Da Bears!: How the 1985 Monsters of the Midway Became the Greatest Team in NFL History
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An acclaimed sports journalist and native Chicagoan tackles what many call the greatest team in NFL history. Da Bears! tells the full story of the ’85 legends—with all the controversy and excitement—on the field and off.
It’s been 25 years since the Chicago Bears won Super Bowl XX with what Bill Parcells called “the best defensive team I’ve ever seen” and an offense surprisingly good for a franchise where offense was often a dirty word. Now, for the first time, an incredibly candid book takes you through all the games and behind the scenes—into the huddles, the locker rooms, the team meetings, and of course the bars—for an intimate account of that unforgettable season.
Here’s how a team that got booed in its regular-season opener ended up winning its first world championship in 22 years, led by the most capable, colorful, and un-PC characters ever to strap on helmets—including Jim McMahon, the hard partyer and so-called punk rocker who became a star quarterback and an antihero; William “Refrigerator” Perry, the rookie giant who turned into a full-blown national sensation; Mike Ditka, the legendarily combative head coach called “Sybil” for his mercurial moods; his nemesis, defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan, who insulted and broke down his players, then built them back up again, military-style; Walter Payton, the hard-nosed running back and mischievous prankster; and middle linebacker Mike Singletary, known for his leadership and his jarring hits.
From the inner workings of their innovative and attacking 46 defense to the inside story of their cocky “Super Bowl Shuffle” music video (shot, amazingly, right after their one loss of the season, to Miami), all the setbacks and triumphs, ferocious hits and foibles, of this once-in-a-lifetime team are recaptured brashly and boldly—the Chicago way.
From the Hardcover edition.
who helped revolutionize the NFL. Halas introduced training camps, game films, daily practice sessions, assistant coaches, modern scouting techniques, and broadcasting NFL games on radio. During the 1960s, he and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney threw all their clout behind Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s radical plan for every NFL team to share television revenue equally, one of the major reasons the NFL is still the most prosperous and stable sports league. Halas was often called the father of
“I went to push off to engage him, and to cut him, as he was blitzing through the hole. My right foot stuck in the turf, and I felt a sharp pain in my knee. “Minnesota probably had the worst turf in the league. But there were a lot of bad ones. The first product of turf was terrible. It was laid on a hard surface, which was usually asphalt or concrete. It was just a synthetic, tightly woven fiber, which would wear out. And as the turf got used, there were seams that came up, and guys got caught.
sorry that it went the way it went. He said, ‘You have to do what you have to do. You have a heck of a football team.’ But still, that didn’t change the way I felt. I’m sure somebody else would tell you, that was the Cowboys, America’s Team, it was good to stick their noses in it. I didn’t feel that way.” After taking apart the Cowboys on national television, some of the players say the 1985 Bears became America’s Team. Their contrarian quarterback has a different view. “They’d been America’s
injury. Wilson was forced to reenter the game and found himself getting knocked out a second time. Curry Kirkpatrick, writing for Sports Illustrated during his heyday, was deeply impressed. “So brutal was the Bear onslaught that Al Davis was seen covering his face with his hands. Just breathe, baby.” The NFL’s closest observers were also starting to see that the Bear offensive line had become increasingly nasty in its own right. Kurt Becker started that game at right guard for Chicago. A
Bears, and this time it wasn’t the offense vs. the defense. Linebacker Otis Wilson said in a team meeting, “What do we need him for?” Offensive tackle Keith Van Horne chimed in, “What’s this Flutie shit?” The most outspoken critic, in public, was McMahon. At Chicago’s first practice after the trade was announced, McMahon made a mockery of it by wearing a red jersey with Flutie’s BC number 22 on it. That same day McMahon told reporters, “I know it’s not sitting well with a bunch of players.”