Technically, it’s the NFL’s off-season now, but that only means there are no games. There really is no off season in the NFL. From the combine to the draft to pre-season, football fans always have something to obsess about. Whether it’s who’s going to get franchise tagged, how many hundreds of millions a quarterback will get paid, or Adam Schefter breaking into ESPN’s “SportsCenter” to report the latest trade or signing, it’s always football season.
And in Chicago, it’s always Bear season.
That was clear in a survey of the NFL’s Most Obsessed Fans by IllinoisBet.com, your source for Illinois online sports betting. The Bears fans came away at No. 1, with 30% saying they do not want to imagine life without Da Bears. Playing off that, the Bears’ slogan for 2018 was #BeObsessed.
In the survey, IllinoisBet.com utilized Statista’s 2022 “Attitudes of NFL Teams” survey of NFL fans with 1,239 respondents to find the most obsessed fans in the NFL. To do so, we counted the NFL fanbases who responded in the most positive manner to the following statements:
---I do not want to imagine my life without my NFL team
---My NFL team is part of my day-to-day life
We averaged the percentage of positive responses to these two questions to arrive at a final number. Here are the results:
NFL’s Most Obsessed Fans
Bears’ Tradition Goes Way Back
The Bears have been around since 1920, originally as the Decatur Staleys, one of the NFL’s original franchises. In 1920, the Staley Company hired Edward Sternaman and George Halas to run the team. The two men took complete control of the football Staleys the following year, relocated the team to Chicago, and the year after that changed the name to the Bears.
The Bears played with the Cubs at Wrigley Field until 1970 and have played since at Soldier Field.
The Bears have won nine NFL Championships but their only Super Bowl win was in 1985, Super Bowl XX, when coach Mike Ditka - and the team’s vaunted 46 defense - crushed the New England Patriots, 46-10. That team had all-time Bears such as Walter Payton, Richard Dent, Mike Singletary and William “Refrigerator” Perry. The Bears have more players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame than any other franchise. They also have won more games than any team except the hated Green Bay Packers.
Since 1985, the Bears have made it back to the Super Bowl only once, a 29-17 loss to the Colts in 2007. They have won nine divisional titles since 1985 but only one since 2010. Nothing keeps a historic franchise’s fan base more obsessed than losing.
When it comes to consistency of family ownership, nobody beats the Bears (although the Steelers and Giants come close).
George Halas died in 1983. Since then, 80% of the team has been owned by the Halas family, with the majority owner being Halas’s daughter, Virginia Halas McCaskey. Mrs. McCaskey is nearly as old the Bears, having celebrated her 100th birthday in January.
In popular culture, the team is known for a Yogi Bear cartoon in which Yogi helps the Bears beat the New York Giants; the Grammy-nominated 1985 hit song “The Super Bowl Shuffle;” The “Saturday Night Live” sketch, “Bill Swerski’s Superfans,” which made “da Bears!” a national catchphrase; and the classic 1971 tear-jerker “Brian’s Song,” starring Billy Dee Williams as Gale Sayers and James Caan as Brian Piccolo. It’s one of the best sports movies of all time.
Last season, under new coach Matt Eberflus, the Bears finished a dismal 3-14. They traded away this year’s overall No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers for wide receiver D.J. Moore and this year’s ninth pick, a second-round round pick, next year’s first round pick, and a 2025 second-round pick. The Bears also hired former Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren as the team’s new president.
Illinois betting apps seem to be waiting for the new pieces to come together before getting too excited about the Bears in the upcoming season.
Chicago (+325) is listed ahead of the Packers (+450) in NFC North odds by BetMGM Sportsbook Illinois. Both are behind the Detroit Lions (+130) and the Minnesota Vikings (+300). And when was the last time the Lions were the division favorite?
DraftKings Illinois also has the Bears (+330) third, ahead of the Packers (+500) but behind the Lions (+140) and Vikings (+250).
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