Chicago Bears Traditions

History by Decades



Highlights from the 1970s

The Bears played their final season in Wrigley Field in 1970 before moving to Soldier Field. In the same year, Halas was elected president of the NFC as the NFL and AFL merged. In 1974, Jim Finks joined the Bears as General Manager. Finks named Jack Pardee, the first non-Bear in such a position, as head coach replacing Abe Gibron. In 1975, the Bears moved their training camp to Lake Forest after spending 31 years in Rensselaer, Indiana; and Walter Payton was the club's first-round draft choice. After a 14-year hiatus the Bears returned to the playoffs in 1977, winning their final six games to finish 9-5. The Bears again made the playoffs in 1979 under head coach Neill Armstrong. Chicago lost in the opening round in both 1977 and 1979. The organization suffered a major loss at end of the decade when team president George 'Mugs' Halas, Jr. died at 54. Mugs joined the Bears front office in 1950, was named treasurer in 1953, and became president of the club in 1963.

3/19/70

George Halas elected president of the National Football Conference as NFL-AFL merge.

6/16/70

Bears running back Brian Piccolo dies of cancer. Club establishes Piccolo Fund, raising almost $2 million for cancer research.

12/13/70

The Bears close out an era with a bang when they play their final game in Wrigley Field. The Monsters of the Midway trounced the Green Bay Packers 35-17. The Bears leave Wrigley Field with a all-time record of 221-89-22. The 332 games is the most ever played by one team in a home stadium in NFL history.

9/19/71

The Bears open at Soldier Field by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-15.

9/12/74

Jim Finks joins Bears as Vice President and General Manager after serving as Vikings' GM and NFL Management Council Advisor.

12/17/74

After three seasons and a record of 11-30-1, Abe Gibron departs as head coach.

12/31/74

Former NFL star linebacker Jack Pardee is named Bear head coach-the first non-Bear to hold the job.

7/12/75

Bears open training camp at Lake Forest College after 31 seasons in Rensselaer, Indiana.

11/20/77

En route to leading the NFL in rushing with a Bear record 1,852 yards on the season, Walter Payton dashes through the Vikings for a NFL record 275 yards. Bears win 10-7 at Soldier Field.

12/18/77

A 28-yard FG by Bob Thomas with :09 left in overtime gives Bears a 12-9 win over the Giants, a 9-5 record, a six-game win streak, and their first playoff spot in 14 years.

12/26/77

Bears finish season with 37-7 playoff loss at Dallas, but set 28 team records and play before a home record 401,513 fans in seven Soldier Field dates.

1/19/78

With a three-year record of 20-22, Jack Pardee resigns to seek Redskin coaching job.

2/16/78

Neill Armstrong, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, becomes head coach.

9/3/79

Bears occupy $1.6 million new headquarters named Halas Hall on Lake Forest College campus.

12/16/79

Massive heart attack claims George 'Mugs' Halas at 54. Bears route St. Louis 42-6 and Dallas tips Washington 35-34. The combination sends 10-6 Bears to the playoffs.

12/23/79

After leading 17-10, Bears drop the Wild Card game at Philadelphia, 27-17.