George “Papa Bear” Halas was the founder, owner, and coach of the iconic Chicago Bears National Football League (NFL) team. He is also credited with co-founding the NFL.
George Halas was born in Chicago to Czech immigrants from the town of Pilsen (Plzeň), Bohemia (now the Czech Republic).
Halas coached the Bears for 40 seasons, pausing briefly three times, once from 1942-1945 to serve in the military during World War II. Under his leadership, the team won six NFL titles, three divisional titles, and finished second 15 times.
“Papa Bear,” also known as “Mr. Everything,” was the first football coach to run daily practice sessions, analyze videos of opponents’ games, and air his team’s games on the radio. He remained executive officer of the Bears until his death.
George Halas received numerous impressive honors. In 1997 he was featured on a U.S. postage stamp as one of the legendary coaches of football. He has been recognized by ESPN as one of the ten most influential people in sports in the 20th century, and as one of the greatest coaches.
To this day, the jerseys of the Chicago Bears bear the initials “GSH” on their upper left sleeves in commemoration of Halas. The George Halas Trophy is awarded by the NFL to the National Football Conference champion. The Chicago Bears retired number 7 in his honor, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located on George Halas Drive.
*Sources: Pro Football Hall of Fame, Britannica, Wikipedia