The week leading up to the Super Bowl is pretty exciting — player interviews, predictions, and plenty of commentary. But Super Bowl XX was a different story. During the 1985 season, the Chicago Bears were dominant, ending with a 15-1 record. Led by coach Iron Mike Ditka, the team featured a cast of characters like Refrigerator Perry and Jim McMahon. And their antics leading up to Super Bowl XX are still talked about to this day.
The Chicago Bears’ 1985 season
The Bears dominated the season behind their legendary 46 defense. They went into the playoffs as one of the favorites, and the team, led by quarterback Jim McMahon, were often on the frontlines due to outlandish and outspoken behavior. Their defense was ranked first in the league and only allowed 198 total points.
In their first two playoff games, the Bears outscored their opponents 45-0 and recorded back to back shutouts. It wasn’t all play and no fun though. The team recorded The Super Bowl Shuffle, a rap song that hit the Billboard charts and plunged the 1985 Bears into infamy.
Outspoken Jim McMahon
Jim McMahon might not have been the greatest quarterback of all time, but he’s certainly memorable. Although a good portion of the wins was generated by the defense, McMahon led the offense, throwing 15 touchdowns for 2,392 yards. He was known for being tough — sliding headfirst into tackles and playing through many injuries, even a lacerated kidney.
His outspoken behavior, combined with attention-seeking antics — like wearing headbands with logos, usually resulted in him being fined and disciplined, but McMahon didn’t seem to care. After his time with the Bears ended in 1988, he ended up jumping from team to team until his retirement in 1996.
Recently, McMahon opened up about his struggles with his health, which he attributes to all the concussions he’s suffered over the years. At times, he contemplated suicide because his headaches were so unbearable. He often stayed in his dark room for hours at a time trying to get some relief.
Super Bowl chaos
With a week leading up to the Super Bowl, McMahon and company swooped into New Orleans and started raising hell. GQ summarized McMahon’s whirlwind week of posing for photos and going out drinking. That was only the first night. From there, he caused an uproar over an acupuncturist who wasn’t flown to New Orleans to work on his bruised posterior.
The high jinks only escalated from there. The next day, as a helicopter flew overhead, McMahon pulled his pants down and mooned them. At dinner, he walked into a restaurant with a man dressed as a bear, ate, then walked out and started to urinate in a doorway while talking to reporters. Throughout it all, he chewed and spit his tobacco and denounced all the media attention.
Looking back, it’s a good thing McMahon provided such entertainment before the big game because the Super Bowl itself was a blowout. The Bears handily defeated the Patriots 46-10. McMahon had two touchdowns, and even big man Refrigerator Perry was brought on to score in the third quarter. McMahon later hinted that Perry was brought on because of a bet Ditka made. True or false, Ditka’s reputation with betting makes for a juicier story.
Since the glory days of 1985, the Chicago Bears have struggled. There was a bright spot during the Lovie Smith era when the Bears made it back to the Super Bowl in the 2006 season. Unfortunately, they lost a tough fought game to the Indianapolis Colts 29-17. Since then, it’s been a revolving door of coaches and subpar seasons.