Halas, one of NFL's founding fathers, dies at 88

Updated: October 17, 2005, 4:35 PM ET
By Larry Schwartz | Special to ESPN.com

Oct. 31, 1983

George Halas, the owner of the Chicago Bears for more than 60 years and one of the founding fathers of the NFL, dies in his Chicago home after a lengthy illness. He was 88.

A charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Halas coached the Bears for 40 years, and is the all-time winningest coach in NFL history with a 324-151-31 record. (Don Shula will break the record in 1993.) Papa Bear retired before the 1968 season at 73 because of a painful arthritic hip condition.

"He was an immortal man who made the National Football League," said former Bears quarterback Sid Luckman, who was with Halas until just before his death. "I just didn't have the heart to be there when he died."

Halas had been ill with heart disease, pancreatic disease and various other ailments.