As a Chicago Bears fan, I have been woefully short of happy moments. In fact, the only year I really enjoyed myself was 1985, and then my beloved father-in-law died. In 1965, however, I enjoyed a true comet — a “Kansas Comet.”
Number 22 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100” is Gale Sayers. Sayers was the first pick by the Chicago Bears in 1965. He was the fourth pick overall in the first round. He was chosen out of the University of Kansas. He was called “The Kansas Comet.” He was amazingly fast, magical.
Gale Sayers was great, but he achieved his greatness in just 68 games over seven seasons, and he was injured part of that time. It is scary to think what he might have achieved if he had a “normal career.” Further, the Bears were miserable during those years, creating a 1-13 record in 1969. What would his rushing stats have been like if he had played on a good team?
Also during this period, Sayers’ dear friend Brian Piccolo died of a rare form of cancer.
I must mention the fact that Piccolo and Sayers were players who were roommates at a time when black and white players did not room together, and it was felt that they could handle it.
In Sayers’ rookie year, he scored 22 touchdowns and was named All-NFL halfback. I remember him saying, “All I need is 18-inches of daylight.”
Gale Sayers was the Player of the Game in three Pro-Bowls.
In his short career, Sayers had 9,435 yards, of which 4,956 yards were rushing with 336 points. He is the NFL lifetime kickoff return leader.
I have linked to Sayers running. There is no way to describe his running style. There were smoother runners. There were stronger runners, and I suppose there have been faster runners. There just have never been better runners, although I love Walter Payton just as much.
It is sad that Sayers never got to play on a championship team.
The Chicago Bears seem to have a special knack for getting middle linebackers and running backs but seem to make up for it with bad quarterbacks.
Sayers was the youngest inductee into the Hall of Fame in 1977 at age 34.
He was a fan pick at number 26.
NFL Network Website, “Gale Sayers RB”
Hall of Fame Website, “Gale Sayers”
You Tube Website, “Gale Sayers-# 22 from Top 100 Greatest Players”
Sportsencyclopedia.com Website, “Chicago Bears Historical Moments”