We've all heard literally thousands of statistics and factoids about the Bears and their players over the years. But I set out to discover half a dozen that may surprise you, and here's what I found:
(1) In the Bears' 73-0 thrashing of the Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game—which remains the most lopsided contest in league history—both teams recorded the same number of first downs (17).
The Bears scored 11 touchdowns, including seven on rushes and three on interception returns. Five of their eight offensive TDs came on long plays—rushes of 68, 42, 23 and 44 yards; and Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman's 30-yard pass to Ken Kavanaugh.
The Bears compiled 501 yards of offense—including 382 on the ground—and generated nine takeaways via eight interceptions and one fumble recovery.
The 73-0 victory came exactly three weeks after the Bears had lost to the Redskins 7-3 in the same venue, Griffith Stadium in Washington.
(2) While Dan Hampton was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, Steve McMichael hasn't garnered any Hall of Fame consideration despite recording 35.5 more career sacks than Hampton while with the Bears.
The two defensive linemen fed off each other, anchoring dominant defenses throughout the 1980s. The famed 1985 unit, which helped the Bears win their first Super Bowl title, is considered by many to be the best in NFL history.
Hampton was a difference-maker at both end and tackle, earning four trips to the Pro Bowl and being named first- or second-team All-Pro six times in 11 seasons. He ranks third in Bears history with 57.0 sacks.
But McMichael was no slouch. He was voted to two Pro Bowls and was named first- or second-team All-Pro five times in 13 seasons with the Bears. He ranks second in team history with 92.5 sacks and is third on the NFL's all-time list in career sacks by a defensive tackle.
(3) During the Bears' memorable 1985 championship season, William "Refrigerator" Perry caught as many touchdown passes as Willie Gault.
The mammoth defensive tackle and the speedy wide receiver both had one TD reception during the 1985 regular season.
The Fridge put a chill into the Packers—pardon the pun—by catching a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jim McMahon to help lead the eventual Super Bowl champion Bears to a 16-10 win over Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
Gault's lone TD reception of the season fueled a remarkable 33-24 comeback win over the Vikings in Minnesota. After spending a couple days in the hospital due to a back injury, McMahon came off the bench and rallied the Bears with three touchdown passes. On his first snap, the Punky QB lofted a 70-yard TD pass to Gault—made possible by Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton's excellent block on a blitzing linebacker.
Interestingly, Perry and Gault both scored a second touchdown during the 1985 season—Perry on a 1-yard run against the Packers and Gault on a 99-yard kickoff return versus the Redskins. Both players scored again in the postseason—Perry on a 1-yard run in Super Bowl XX against the Patriots and Gault on a 22-yard reception in the NFC Championship Game versus the Rams.
(4) Hall of Famer Sid Luckman quarterbacked the Bears to four NFL championships in the 1940s. But he was a two-way star who recorded 17 career interceptions as a defensive back—the same total as safety Mike Brown.
Voted to two Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the Bears from 2000-08, Brown is considered one of the best ballhawks in franchise history. But you may be surprised to learn that his 17 career interceptions were matched by Luckman, who of course is better known for helping to revolutionize pro football by operating the innovative "T" formation as a Hall of Fame quarterback.
Luckman picked off 3, 3, 4 and 4 passes in his first four years with the Bears from 1940-43 when the NFL played an 11-game season.
(5) Payton rushed for more yards in one game against the Vikings in 1977 than the Bears' leading rusher did in the entire 1970 season.
Sweetness battled through flu-like symptoms to set a single-game NFL record that has since been broken by rushing for 275 yards in a 10-7 win over the Vikings Nov. 20, 1977 at Soldier Field. Payton ultimately led the league in rushing in 1977 with a career-high and team-record 1,852 yards.
Just seven years earlier, however, the Bears didn't have a player gain that many yards on the ground during their entire 14-game season. Ross Montgomery led the 1970 team with 229 yards on 62 carries, Don Shy added 227 yards on 79 attempts and Ronnie Bull gained 214 yards on 68 carries.
With Hall of Famer Gale Sayers limited to two games due to knee injuries, the Bears rushed for just three touchdowns all season, with two coming by quarterback Jack Concannon.
(6) Bears quarterback Rex Grossman (73.2) posted a better passer rating in the 2006 postseason than Colts counterpart Peyton Manning (70.5).
Manning outperformed Grossman in Super Bowl XLI, leading the Colts to a 29-17 win over the Bears in Miami. But Grossman was better than the Hall of Famer throughout the bulk of the postseason that season.
Grossman passed for 282 yards and one touchdown in a 27-24 overtime win over the Seahawks in the divisional playoffs. Manning, meanwhile, threw for just one touchdown with five interceptions in two postseason victories over the Chiefs and Ravens.