The NFL is celebrating its 100th season. One of the few teams to truly share in that party are the Chicago Bears, who are also turning 100. The NFL has a lot of cool activities planned for this season, but what do the Bears have in store? For at least a few games this season, they’ll adopt a retro look that harkens back to the team’s look from 1936.
The uniform design
The Bears’ 1936 classic uniform is a wildly different design from the team’s current uniforms as well as any other current NFL uniforms. Chicago’s current design features navy, white, or orange jerseys with the Bears logo featured prominently on the navy blue helmets.
The 1936 uniform features stripes — a lot of stripes. There are alternating navy blue and orange stripes on the helmet, shoulder pad area, and socks. If you squint, it almost looks as if they could be the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bears’ 1936 season saw the team finish at 9-3 under coach George Halas in the NFL’s Western Division. To give you an idea of how much the game has changed since then, the Bears’ leading passer was Bernie Masterson that year. Masterson completed 10 passes on 42 attempts with 292 yards — over the entire season. In this day and age, that’s a bad game for Mitchell Trubisky.
When they’ll wear it
According to NFL.com, Bears fans can expect a few cameos from the 1936-inspired jerseys:
“This jersey will replace the 1940s jersey the Bears wore twice this past season. The Bears will wear the new uniform twice this season: Sunday, Sept. 29 against the Minnesota Vikings and on Thursday, Dec. 5 against the Cowboys. Both are home games in Chicago.”
That means that if you blink you may miss these uniforms; they’ll only be on display for a quarter of the team’s eight home games.
Why 1936 uniforms are such a great idea
In today’s NFL, uniforms can appear somewhat interchangeable apart from the colors. There are no uniforms that look like the Bears uniforms in today’s NFL. They give the team a distinctive look. The Steelers also use stripes in their throwback jerseys, though those feature horizontal stripes rather than vertical ones. No other team currently employs stripes this way.
It’s also a great way for the team to embrace its history. This will give the hometown faithful an opportunity to see the Bears as they once were. The uniforms — and the surrounding discussion about their place in Chicago Bears lore — may generate discussions around the team’s origins and roots. It is a unique way to introduce a younger generation of fans to a team that operated in the NFL more than 80 years ago.
Here are our recommendations for how the Bears could roll this out in an even better way:
- Adopt the uniform for the whole season.
- Have a different throwback uniform for each home game. That way you can honor a different era of Bears football each time you take the gridiron at Soldier Field.
- Use this season to roll out an entirely new Bears look or uniform. It would be a drastic change, but it’s the Bears’ 100th season. That seems like as good a time as any to try something new that honors the past.
Ultimately, the fans will have to settle for two games of the throwback uniforms. While they could pull other uniform-related stunts, this one will at least give the fans a glimpse into the team’s illustrious past.