1925 Chicago Bears season

The 1925 Chicago Bears season was their sixth regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 9–5–3 record under head coach George Halas earning them a seventh-place finish in the team standings, their worst showing to that date. However, the 1925 Bears were the most notable team in the young NFL's history to that point—all because of the addition of college star Red Grange.

1925 Chicago Bears season
Head coachGeorge Halas
Home fieldWrigley Field
Results
Record19–7–3 Overall
9–5–3 NFL
League place7th NFL

Season recap

The Bears started slow, just like in 1924, starting the season with two ties and a loss to Green Bay (the Packers' first win ever over the Bears). The Bears regrouped, however, and won 6 of their next 7. More importantly, the college season ended in mid-November and the Bear's owner Halas signed star running back Harold "Red" Grange.

Grange was under contract but did not play on November 22 as the Bears defeated the Packers in a rematch. When Grange did suit up for his first game on Thanksgiving Day against the Cardinals, an estimated 39,000 packed the venue at Wrigley Field to see the teams deadlock in a 0–0 tie.[1] (A large professional football crowd in this era was about 10,000 fans, with many games drawing fewer than 5,000 paying customers.) That was just the beginning of a whirlwind month for Grange and the Bears, playing frequently in front of enormous crowds. Over 70,000 showed up on December 6 to see the Bears beat the Giants at the Polo Grounds—this was by far the largest crowd to see a professional football team and the gate receipts saved an ailing Giants franchise.

Between December 2 and December 13, the Bears played an astounding eight games, during which the team lived in a special railway car, with its women's restroom converted into a makeshift training room.[1] By the end of their whirlwind football tour, the Bears were exhausted and wracked by injuries, feebly dropping their last three games, with a mere six points scored. Grange was himself injured in Boston, attempting to play hurt in Pittsburgh only to have his injured arm more severely damaged.[1] Even the lowly Detroit Panthers were able to defeat the mighty Bears without their marquee star, with many of the 9,000 fans flooding the ticket office to receive refunds.[1] Still, Chicago's success spurred by Grange put the NFL on the "map" and may have saved the league from an early demise.

Grange had some success in this season, scoring 3 touchdowns overall. Still, the star of the team was Joe Sternaman who scored 6 touchdowns, threw for 3 more, and added 3 field goals and 18 PATs. Sternaman scored 72 of the Bears 158 points.

The Bears embarked on a barnstorming tour at the end of the season, playing games in Florida, Louisiana, California and Washington, usually against local pick-up teams. During this tour, they played in a match-up against a team called the Tampa Cardinals, which was composed of Jim Thorpe and several members of the NFL's Rock Island Independents. The game was played at Tampa's Plant Field and resulted in a 17–3 Bears win.[2][3]

Grange was richly rewarded for his rookie year in professional football, netting salary and bonuses totaling nearly $125,000 — far more than any individual player had ever received.[1]

Future Hall of Fame players

Other leading players

Schedule

League schedule

Date Opponent Location Result Score Record
Sep. 20 at Rock Island Independents Douglas Park Tie 0–0 0–0–1
Sep.27 at Green Bay Packers City Stadium Loss 14–10 0–1–1
Oct 4 at Detroit Panthers Navin Field Tie 0–0 0–1–2
Oct 11 Hammond Pros DePaul Field Win 28–7 1–1–2
Oct 18 Cleveland Bulldogs Wrigley Field Win 7–0 2–1–2
Oct 25 at Chicago Cardinals Comiskey Park Loss 9–0 2–2–2
Nov 1 Rock Island Independents Wrigley Field Win 6–0 3–2–2
Nov 8 Frankford Yellow Jackets Wrigley Field Win 19–0 4–2–2
Nov 15 Detroit Panthers Wrigley Field Win 14–0 5–2–2
Nov 22 Green Bay Packers Wrigley Field Win 21–0 6–2–2
Nov 26 Chicago Cardinals Wrigley Field Tie 0–0 6–2–3
Nov 29 Columbus Tigers Wrigley Field Win 14–13 7–2–3
Dec. 5 at Frankford Yellow Jackets Shibe Park Win 14–7 8–2–3
Dec. 6 at New York Giants Polo Grounds Win 19–7 9–2–3
Dec. 9 at Providence Steam Roller Braves Field Loss 6–9 9–3–3
Dec. 12 at Detroit Panthers Navin Field Loss 21–0 9–4–3
Dec. 13 New York Giants Wrigley Field Loss 9–0 9–5–3

Schedule against independent teams

Date Opponent Location Result Score Attendance
Dec. 2 Donnelly All-Stars St. Louis, Missouri Win 39–6 8,000
Dec. 8 Washington All-Stars Washington, D.C. Win 17–3 7,000
Dec 10 Pittsburgh All-Stars Forbes Field Loss 24–0 6,000

Barnstorming tour schedule

Date Opponent Location Result Score Attendance
Dec. 25 Coral Gables Collegians Coral Gables, Florida Win 7–0 8,200
Jan. 1 Tampa Cardinals Plant Field Win 17–3 8,000
Jan 2 Jacksonville All-Stars Jacksonville, Florida Win 19–6 6,700
Jan 10 Southern All-Stars New Orleans, Louisiana Win 14–0 6,000
Jan 16 Los Angeles Tigers Los Angeles, California Win 17–7 70,000
Jan 17 California All-Stars San Diego, California Win 14–0 10,000
Jan 24 San Francisco Tigers San Francisco, California Loss 14–9 23,000
Jan 30 Portland All-Stars Portland, Oregon Win 60–3 6,500
Jan 31 Washington All-Stars Seattle, Washington Win 34–0 5,000

Standings

NFL standings
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Chicago Cardinals * 11 2 1 .846 229 65 W2
Pottsville Maroons * 10 2 0 .833 270 45 W5
Detroit Panthers 8 2 2 .800 129 39 W1
New York Giants 8 4 0 .667 122 67 W1
Akron Pros 4 2 2 .667 65 51 L2
Frankford Yellow Jackets 13 7 0 .650 190 169 W2
Chicago Bears 9 5 3 .643 158 96 W3
Rock Island Independents 5 3 3 .625 99 58 L1
Green Bay Packers 8 5 0 .615 151 110 W1
Providence Steam Roller 6 5 1 .545 111 101 L1
Canton Bulldogs 4 4 0 .500 50 73 L1
Cleveland Bulldogs 5 8 1 .385 75 135 L1
Kansas City Cowboys 2 5 1 .286 65 97 W1
Hammond Pros 1 4 0 .200 23 87 L3
Buffalo Bisons 1 6 2 .143 33 113 L4
Rochester Jeffersons 0 6 1 .000 26 111 L5
Dayton Triangles 0 7 1 .000 3 84 L7
Duluth Kelleys 0 3 0 .000 6 25 L3
Milwaukee Badgers 0 6 0 .000 7 191 L6
Columbus Tigers 0 9 0 .000 28 124 L9

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
* The Pottsville Maroons were suspended from the league in December, resulting in the Chicago Cardinals being named the NFL champions.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "The Galloping Ghost Hits the Road," Sports All Stars 1963 Pro Football, pp. 36-39.
  2. ^ Ghosts of the Gridiron, Virtual Scrapbook Library, Vol. 8, Thorpe's Cardinals
  3. ^ Pro Football Archives: 1925 Chicago Bears season
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