The Chicago Bears Centennial Scrapbook features a list of the top 100 players in franchise history as ranked by Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson. The following is a story about Nos. 51-75.
The list of 25 players ranked as the best in Bears history from No. 51-75 is highlighted by three current members of the team, topped by outside linebacker Khalil Mack at No. 60.
Acquired by the Bears last Sept. 1 in a blockbuster trade with the Raiders, Mack was named first-team All-Pro and voted to his fourth straight Pro Bowl in 2018 after leading the team with 12.5 sacks, a career-high six forced fumbles and 18 quarterback hits. He also ranked second on the team with 10 tackles-for-loss.
Mack’s 12.5 sacks were the most by a Bears player since Hall of Famer Richard Dent also had 12.5 sacks in 1993. Mack’s 12.5 sacks tied for the third most in franchise history behind Dent’s 17.5 in 1984 and 17.0 in 1985.
Mack was named the NFC defensive player of the month for September after registering five sacks, four forced fumbles and returning an interception 27 yards for a touchdown in the season opener against the Packers.
Mack is the only player on the top 100 list who has spent just one season with the Bears.
Two other current Bears are on the list from No. 51-75 in guard Kyle Long (No. 74) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (No. 75). Long was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of first three seasons after arriving as a first-round pick in 2013 and remains an integral member of the offensive line.
Hicks earned his first Pro Bowl invitation in seven NFL seasons last year after leading the Bears with 12 tackles-for-loss and ranking second behind Mack with 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 16 quarterback hits. Hicks’ numbers were even better in 2017 when he registered 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles-for-loss.
The list of the best Bears players from No. 51-75 also includes five members of the famed 1985 Super Bowl championship team: Right tackle Keith Van Horne (No, 51), quarterback Jim McMahon (No. 53), defensive end Mike Hartenstine (No. 66), fullback Matt Suhey (No. 70) and kicker Kevin Butler (No. 71).
Van Horne, who was selected by the Bears with the 11th pick in the first round of the 1981 draft out of USC, played all 13 of his NFL seasons in Chicago, appearing in 186 games with 169 starts.
McMahon was chosen by the Bears with the fifth pick in the first round of the 1982 draft from BYU. He played his first seven NFL seasons in Chicago, compiling a sparkling 46-15 record as a starter while passing for 11,203 yards and 67 touchdowns.
Hartenstine played 12 seasons with the Bears from 1975-86, appearing in 184 games with 140 starts. He recorded a career-high and team-leading 12 sacks in 1983.
Suhey played all 10 his NFL seasons with the Bears, rushing for 2,946 yards and 20 touchdowns on 828 carries and catching 260 passes for 2,113 yards and five TDs. He scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl XX on an 11-yard run.
Butler played his first 11 NFL seasons with the Bears from 1985-95. He became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 1,116 points, a mark that has since been eclipsed by Robbie Gould, who is ranked No. 62 among the top players in team history. Butler set an NFL rookie record that has since been broken with 144 points in 1985.
Click through the photo gallery below of all 25 players ranked from No. 51-75, a list that also includes quarterbacks Ed Brown, Johnny Lujack and Bill Wade; defensive tackle Wally Chambers; tackle James “Big Cat” Williams and safety Mike Brown.
Counting down the best players in the storied history of the Chicago Bears as chosen by Bears Centennial Scrapbook authors Don Pierson and Dan Pompei. In the second of four galleries, we present numbers 75 through 51.