Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We're not doing this because we're greedy (the Chicago Bears on leadership)

Even if I weren't trying to become a U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2009 - a goal which has become immeasurably harder to achieve - I would have been attracted to a story shared by Steven Perez Monday - namely, an item from entitled Bears shuffled to lopsided victory in Super Bowl XX.

You see, the title of the item reminded me of this:

And who was the first of the stellar rappers who soloed in this video? The late Walter Payton.

Which got me wondering about something that I may have once known, but have since forgotten - who were the leaders on that Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears team?

My memory is still alive enough to realize that Refrigerator Perry was probably not the leader of the Bears, but it got me wondering whether DA Bear was the MVP who led off the video, the quarterback Jim McMahon, the coach who didn't appear in the video, or someone else.

The article calls out the defensive leaders - Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton - but does not try to characterize the offensive or overall leadership of the team.

Another article positions Ditka in the leadership position:

There was something in the air in Platteville, WI, in August 1985. Throngs of new tourists suddenly showing up to watch the team practice....Mike Ditka set the tone, as he told the team that this was their year. "Put a chip on your shoulder, and don't let anyone knock it off until we win the super bowl!", became the team's rallying cry.

But there is another candidate whose name is bandied about:

The NFC Championship game featured some high drama of its own in the final seconds. Down 17-0, Los Angeles was desperately trying to put points on the board. As QB Dieter Brock dropped back to pass, he was sacked by Richard Dent, and fumbled the ball. Just as Wilbur Marshall picked up the ball and ran in for a touchdown, it started to snow. Many surmised it was George Halas giving his mark of approval on the team.

And perhaps that's the secret. Perhaps it wasn't Ditka (or Halas) imposing their vision upon the crowd, but the group of people deciding to achieve a common purpose together. In fact, the video itself, with its variety of "stars," musicians, and people dancing in the back, attests to this team togetherness.


In the next 3 games, the Bears were clearly on a roll. They beat up on Detroit, Dallas, and Atlanta by a combined score of 104-3. The pinnacle was a 44-0 defeat of the Cowboys in Dallas, their worst loss at home ever. These 3 losses set up disappointment at Miami on December 2nd. The Dolphins defeated the Bears 38-24, and ensured they would remain the only unbeaten team in the modern era.

Ironically, Bears players gathered the following day to record the "Super Bowl Shuffle" video and single. Some players were invited, but refused to participate.

The article doesn't say why some people refused to participate - perhaps they felt this was inappropriate after a loss - but those non-participants are now the ones who weren't in the video. And, for what it's worth, the Bears performed well after the video was shot:

After the Miami loss, the team did turn it back around, with 3 wins over Indianapolis, the New York Jets and Detroit, to finish the regular season. The playoffs were upon the Bears, and they controlled their destiny with home field advantage throughout the post season.

Incidentally, if you want to practice your wicked rapping skills, the rhymes can be found here. Here are Payton's lines, as recorded at lyricsmode:

Well they call me Sweetness
And I like to dance
Runnin the ball
Is like makin romance
We had the goal
Since training camp
To give Chicago
A Superbowl champ
We're not doing this
Because we're greedy
The Bears are doin it
To feed the needy
We didn't come here
To look for trouble
We just come here
To do the Superbowl Shuffle

P.S. Back in October 2008, I Stumbled Upon a Chicago Tribune article that documented William "Refrigerator" Perry's fight with Guillain-Barré syndrome. A January 25, 2009 Washington Times article offered no update on his condition. Both articles quote him as saying, "I'm doing fine." Hope so.

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