Bears Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Doug Atkins and Bill Hewitt have been named to the NFL 100 All-Time Team.
In celebration of the league’s 100th season, a roster of the 100 greatest players and 10 best coaches has been compiled. Over six consecutive Friday nights at 7 p.m. (CT), host Rich Eisen will be joined by Patriots coach Bill Belichick and analyst Cris Collinsworth to introduce the All-Time Team on NFL Network.
Linebackers and defensive linemen were unveiled on this week’s show. Butkus is one of 12 linebackers on the All-Time Team, while Atkins and Hewitt are among 14 defensive linemen.
Chosen by the Bears in the first round of the 1965 draft, Butkus was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight NFL seasons. He was also selected as an All Pro in seven of his nine years. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979 in his first year of eligibility, the Illinois product set an NFL record that has since been broken with 25 career fumble recoveries. Butkus was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1960 and 1970s. His No. 51 jersey was retired by the Bears in 1994.
Atkins played 12 of his 17 NFL seasons with the Bears from 1955-66, helping them win the 1963 championship. The mammoth 6-8, 252-pound defensive end was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1960s and was voted to eight Pro Bowls in his career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.
Hewitt played his first five NFL seasons with the Bears from 1932-36, helping them win back-to-back championships in 1932 and 1933. He was voted first-team All-Pro three times as a member of the Bears and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1930s. His jersey No. 56 is retired by the team and he was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1971.
Following each premiere of the NFL 100 All-Time Team will be the NFL 100 All-Time Team Reaction Show, a one-hour live recap hosted by Chris Rose where the selections from each episode will be debated and discussed.
The process to select and celebrate the historic team began in early 2018 with the appointment of a 26-person blue-ribbon voting panel made up of coaches, team and front office executives, former players and members of the media with a deep appreciation for the history of the league, its teams and players, as well as a commitment to research.