NFL teams look for any way to get an advantage over their opponents. The New England Patriots have been known to cheat. The Bears, however, get their edge from their specialty unit.

“It’s huge, our special teams,” Bears’ tight end Greg Olsen said. “Whether or not they finished one in the rankings, arguably they’ve been the best in the league for the last five years, six years. Year in, year out, the impact that they have on the game is huge.”

In the week 15’s Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings, Devin Hester set the NFL record for career return touchdowns. Over the course of Hester’s four years as a Bear, he’s brought the special teams’ unit to a new level of attention.

“Everyone knows about Devin’s touchdowns and all that,” Olsen said, “but just the field position that we get, you know. Brad [Maynard] pining guys deep, Robbie [Gould] being so automatic on field goals, and just across the board the way these guys cover.”

Teams across the league can win, and lose games based solely on the performance of their special teams. The Bears go into every game knowing they already have an advantage. And those special teams players give a big boost to the offense and defense.

“All aspects of our special teams is a huge advantage, both for our offense, in starting position, but our defense also, with Brad’s ability to pin guys back,” Olsen said. “At this level, going 90, 85 yards a clip is pretty tough. We can’t say enough about what [special teams coaches Dave] Toub and [Chris] Tabor do with those guys, and it’s huge.”

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