Virginia McCaskey has been the Chicago Bears majority owner for a long time. Her father, the great George Halas died in 1983. In that time she has witnessed a lifetime of memorable moments. She saw Walter Payton break the all-time rushing record. She saw the Bears win their first Super Bowl, the Fog Bowl, the upset of the Vikings in the 1994 playoffs, Mike Brown‘s interception TDs, and of course the NFC championship win in 2006.
There is a huge selection of moments that McCaskey could call her favorite. For somebody who is 96-years-old, her memory remains outstanding. So what happened when Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times asked her the question? As it turns out, that memory was put to good use. For all the great events that happened since she took over, it goes back even further.
She admits that it might not be the team’s greatest game, but, rather, one she finds the most important.
“Papa Bear” had returned to coach the Bears in 1958 after a two-year hiatus. He went 38-25 over the next five years. Fans had begun to wonder whether, at age 68, the game had passed him by.
Then the Bears went 11-1-2 during the 1963 regular season and hosted the Giants in the NFL Championship Game at Wrigley Field. In temperatures near 0, the Bears won 14-10.
“People had been critical of my dad at that time, and he was 68 years old — which, now to me, seems young,” she said. “People were calling for his retirement, and he just showed ’em all that he still could do it. And he did it.”
Virginia McCaskey pays proper homage to Bears history with that choice
Many things about that 1963 season were so special. Keep in mind, the Bears hadn’t won a championship since 1946. A span of 17 years. Their lone opportunity during that time was a disastrous appearance in the 1956 title game where they were blasted by the New York Giants 47-7. The fact they got revenge on the Giants seven years later was rather fitting.
Then there was the fact that Halas became the oldest coach to ever win a championship. The Bears were also the only team to beat the Green Bay Packers that year. Remember these were the Vince Lombardi Packers at the peak of their powers. A team that had won back-to-back championships the two previous years. Chicago took them down in both games.
Last but not least, the Bears defense was one of the best in NFL history. A unit that allowed just 144 total points in 15 games. No other unit came close to that mark outside of the 1930s and ’40s when the schedules were 11 games long. McCaskey chose her moment well.