Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Super Bowl 50: A Look Back at the '85 Chicago Bears

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Super Bowl 50: A Look Back at the '85 Chicago Bears

Article excerpt

How big is the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl? So big that for the Feb. 7 game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., the National Football League saw fit to drop the Roman numerals: It's Super Bowl 50, not Super Bowl L.

The NFL is taking a characteristically hyperbolic approach to the golden anniversary of its big game, an event that long ago dwarfed everything else in sports - and in American entertainment. It consistently ranks as the most-watched show of the year.

TV specials and retrospectives, coffee table books, and endless website "listicles" celebrating the 50th Super Bowl are among the most obvious signs of the pop culture powerhouse the NFL championship game has become. At many of the 31 stadiums around the league this past season, the 50-yard lines were marked with golden numerals and a golden logo shield to hammer home the point.

Amid all the 50s and Super Bowl cachet, a team and game from 30 years ago have roared back into the picture. In January 1986, the 1985 Chicago Bears - arguably the greatest team of any single season - capped their historic run by shredding the New England Patriots 46- 10 in Super Bowl XX.

On Feb. 4, ESPN will unveil a new documentary about that memorable team and season as well as interviews with the principals and snapshots of their lives since then.

Titled "The '85 Bears," the movie is part of ESPN's "30 for 30" series. Vince Vaughn, who grew up in Lake Forest, the Chicago suburb where the Bears practice, is an executive producer (along with Peter Billingsley of "A Christmas Story" fame) and narrates the documentary.

People who cared little for pro football had to work hard to avoid those Bears. Jim McMahon, the punk-rock quarterback, became one of the few athletes to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone when the rock magazine featured McMahon for its March 1986 issue, soon after the Super Bowl victory. (It remains the only Super Bowl win in team history.)

Before that, what started as a goofy rap song recorded for charity, at a time when hip-hop was still foreign to almost everyone beyond adolescence, morphed into a national phenomenon with a companion video of hulking players trying to dance and lip sync. …

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