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The organization that eventually became the Chicago Bears, the Decatur Staleys, was originally conceived by the A. E. Staley food starch company of Decatur, Illinois, in 1919 as a company team. This was the typical start for several early professional football franchises. The company hired George Halas and Edward Dutch Sternaman in 1920 to run the team, and turned over full control of the team to them in 1921. However, official team and league records cite Halas as the founder as he took over the team in 1920 when it became a charter member of the NFL.
The franchise is a charter-member of the National Football League and have played in all of the leagues 97 seasons. The Bears have captured nine NFL Championships – eight NFL Championships and one Super Bowl – second most all-time behind the Green Bay Packers. The franchise has also recorded more victories than any other franchise with 739, retired the most uniform numbers with fourteen, and have the most members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with twenty-seven.