What We Learned In ESPN’s 30-for-30 About Da Bears
Tonight ESPN aired its 30-for-30 on the 1985 Chicago Bears, definitely one of the best NFL defenses of all times, and likely one of the more dysfunctional Super Bowl champion teams. The film was a compelling watch.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 5, 2016
Hard to believe it's been 30 years since The Super Bowl Shuffle, but here are 14 things the documentary uncovered about the team:
-The process of creating that team started when the defense from the 6-10 1981 Bears sent a letter to owner George Halas to keep Buddy Ryan as coach. Ryan was kept, but Head Coach John Anderson was fired and replaced by Mike Ditka.
-Ditka was a great Bears TE (he was Rookie of the Year), but was traded to Philly when he openly complained about his pay (note that when Ryan left after the Super Bowl, he also went to Philly).
-Ditka was likely hired by Halas because he was an ex-Bear and could be gotten for cheap (in his first season he was the lowest paid NFL coach by far).
-The 46 Defense came about when the defense complained the defensive playbook was too large, causing players like Otis Wilson and Mike Singletary to complain. Ryan relented and greatly cut the playbook down.
-Steve McMichael needs his own ESPN show. He's fun to watch.
-It was inferred, but even rookie kicker Kevin Butler was getting laid that year.
-Ryan and Ditka hated each other, but Ditka knew enough to stay out of Ryan's way.
-The most likely reason the Bears lost that Monday Night Game against the Dolphins is Ryan decided blitzing Dan Marino was a good idea, but Don Shula had a game plan to expose the blitz (spread out the defense and get it quickly to one of those awesome WRs). That game remains the most watched MNF game in history.
-A statement about how dominant that team really was was putting them on Bourbon Street for a week and having them still beat the Patriots 46-10. Players give McMahon credit for taking pressure off them by calling attention to himself (and mooning a helicopter). McMahon was accused of calling New Orleans women sluts, but that tuned out to be a prank.
-Walter Payton really was pissed about not scoring in the Super Bowl.
-Ryan and Ditka are the only two coaches to be carried off the field together after a Super Bowl. The original plan was just to carry Buddy, but the defense wisely realized they better have someone carry Iron Mike as well lest his feelings get hurt.
-The players are convinced they could have won three Super Bowls in a row if not for Ryan leaving and McMahon not staying healthy. Even though McMahon took that vicious cheap shot from Charles Martin, some players thought he should have worked harder to stay in shape and protect himself knowing he would be hit in retaliation for the Bears' hard-hitting defense.
-The loss of Payton hit the team hard, and Dave Duerson's suicide, likely caused by CTE symptoms, shocked them. Otis Wilson was asked if he was nervous about meeting the same fate. He said he was fine now, but allowed he could see the same problems. McMahon has similar issues, and while any CTE symptoms cannot be reversed, doctors found he had a constricted spinal cord and have worked to lessen cranial pain and depression. To a man, though, the players wouldn't trade anything for their NFL experience.
-Ryan has been fighting cancer and is a tough man. Every single defenseman who played for him loves him like a father and were reduced to tears, as was I (stupid "Friday Night Lights" music!).
David Young has been a columnist for ESPN and Sports Illustrated and is going to watch that 30-for-30 again tonight.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.