CHICAGO – In recent Bears history, fans don’t like to remember this particular date since it represents the end of what will likely end up being the most successful part of the Matt Nagy era of the franchise.
On January 6, 2019, Cody Parkey hit the upright and the crossbar on a game-winning field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the Bears’ NFC Wild Card game against the Eagles at Soldier Field. The “double doink” has gone down as one of the more painful Chicago sports moments in the last generation as the team’s surprise season ended with a thud.
The momentum the Bears had at that moment following an NFC North championship has never returned, and because of that, Nagy is likely to be dismissed as head coach after the Bears’ season finale on Sunday against the Vikings.
But in the spirit of positivity, “Throwback Thursday” on WGN News Now on this January 6th focused on a much happier moment that occurred 20 years ago on this date. On that day in 2001, the Bears had one of their more memorable interceptions that still looms “large” for the team and fans.
In the third quarter against the Jaguars in the last game of that season, 340-pound defensive tackle Keith Traylor intercepted a Mark Brunell pass with one hand then took off up the field.
“Watch out, the Earth is shaking,” exclaimed CBS Sports play-by-play announced Dick Enberg as the lineman made his way towards the endzone with the football. He would get inside the Jacksonville ten-yard line, but he wasn’t able to score as Jaguars’ players finally caught up with him.
Yet the video of Traylor rumbling his way down the field after quite an athletic interception made it one of the more legendary plays in franchise history. The Bears would score a touchdown two plays later as Jim Miller hit David Terrell for a touchdown as they would go onto win 33-13.
The lineman’s pick is one of the great plays of a memorable Bears’ 2001 season in which they won a number of close games in dramatic fashion. Their 13-3 record helped them capture the last NFC Central championship as the NFL realigned divisions starting with the 2002 season as the Bears moved to the north.
As for Traylor, that was the second and final interception of his 16-year NFL career, three of which he spent with the Bears. He would finish the 2001 season with 35 tackles, eight for loss, and two sacks on a defense that was first in the NFL in points allowed.
Larry Hawley looked back on this moment on WGN News Now on Thursday, and you can watch that in the video above.