The 2016 Bears might be the worst team in franchise history

Elsa/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears have been around since 1922, and despite the fact the franchise has won only one championship in the Super Bowl era, there haven’t been too many lean years in the Second City.

But there’s no doubt that 2016 is a down year for the Bears.

The 2016 season is building up to be the worst Bears campaign since 1969, when the team won one of 14 games.

The Bears currently sit at 2-8, and if not for a Week 13 contest against the 49ers, they’d be a good bet to stay at 2 wins through Week 17.

Chicago might not finish with the worst record in franchise history, but that doesn’t mean that this team isn’t the worst in Bears history.

Yes, 2016 might be rock bottom for the Bears.

It speaks to the level of bad around the NFL that the Bears are arguably not even the worst team in their own conference, and they’re certainly not the worst team in the NFL — congrats, Browns.

But what deliberate direction are the Bears heading in right now? They’re not tanking on purpose, like the Browns and 49ers (the latter of whom refused to publicly admit that leaving $45 million in salary cap space was an effort to tank 2016), and while they pushed the notion that John Fox could usher a second-year turnaround and have the Bears contending for the playoffs this year, that’s clearly not happening either.

Add in the two PED suspensions in the past week — one going to star wide receiver
Alshon Jeffery — and Jay Cutler’s questionable status for the remainder of the season with his torn labrum and you have a team that can’t find a win.

The Bears will probably need to do a full tear-down for 2017 — new coach, new quarterback, and a massively overhauled roster. Frankly, it would be shocking if the Bears aren’t back in a similar situation next year (only this time with a clear-cut plan and an upward trajectory.)

Compared to previous editions of the Bears, this has to be considered one of the worst teams ever, and should they finish at 3-13 or worse it would make sense to consider them the worst team in Bears history.

There have been other 3-13 iterations — the 1973 Bears were downright terrible — but that team didn’t have the drama of this 2016 squad. These Bears are not taking the path of least resistance to the bottom.

Which leaves that one-win, 1969 team as the strongest competition for being the worst Bears team in history.

But that team had Dick Butkus and Gayle Sayers.

Danny Trevathan and Jordan Howard are excellent players, but they’re not Butkus and Sayers.

Is this 2016 Bears team the worst in franchise history? It's heading in that direction. One thing is certain, though — this Bears team is the worst in a generation and without major changes, 2017 might end up being worse.