The NFL Hall Of Fame has just announced that, as expected by many, the Bears will participate in the annual Hall of Fame Game.
As part of the hall of fame festivities in Canton prior to the induction ceremony, the Bears will play the Ravens on August 2nd. This will be the Bears’ first time playing in Canton since 2005, where they defeated the Miami Dolphins. The Bears were scheduled to play the (then) St. Louis Rams in the game in 2011, but it was canceled due to the NFL lockout.
While it is just a preseason game, participating in the Hall Of Fame game is incredibly significant to a team like the Bears. Playing in Canton allows the Bears to start camp and practices a couple days earlier. Given that a vast majority, if not all of the offensive players need to learn a whole new offensive scheme, this puts the Bears in a vastly favorable position.
Only two hall of famers in this class, Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, played with one team for their entire careers. For that loyalty, their teams are rewarded with a game in Canton.
This means the Bears will have five preseason game, contrasting with the normal four. While we do now get to watch more Bears football, which is great, the Hall Of Fame Game is a great opportunity for young players to shine bright on the national stage, and to make a name for themselves.