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Bears Fri Jan 06 2012

A Piece of Bears History

George Halas and the Bears after the 1940 title game / Tribune file photo

Bears fans all remember Super Bowl XX as an uncommonly one-sided win. But what about a 73-0 rout in a championship game?

Seventy-one years ago, the Bears beat the Washington Redskins by that score in the 1940 NFL Championship Game. It is the biggest margin of victory in NFL history, ranked by a few years ago as the third-biggest beatdown in sports history:

The Bears had 501 yards of offense, intercepted eight passes and officials had to ask Bears coach George Halas to run or pass for the PAT on the team's final two scores because so many balls had been kicked into the stands.

Now the game ball from that December day will be display as part of the Unexpected Chicago series that opens today at the Chicago History Museum.

The football in question / Photo: Chicago History Museum

The ball is adorned by the signatures of several future Hall of Famers, including the Bears' legendary co-founder and coach, George Halas.

Of course, more than just this famous pigskin will be featured. The Unexpected Chicago collection contains over 22 million artifacts, and the costume section alone has over 50,000 objects, including clothing and accessories.

The Chicago History Museum is located at 1601 N. Clark Street, with $14 admission for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and free for children under 12. More information at

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