Nobody ever ran a football better than Walter Payton. Walter Payton was Chicago’s first hero of the superstar era, when the media spotlight first expanded athletic reality into 24-hour fantasy. He is considered by many not only the greatest Chicago Bear, but one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. Relentless in both his running and living styles, Payton’s premature death at age 45 shocked the city whose heart he had captured from the moment he arrived.
For an insider look into what made legendary Walter Payton the most acclaimed and beloved star in Chicago Bears’ history, check out these facts from The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bears—available now for 34% off on our website with the code SWEETNESS while supplies last —as we gear up for the release of the new 100th- anniversary edition, available September 1st!
5 Facts About Walter Payton
1) The Bears drafted running back Walter Payton in first round of the NFL draft, with the No. 4 overall pick in January 28, 1975. He would play with the Bears for 13 seasons, missing only one game.
2) Payton graduated from Jackson State in 1974 as the leading scorer in NCAA history, leading the nation in scoring his junior and senior seasons.
3) The Bears made it to the playoffs in 1977 when Walter Payton led the league in rushing and established a single-game record with 275 yards against the Minnesota Vikings while sick with the flu—a record that stood for more than 20 years.
5) Walter Payton retired after the 1987 season as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, surpassing Jim Brown. He also retired as the Bears’ all-time leader in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and pass reception. He holds 27 team records.