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Bear Crazy: How The '85 Bears Captured Chicago

A Lighthearted Visit to the Chicago Bears' Last Championship Season

Are you ready for some...very pleasant memories? John Callaway takes you on a nostalgic revisit to the wild ride that was the Chicago Bears' 1985 season! By popular demand--in tribute to this season's NFL Central Division Champions--Chicago Stories presents an encore program that will transport you back to the days of Iron Mike, Sweetness, the Fridge, Punky Q-B Jim McMahon, Danimal, Samurai, and Mongo. It was a team that many experts consider the best in any one season of the National Football League.

Coach Mike Ditka, and players Jim McMahon, Otis Wilson, William "The Refrigerator" Perry (the gap-toothed rookie who became football's widest receiver and America's favorite appliance), Dan Hampton, Dave Duerson, Tom Thayer, and Gary Fencik were more than a football team. They had rock-star status, and then some, with a cast of characters whom Chicagoans adored in an out of uniform.

Coach Mike Ditka's explosive personality ("he didn't seem to chew gum so much as crush it") was part of the show: William Perry exhibited surprising athleticism: "Over 300 pounds and he would hop up on a table this high" marvels former Channel 2 sportscaster (and ex-Bear) Johnny Morris. "The Fridge" became so popular, he even had his own cheerleaders: the hefty "Refrigerettes," each weighing at least 200 pounds. Quarterback Jim McMahon seemed to take as much enjoyment confronting authority as he did in leading the team's offense. ("He tweaked me pretty good," admits Ditka.) And at the center of it all was "Sweetness," the late legendary running back Walter Payton, whom teammates knew both for his brilliant play and memorable penchant for practical jokes.

In Chicago and across the country it seemed that everyone was a Bears' fan, and America was dancing to the beat of "The Super Bowl Shuffle." To this day, fans greet '85 Bears players eagerly on the street, and they are still offered endorsements and make personal appearances.

Everyone got in on the act: the Art Institute lions sported Bears helmets, the Picasso sculpture wore a Bears headband and Sir Georg Solti led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in "Bear Down, Chicago Bears." And the team crossed over into the realm of recording artists with "The Super Bowl Shuffle," which was even nominated for a Grammy Award.

Chicago Stories looks back at how the Bears cast their spell on the city on their way to an NFL title. In the days before Michael Jordan and the Bulls made championships routine, the Chicago Bears gave the city a thrill and a spirit that will never be forgotten.

Links of Interest
The official Site of the Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears WWW Site
by John Rehling
At this all-around fansite, you'll find a recap of the season, game highlights, great photos, and even the lyrics to the Super Bowl Shuffle.
This fansite celebrates the greatest moments in Bears history.

A Tribute to Sweetness
Walter Payton, July 25, 1954-November 1, 1999

Monster of the Midway
Rick Telander's 1985 article from Sports Illustrated on the Fridge.
The official Site of Super Bowl XXXVI.

"Bear Down, Chicago Bears" Lyrics By Al Hoffman, 1941

Bear Down, Chicago Bears.
Make every play clear the way to victory!
Bear Down, Chicago Bears.
Put up a fight with a might so fearlessly!

We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation,
With your T formation.

Bear Down, Chicago Bears.
And let them know why you're wearing the crown.

You're the pride and joy,
Of all Illinois.

Chicago Bears, Bear Down!

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