Super Bears (1-26-1986)

On this date, twenty-nine years ago, the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl for the first time.  So far, it’s the only time.

Chicago really fell in love with that Bears team.  The city had endured a long stretch without a championship team in any sport–22 years since an earlier version of the Bears had won an earlier version of the NFL title.

We’d come close lately.  In 1983 the White Sox had captured their division title, then lost in the playoffs.  The same thing had happened to the Cubs the next year.

000--1-26--team pic.jpg

Still, Mike Ditka’s Bears had been impressive.  They’d finished the regular season with a 15-1 record.  They had the strongest defense in football.  In Walter Payton, they had an all-time all-star.  In Jim McMahon, they had their best quarterback since Bill Wade of the 1963 champs–who’d also worn #9.

Then there was William Perry, aka The Refrigerator.  He was a 335-pound rookie defensive lineman.  Ditka had used Perry as a running back on a few offensive plays, and #72 had scored 3 touchdowns.  The ‘Fridge had become a national celebrity.

As the playoffs got underway, some of the Bears came out with a rap record called “The Super Bowl Shuffle.”  Oh no!  That was tempting fate!  Remember how Ron Santo of the ’69 Cubs started clicking his heels after every victory, and then the team fell apart?

But the Bears ripped through the playoffs without breaking a sweat.  First they shut out the Giants, then they shut out the Rams.

Now the team was in New Orleans to face the Patriots in Super Bowl XX.  And Time magazine put Payton and Perry on its cover.  Oh no!  Every athlete knew about the jinx of Time, Inc!  Get your picture on the cover of Time or Sports Illustrated, and you might as well turn in your jockstrap.

Not to worry.  The Bears won 46-10.  It was the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history.

There’s a personal postscript to the story.  An hour before the kickoff, my 19-month-old daughter chugged a bottle of her mom’s perfume, and had to be taken to the emergency room.  Not knowing how long she’d be there, I popped a tape into the VCR.

So now I have my own, unedited, six-hour video of the pre-game, game, and post-game.  Each year on Super Bowl Sunday, I watch a little bit of it.

And wonder if I’ll ever get to make another one.

–30–

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8 Responses to “Super Bears (1-26-1986)”


  1. 1 barkinesq January 26, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I remember the game oh so well. I will never forget that Water Payton’s number was not called so when the Bears were inside the 5 yard line, and thus, the most deserving Bear did not score a touchdown in the game. Mike Ditka cannot be forgiven for that slight.

    • 2 J.R. Schmidt January 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      I hear you. But at least Walter got a Super Bowl ring. In 19 seasons, Ernie Banks never even made it into the World Series.
      –JRS

  2. 3 tubo January 26, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Is that your daughter Tracy Samantha Schmidt who drank the perfume?

  3. 5 benson January 27, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Okay, I have to ask. Is your daughter named after Katherine Hepburn/Grace Kelly’s character in Philadelphia Story/High Society?

  4. 7 Ralph February 13, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Remember the Fridge tried to carry Walter into the end zone for a touchdown but was called back. LOL.

    “The Super Bowl Shuffle” was videotaped the day after that Monday night loss in Miami.

    • 8 J.R. Schmidt February 13, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      I’ll have to check my tape. I do remember that the Fridge got the ball and cocked his arm to throw a pass on one play, but then thought better of it.
      –JRS


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