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Halas, Ditka, Fortmann named to All-Time Team


Bears Hall of Famers George Halas, Mike Ditka and Dan Fortmann 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, host Rich Eisen will be joined by Patriots coach Bill Belichick and analyst Cris Collinsworth to introduce the All-Time Team on NFL Network.

Halas, Ditka and Fortmann were unveiled on this week's show.

Halas served as Bears coach for four separate 10-year stints, leading the franchise to six NFL championships in 1921, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1946 and 1963. He ultimately became the winningest coach in NFL history with 324 victories, a record since surpassed by Don Shula.

A Chicago native who starred at the University of Illinois, Halas was a pro football pioneer. He founded the Bears as the Decatur Staleys in 1920 and helped create what would become the NFL when he joined representatives from 10 other teams in Canton, Ohio, in September 1920 to found the American Professional Football Association.

Halas moved the Staleys to Chicago in 1921 and they were renamed the Chicago Bears in 1922. "Papa Bear" was instrumental in the growth of the fledgling league, helping it eventually become a multi-billion dollar industry and staple of American culture.

As a player, Halas was named to the NFL's 1920s All-Decade Team. His 98-yard return of a Jim Thorpe fumble remained an NFL record for 49 years until it was broken in 1972.

Ditka is one of five tight ends on the NFL All-Time Team. Before he became "Da Coach" in the 1980s, Ditka was one of the NFL's greatest tight ends. He was voted to five Pro Bowls in six seasons with the Bears from 1961-66, catching 316 passes for 4,503 yards and 34 TDs. Ditka remains the Bears' all-time leader in all three of those categories among tight ends and was the first tight end inducted into the Hall of Fame in1988.

Fortmann is one of 18 offensive linemen on the NFL All-Time Team. He was chosen by the Bears in the seventh round of the first NFL Draft in 1936 out of Colgate. A star guard, he was voted first-team All-Pro for seven straight seasons from 1937-43 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1940s. Fortmann helped the Bears win three league championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965.

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.