4. Sixth sense

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - BEARS -

The Bears weren’t do­ing it be­cause they were greedy. The Bears were do­ing it to feed the needy. Or so the song said. In a mind-blow­ing dis­play of con­fi­dence, the Bears shook off their only loss of the 1985 sea­son — a 38-24 Mon­day night thrash­ing by the Dolphins — by head­ing to a record­ing stu­dio. The very next day. Born was “The Su­per Bowl Shuf­fle.” Sweet­ness, Speedy Wil­lie and Samu­rai Mike. The Punky QB, Mama’s Boy Otis and Steve Fuller. The Sack­man, Hit­man and the Fridge. Fans all across Chicago rushed to get the 45. The record went gold. The video went plat­inum. The song was nom­i­nated for a Grammy. Most im­por­tantly, the Bears made good on their vow and won the Su­per Bowl.

On a rainy, muddy De­cem­ber day at Wrigley Field in 1965, Hall of Fame run­ning back Gale Say­ers turned in the sig­na­ture per­for­mance of his daz­zling seven-year ca­reer. It started with an 80-yard touch­down on a screen pass and ended with an 85-yard punt re­turn touch­down. In the mid­dle: four other scores on runs of 21, 7, 50 and 1 yards. Six TDs in all, ty­ing an NFL record. It was a breathtaki­ng dis­play of vi­sion, agility and grace. Team­mate Mike Ditka has called it “the most un­be­liev­able ex­hi­bi­tion I’ve ever seen in the his­tory of the game.” “It seemed like ev­ery­body was slip­ping but me,” Say­ers said many years later. “I couldn’t be­lieve I was hav­ing that kind of day.” The Bears throt­tled the 49ers 61-20. Say­ers, who piled up 336 all-pur­pose yards, was un­aware in the mo­ment that he was mak­ing league his­tory. “If we had record books on the side­line, I prob­a­bly could have scored eight touch­downs.”

3. The be­gin­ning

It was in Ralph Hay’s auto show­room in Can­ton, Ohio, where Ge­orge Halas be­gan putting his fin­ger­prints all over pro­fes­sional foot­ball. Halas, at the time, was a player-coach of the De­catur Sta­leys and ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion from Hay to help for­mu­late a vi­sion for the Amer­i­can Pro­fes­sional Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion. That gath­er­ing on Sept. 17, 1920, with Halas sit­ting on a Hup­mo­bile and ex­hibit­ing his think-big men­tal­ity, is pointed to as the launch­ing point for what pro foot­ball — and even­tu­ally the NFL — be­came.

2. De­fense wins cham­pi­onships

The Bears had five All-Pros on a de­fense that al­lowed fewer than 10 points per game dur­ing the 1963 sea­son: Bill Ge­orge, Joe For­tu­nato, Doug Atkins, Richie Petit­bon and Roo­sevelt Taylor. Not even Hall of Fame quar­ter­back Y.A. Tit­tle could sur­vive against that group. In the ’63 cham­pi­onship game, in frigid con­di­tions at Wrigley Field, the Bears de­fense in­ter­cepted Tit­tle five times in a 14-10 tri­umph. Bill Wade’s two short rush­ing touch­downs each came after a Bears pick. Line­backer Larry Morris was the game’s MVP. It was Ge­orge Halas’ fi­nal cham­pi­onship as coach. As O’Bradovich once said of his ’63 team­mates: “God damn it, they were men. Their word was their bond. They went on the foot­ball field and they knocked the hell out of peo­ple. And I’m so thank­ful I had the op­por­tu­nity to play with them.”

1. Al­most per­fect

The fit­ting end to the most dom­i­nant sea­son in Chicago sports his­tory. Su­per Bowl XX: 46-10. Six play­ers scored points. Seven oth­ers recorded either a sack or a takeaway. The vaunted ’85 Bears de­fense capped a mag­i­cal post­sea­son run in which it al­lowed only 10 points over three games. And it did so with a spe­cial com­bi­na­tion of swag­ger and vi­cious­ness. At the fi­nal gun, Otis Wil­son and Richard Dent went for Buddy Ryan, the beloved de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor who had made it known to his play­ers that the Su­per Bowl would be his fi­nal game with the Bears after eight sea­sons. Wil­son and Dent hoisted Ryan on their shoul­ders to carry him off the field. Steve McMichael and Wil­liam Perry did the same for head coach Mike Ditka. The snapshot re­mains iconic and was splashed atop the Tri­bune’s front page the next morn­ing. “Bears bring it home,” the head­line read. The Lom­bardi Tro­phy was Chicago’s. The ’85 Bears were per­ma­nently etched into foot­ball lore as cham­pi­ons.


Buddy Ryan, left, and Mike Ditka get car­ried off the field after the Bears blew out the Pa­tri­ots to win Su­per Bowl XX in Jan­uary 1986.


Ge­orge Halas’ 1920 De­catur Sta­leys, who moved to Chicago and be­came the Bears.


QB Bill Wade (9) scores the win­ning touch­down in the 1963 NFL cham­pi­onship game.


Gale Say­ers’ 1-yard dive gives him the fifth of his six touch­downs in 1965 vs. the 49ers.

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