from the block numbers in favor of numbers that match a specific team font (e.g. Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, etc.) or in the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers, match the jersey number font with the helmet numbers while otherwise leaving the jersey design alone.

In 2002, the Bears' blue became slightly darker in order "to achieve standardization among teams".

In 2012, the Bears received minor changes to the uniform after Nike took over as the official uniform supplier, with the numbers on the sleeve moved to the shoulder pads, and the GSH was enlarged.[9]

Pants[edit]

The Bears' pants have substantially remained the same throughout, with blue pants having orange and white stripes, as well as white pants with blue and orange stripes. The team normally wears their blue pants with their away jerseys, and white pants at home. The addition of navy blue pants as a part of the road kit came in 1984. For a few games in the 1930s the Bears wore a combination of orange jerseys and orange pants.[6]

The socks on the home uniforms are blue with orange stripes, resembling that of the stripes on the jersey, with the road uniform having alternating blue and orange stripes on white socks. The stripes were introduced in 1940.[7]

The Bears' 2000 campaign was the first year in which the Bears returned to black shoes; they were previously worn from 1990–1992 and before 1974.[10] They returned to white shoes in 2014.

For unknown reasons, the video game Madden NFL 13 has the team wearing their away jerseys with orange pants, though the team has never worn the combination.[11]

Patches/stickers[edit]

The Bears have worn various patches and stickers on their jerseys and helmets in certain tributes, such as to a recently-deceased player.

In December 1990, the Bears wore a black No. 91 patch as a tribute to rookie defensive tackle Fred Washington, who died in a car accident.[12] From November 1999 through the end of the season, the jerseys featured a No. 34 patch to honor running back Walter Payton, who died a week before the team's November 7 game against the Packers.[13]

During the 2010 season, the team wore a No. 99 sticker on the back of their helmets to mourn the death of defensive lineman Gaines Adams.[14]

When linebacker Mike Singletary announced his retirement in 1992, the Bears honored him for his final home game at Soldier Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers by wearing black No. 50 patches. A poster of the patch was signed by players and coaches before being gifted to Singletary.[15]

In 2001, the Bears wore a "Salute to Soldier Field" patch in honor of their Soldier Field, which began its reconstruction that year.

Combinations and alternate uniforms[edit]

During the 1994 season, the Bears – with most of the other NFL franchises – introduced throwback uniforms to be worn in the honor of the NFL's 75th Anniversary. These jerseys, with brown and blue stripes, resemble the original uniforms worn by the team in the 1920s, which came along with brown pants, as well as blank blue helmets.

On October 7, 2002 the Bears wore navy blue pants with their navy blue home jerseys for the first time, and lost at home to Green Bay before a national Monday Night Football audience. The Bears then wore the all-blue combination again until the 2006 regular season finale against the Packers, also a loss, on December 31. As part of the NFL Color Rush initiative, the Bears donned their all-blue uniforms for two Thursday Night Football games against the Packers: a 26–10 loss on October 20, 2016,[16] and a 35–14 defeat on September 28, 2017.[17] The Bears also wore the combination for the 2017 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.[18] In 2003 and 2008, along with the final two away games in the 2006 season, the Bears wore all-white uniforms for every road trip.[10]

For the 2004 Thanksgiving Day game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Bears wore orange throwback jerseys.[19] On November 13, 2005 and October 29, 2006 (both times in games against the San Francisco 49ers), the Bears introduced a different version of the orange jersey as an alternate. The orange swaps roles with the navy blue on this alternate jersey, as it becomes the dominant color while the navy complements. The Bears also donned the orange jerseys on October 28, 2007 against the Detroit Lions, a game that they lost 16–7. The Bears again wore the orange jerseys for the fourth consecutive year on October 19, 2008 when they hosted the Minnesota Vikings. The jerseys were replaced by throwback uniforms in 2012; their last game had been a November 2011 victory over the Lions. In 2018, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks tweeted his interest and supported an online petition calling to bring back the orange jerseys, while team chairman George McCaskey also voiced his approval of the design. The Bears followed by announcing the switch back in March.[20]

In 2010, the Bears introduced throwbacks representing the original Monsters of the Midway of the 1940s.[21] They wore the uniforms against the Green Bay Packers on September 27, 2010 and against the Vikings on November 14 later that season. Both of those games were wins for the Bears. The throwbacks made a return for the 2012 season as the NFL switched to Nike uniforms,[22] and were worn until the team switched back to orange in 2018.

For the 2005–07 and 2010 home openers, the team wore the white jerseys with the navy blue pants, and is 4–0 in these games, beating the Lions in 2005, 2006, and 2010, and beating the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jay Mohr: Breaking down the best and worst NFL uniforms". Sports Illustrated. 2005-11-09. Retrieved 9 November 2005. 
  2. ^ Mayer, Larry (2012-08-29). "Bears ranked as top NFL uniform". Chicago bears. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  3. ^ "Decatur Staleys Primary Logo". Sports Logo History. Retrieved March 30, 2018. 
  4. ^ "History of the Chicago Bears Logo". Chicago Bears. Archived from the original on May 20, 2005. Retrieved August 1, 2005. 
  5. ^ "History of the Chicago Bears Uniform". Chicago Bears. Archived from the original on August 11, 2010. Retrieved July 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Evolution of the Bears Colors". National Football League. September 13, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "New uniforms still sport same tradition". Chicago Bears. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ "History of the Chicago Bears Uniform". Chicago Bears. Retrieved August 1, 2005. 
  9. ^ "Nike unveils brand new NFL uniforms". Chicagobears.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  10. ^ a b Taylor, Ron. "Chicago Bears Uniform History". Bears History. Retrieved March 30, 2018. 
  11. ^ Mayer, Larry (December 21, 2012). "What color jerseys will Bears wear Sunday?". Chicago Bears. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Bears defensive tackle Washington dies in car crash". The Des Moines Register. Newspapers.com. December 22, 1990. Retrieved March 30, 2018.  (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Bears to Wear Patch With Payton's Number". Los Angeles Times. November 5, 1999. Retrieved March 30, 2018. 
  14. ^ "NFL special patches for 2010". Ben Maller. September 8, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ Thomas, Jim (December 18, 1992). "Singletary Stands As A Symbol For Bears". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Newspapers.com. Retrieved March 30, 2018.  (subscription required)
  16. ^ "BEARS UNVEIL ALL BLUE 'COLOR RUSH' UNIFORMS". CSN Chicago. September 23, 2016. Retrieved September 23, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Check out the Bears' and Packers' Color Rush uniforms for Thursday Night Football". ESPN. September 28, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2018. 
  18. ^ "Highlights: Falcons vs. Bears". Chicago Bears. September 10, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2018. 
  19. ^ "New threads". Chicago Tribune. Newspapers.com. November 24, 2004. Retrieved March 31, 2018.  (subscription required)
  20. ^ Bell, Demetrius (March 28, 2018). "Chicago Bears, Urged On By Akiem Hicks, Will Return To Orange Jerseys". Forbes. Retrieved March 31, 2018. 
  21. ^ "Bears to wear 1940s throwback uniforms". Chicagobears.com. April 20, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Will Bears wear orange jerseys this season?". Chicagobears.com. 2012-04-20. Archived from the original on 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 

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