Bernstein: What's Wrong With Bears' Top-100 List

Dan Hampton deserves more respect, and William Perry needs included.

Dan Bernstein
May 23, 2019 - 12:21 pm
Categories: 

(670 The Score) ​​​​The Bears' list of their top 100 players in franchise history is complete, and it's completely ridiculous and awesome, brilliant and stupid and wonderfully arbitrary. 

It's a gift from the content gods, and I'm loving it. Walter Payton is the greatest Bear, and that feels just right for this soon-to-be-50 observer who first imprinted on the team in the mid-1970s. Dick Butkus at No. 2 will please the older people, and Bronko Nagurski at No. 3 and Sid Luckman at No. 4 thereafter will do the same for dead people and zombies.

Much of the rest of it makes less sense, however, with some guys overpositioned and many not getting fair due. Let's break it down.

OVERRATED

 -- All the active players who made it 
Khalil Mack (No. 60) will earn his way on here with ease if healthy, and apologies to Kyle Long (No. 74), Akiem Hicks (No. 75) and Eddie Jackson (No. 96). But no.

-- Devin Hester 
He deserves a spot on the list for being perhaps the best return man in NFL history, but he was unplayable as a defensive back and a headwind as a wide receiver. No. 20 feels too high.

-- Danny Fortmann? 
Maybe? It's weird that I've never heard of the apparent 10th-best Bear ever. And I know he's not better than Dan Hampton.

UNDERRATED

-- Dan Hampton 
He was the best individual defensive player on one of the greatest defenses of all time. He made the Pro Bowl at all four positions on the defensive line -- left end, right end, nose tackle and under tackle. Think about that. He deserves to be higher than No. 11.

-- Jay Cutler 
We handled this in detail already in this space, the placing of the holder of all franchise passing records at just No. 85. It's wrong. He's the Bears' best quarterback by a mile, even if nobody likes him and his career was largely a downer.

-- Brian Urlacher and Charles Tillman  
At No. 14 and No. 31, respectively, I pair them because both are punished by having played -- and excelled -- in Lovie Smith's Tampa-2 zone. Instead of compiling traditional stats for their positions, each became an exemplar of something new and different. Urlacher moved like others to that point simply hadn't, and Tillman separated the opponent from the ball in a way that we now know correlates directly to winning.

-- William "The Refrigerator" Perry 
He may not have been spectacularly productive, and his fame and cultural status was unquestionably larger than his actual football body of work, but Perry was a nine-year mainstay of a great defensive line over 114 games of their peak era. He was a better Bear than Patrick Mannelly (No. 100), clearly deserving of inclusion.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​​​​