Chicago Bears Traditions

History by Decades



Highlights from the 2000s

6/12/01

Jerry Angelo named first Bears general manager since the 1986 season

2001

Bears win NFC Central title in the final year of the division's existence. The Bears, Packers, Lions and Vikings will move into the NFC North with the addition of the League's 32nd team, the Houston Texans. The Bears finished the 2001 season with a 13-3 mark and reached the playoffs for the first time since 1994, losing to Philadelphia 31-19 in the final game at Soldier Field

11/4/01

Mike Brown scores his second game-winning touchdown in as many games as Chicago wins back-to-back overtime games in miraculous fashion.

1/19/02

The Bears finish the 2001 season with a 13-3 mark and reach the playoffs for the first time since 1994, falling to Philadelphia 31-19 in the final game at 'old' Soldier Field.

8/3/02

Bears DE Dan Hampton becomes the 26th Chicago Bear enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

2002

The Bears opened a new training camp home for the first time in 18 years, moving from Platteville, Wis., to the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., just 60 miles south of Chicago. The Bears also played each of their 10 home games at Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign while the new stadium at Soldier Field was being constructed.

9/29/03

The Bears make their debut in the new Soldier Field against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football, dropping a 38-23 decision to the Packers

10/26/03

The Bears defeat the Detroit Lions 24-16 at Soldier Field to become the first team in the NFL to win 650 games.

12/29/03

Dick Jauron's coaching tenure ends after five seasons and a 35-46 record.

1/15/04

Lovie Smith is hired as the 13th head coach in club history.

11/13/05

Nathan Vasher returns a 49ers missed field goal 108 yards for a touchdown, setting the record for longest TD in NFL history

12/25/05

The Bears beat the Packers 24-17 at Green Bay in the first-ever Christmas Day game for both teams. With the win, the Bears clinched their first NFC North title.

2006

Bears claim second straight NFC North title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 13-3 record.

11/12/06

Almost a year to the day Nathan Vasher set the NFL record for longest TD in NFL history, Devin Hester diplicates the feat in New York against the Giants. Hester went on to set the League single-season record with six return touchdowns and most combined kick return TDs in a season with five.

1/14/07

Bears earn first home playoff win since 1991 with a 27-24 OT win over defending NFC Champion Seattle.

1/21/07

Bears win NFC Championship and a trip to Super Bowl XLI with a 39-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.

2/4/07

Bears return specialist Devin Hester becomes the first player in Super Bowl history to return the game's opening kickoff for a touchdown while Chicago tied a record with 14 first-quarter points. The Bears and Indianapolis Colts combined for a Super Bowl record four 1st-quarter turnovers (2 each) in the first Super Bowl played in adverse playing conditions (rain) at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. The Colts would go on to beat the Bears 29-17.

12/30/07

Devin Hester breaks his own single-season NFL record with his sixth kick return for a TD, setting the mark with a 64-yard punt return for a score in the final game of the season at home versus New Orleans.

12/7/08

The Bears defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-10 at Soldier Field to become the first NFL franchise to record 700 victories.