About two hours before releasing its complete 2022 schedule, the NFL announced that the Bears will open the season by hosting the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Sept. 11 at noon at Soldier Field.
This will be the fourth time that the Bears begin a season against the 49ers, but the first time at home. The previous three instances all have been in San Francisco, with the Bears winning 30-14 in 1962 and losing 52-24 in 1965 and 49-7 in 2003.
The 1965 contest featured the NFL debut of two future Hall of Famers in middle linebacker Dick Butkus and running back Gale Sayers, who were selected by the Bears with the third and fourth overall picks in the 1965 draft, respectively.
The Bears and 49ers have alternated winning the last seven meetings, with the Bears recording victories in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and losses in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2021. In their most recent meeting last Halloween in Chicago, the 49ers outscored the Bears 24-6 over the game's final 21 minutes to turn a 16-9 deficit into a 33-22 win.
This year marks the first time that the Bears will open at home since 2019, when they kicked off the NFL's 100th season with a 10-3 Thursday night loss to the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.
The Bears have lost seven of their last eight season openers, falling to the Buffalo Bills in 2014, the Packers in 2015, 2018 and 2019, the Houston Texans in 2016, the Atlanta Falcons in 2017 and the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. Their only Week 1 win since 2013 came in 2020 when they rallied from a 23-6 deficit entering the fourth quarter to stun the Detroit Lions 27-23 at Ford Field.
Check out the Bears' home and away matchups for the 2022 season.