Halas & Payton Return To Soldier Field, Bronze Statues Unveiled To Mark 100th Season

Lisa Fielding
September 03, 2019 - 2:05 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Two of the greatest in Bears history are now permanently honored at the south entrance of Soldier Field.

"Now for the next 100 years, all who come here, will see these two statutes of these two men, who forever changed the game of football," said Dan Hampton, Defensive Tackle, Chicago Bears, '79-'90, Hall of Fame, 2002.

The two statues of George Halas and Walter Payton are both 12-feet tall and are made of more than 3,000 pounds of bronze and were created by sculptor Chad Fisher.

"Growing up, my favorite player was Walter Payton, this is all so surreal," he said.

"This is a dream project. It took thousands of hours, thousands of photos, a lot of collaboration with the Bears, the Payton family, does it look right, does it feel right, is he moving right. Very important to make sure this was done properly."

Sculptor Chad Fisher
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Fisher said they even visited the Football Hall of Fame in Canton to help him with his research.

"I got to actually look at his equipment, actually manipulate the helmet, learned about what he used for pads, he used to take his souls out of his shoes, he had specific shoulder pads, he had a specific helmet that he used throughout his career," he said.

Walter Payton statue
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Payton's statue shows the running back in uniform, his number 34, in a stance holding a ball in his right hand.

"We remember his humility, his work ethic and his smile that we all know can light up a room," said Payton's daughter Brittney. "He would be so proud of this moment and moved beyond words."

George Halas statue
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The Halas statue features the Bears coach wearing a jacket, tie and fedora on the sidelines.

"We used to drive along the outer drive through the parks and see the statues in the park settings. It seemed like most of them were generals on horses,” said Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey, Halas’ daughter. “But we never dreamed that someday, our dad and a Chicago Bears player would be honored in the same way. We are very happy to be here.” 

McCaskey's son and Bears Chairman George McCaskey said it's only fitting that these statues are unveiled ahead of the NFL's 100th season.

"The timing is most appropriate. I know the Payton family has wanted this for a long time and it just happen to come together in our centennial season and it's just as well," he said.

Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey, Halas’ daughter.
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"Finally at long last, the two statues we’ve waited 100 years for. It’s only fitting that these two most colossal of all figures in a long line of gigantic characters of the Chicago Bears will forever be immortalized,” Hampton said.

George McCaskey said Walter's legacy is secure.

"He's the greatest player in the history of the game," McCaskey said.

Payton family in front of Walter Payton statue
WBBM Newsradio/Shannon Blum

The statutes were unveiled two days before the Bears kick off the NFL's 100th season at home.

"It's kinda wild that this day is finally here. It's just nice to see tears of joys and happy faces," said Fisher.