The 4th of July is a special day to celebrate the United States of America and today the nation is celebrating its 243rd birthday. It is a time to celebrate our independence and recognize the country’s perseverance in the face of tyranny. For this special occasion, I have brought to you a list of former Bears personnel and compared their career arcs to various American Presidents throughout the course of history. Without further ado, let’s get it started.

 

George Washington – George “Papa Bear” Halas HC/Owner/DE/WR (1920-1983)

Matching up the two Georges here was the easiest selection of all time. One was a player, coach, owner, and founder while the other was a founding father and 1st President of the United States. One of these great men won 8 NFL Championships, served in the Navy during World War 2 while the other was the head of the Continental Army and champion of the American Revolution, a war in which the world witnessed the first time someone overthrew British colonial rule. Both of these individuals have solidified themselves as true legends in American history.

 

Abraham Lincoln – Walter Payton RB (1975-1987)

 Honest Abe came into his presidency faced with the most intense domestic crisis the United States had ever encountered in the American Civil War and the man did nothing but make moves. During his four years in office, he managed to abolish slavery, fought to reunite a divided nation, and basically gave those below the poverty line a chance to make a living with the Homestead Act as a side hustle. When Walter Payton was drafted 4th overall in 1975 by the Bears, he became a part of a franchise that hadn’t been to the playoffs in 11 seasons, which is still the longest playoff drought in franchise history. Payton established himself as the face of the franchise instantly, and eventually led the Bears out of the dark ages, capping it all off with a Super Bowl championship in 1985. Tragically, both Lincoln and Payton were taken from the world way too soon. As Babe Ruth once said in The Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”

 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt – Ryan Pace GM (2015- Present)

When both of these gentlemen stepped into their respective positions, they were faced seemingly impossible tasks. FDR was elected in 1933, smack in the middle of The Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in the history of the United States. After getting the United States back on its feet, Roosevelt was tasked with combating the rise of fascism in Europe and the far east. While he passed away before the end of World War 2, his leadership influenced countless Americans and paved the way for the nation to become a global super power. Ryan Pace on the other hand was hired as general manager of the Bears after the madness that was the Marc Trestman/ Phil Emery regime. When Pace came into his position in January of 2015, he needed to turnover a team that had one of the oldest and least talented rosters in all of football. In just 3 years, he turned the Bears into a Super Bowl favorite by hiring Matt Nagy, drafting Mitchell Trubisky and by making countless other key pickups. Also, FDR secretly prepared the United States to get involved in the war despite many favoring isolationisms while Pace seemingly made the trade out of nowhere to acquire of Khalil Mack prior to the beginning of last season. Lil Wayne did say that real Gs move in silence like lasagna and there is no question that these two fit the profile.

 

Herbert Hoover – Marc Trestman HC/ Phil Emery GM (2013-2014)

 Since the Ryan Pace/ FDR comparison was just made, its only appropriate that we next talk about their predecessors. When Hoover came into office in 1929, Americans were still living the highs of economic prosperity that encapsulated the decade. When the stock market crashed in October of 1929, the country was sent spiraling out of control. Hoover believed that this was just a small economic downswing and that the market would naturally find a way to fix itself. He couldn’t have been more wrong, just like Marc Trestman in 2014. After a promising first year in which the Bears were one play away from winning the division (Thanks Conte), the 2014 Bears completely imploded. The season opened with Super Bowl aspirations, and the team went on to finish 5-11. This included back-to-back losses in which they gave up over 50 points and lost by at least 28 points (51-23 in New England and 55-14 in Green Bay). Trestman completely lost control of the locker room as star WR Brandon Marshall beefed with kicker Robbie Gould while marquee free agent signing Lamarr Houston tore his ACL celebrating a sack down 25 points in the 4th quarter. Not good times people.

 

Richard Nixon – Sam Hurd WR (2011)

 I know what you’re thinking here, Richard Nixon wasn’t trapping coke and bud like Sam Hurd was, but both were law breakers and got popped in the act. The break in, robbery and cover up of Watergate is the most infamous scandal in American history. It led to the resignation of Nixon and the incarceration of numerous other government officials. Nixon was playing a dirty, dirty game and got caught up in the mud, similar to currently incarcerated former Bear, Sam Hurd. According to former ESPN Bears beat reporter Michael C. Wright, Hurd was busted in December 2011 for trying to buy over 500 grams of cocaine with intent to sell from uncover police. While Nixon was eventually pardoned for his crimes, both of these men committed a criminal offense and ultimately paid the price.

 

George W. Bush – Cade McNown QB (1999-2000)

 Both George W. Bush and Cade McNown were completely out of their element. Riding off the reputation of his father, Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and wage an indefinite War on Terror have had lasting repercussions throughout the entirety of the 21st century. In comparison to Cade McNown, the UCLA quarterback was drafted with the 12th overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft with the hope that he would be the true franchise quarterback Chicago had been looking for. That could not have been more wrong as he wore out his welcome in just 2 seasons with the Bears and set them on a seemingly never-ending quest to find a passer for the duration of the 2000s and 2010s.

 

Woodrow Wilson – Lovie Smith HC (2004-2012)

 Woodrow Wilson is a criminally underrated president. Not many Commander-in-Chief’s can boast of a more solid resume than Wilson. He led the country through World War 1, played a key role in the creation of the world’s first international organization, the League of Nations, and even managed to fulfill the entirety of his second term despite suffering a stroke in 1919. Similar to Wilson, Lovie Smith simply does not get enough love from Bears nation. He was the architect behind the Cover 2 Bears’ defenses that dominated the NFL through the 2000s while also leading the team to its second Super Bowl appearance in 2006. Towards the end of his run as head coach, he was largely criticized for never being able to put together an NFL offense but his contributions and legacy as a Bear should never be forgotten.

 

John F. Kennedy – Gale Sayers RB (1965-1971)

Both of these studs burst onto the scene at a young age in the 60s, feeling that drip. At the time of his election, JFK was the 2nd youngest president ever elected while Sayers found pay dirt 22 times as a rookie. When faced with crisis, these two found a way to exhibit great resiliency. Faced with impending nuclear war with the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis, armed with just his diplomacy skills and the ice in his veins, JFK literally brought the United States back from a potential doomsday. Sayers on the other hand, fought back from numerous knee injuries. At the time, torn ACLs were considered downright impossible to come back from yet Sayers found a way to bounce back becoming a 1969 All Pro.

 

There you have it! Enjoy the holiday weekend and stay safe! Happy 4th of July to all!