As debuts go, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had one of the best in Chicago Bears history. In just 14 games, he delivered 12.5 sacks with six forced fumbles and a pick-six. It was the best season a Bears pass rusher has had since 1993 and a taste of things to come. For this he received placement on the new top 100 list of the greatest Bears in history.
The list is led by Hall of Fame writer Dan Pompei. Somebody who has covered the team for decades. Most recently he led the charge to get Brian Urlacher inducted into Canton back in 2018. The middle linebacker received his gold jacket shortly afterwards. So Pompei carries a lot of weight. That’s why the placement of Mack on this list was so interesting.
Starting at #75 with Akiem Hicks, things moved relatively without any shocks. Kyle Long was next, then Tommie Harris and so on. Yet Mack was strangely nowhere to be found. He hadn’t appears in the first left of 100-76 either. Had he made the list at all or was he left off because he’d only appeared in one season? He had, and his placement was surprising.
Mack came in at #60. Keep in mind this was ahead of Ed O’Bradovich (#67) who has a championship ring, and Robbie Gould (#62) the greatest kicker in franchise history. He’s only one spot behind Julius Peppers who played four seasons with the Bears, went to an NFC championship, and had 37.5 sacks.
Khalil Mack will likely rise soon enough but current placement feels wrong
Now there is no denying that Mack should end up near the top of that list when his career concludes years from now. He’s that sort of generational talent. However, to put him that high after just one season? It feels like recency bias crept into the discussions. Mack had an outstanding year but enough to shoot up 40 spots on such a prestigious list?
That feels like a bit much.
Yet such is the reality. There are bound to be bigger surprises as the list gets into the more serious half of #50 to #1. This is likely going to be a bloodbath with several of the greatest players getting spots that don’t seem fitting of their stature. Hence why these lists are so much fun. They create debates. At the end of the day though, it’s a reminder of how great the franchise has been.