September 22, 2011
On Jan. 26, 1986, the Chicago Bears slapped the New England Patriots around on their way to winning Super Bowl XX, 46-10. Two days later, the country was shaken by the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster that killed all seven astronauts on board. The Bears never got to visit the White House.
Twenty-five years later, President Barack Obama, noted Bears fan, is giving the '85 Bears that chance. On Oct. 7, they'll be visiting the White House.
The last football team to visit Obama in the White House was the Green Bay Packers, the arch-nemesis of Obama's Bears. They visited in August after winning Super Bowl XLV. Said Obama at the time:
"I'm just gonna come out and say it. This hurts a little bit. This is a hard thing for a Bears fan to do. It doesn't hurt as much as the NFC championship game hurt, but it still hurts."
This one should be more fun for him.
The '85 Bears remain one of the most memorable teams in NFL history. Not only did they have arguably the greatest defense of all time with Buddy Ryan at the helm of the "46" scheme, but they also had truckloads of personality. Mike Ditka was the head coach. Defensive tackle William "The Refrigerator" Perry was also their goal-line back. The intense Mike Singletary led the defense. Legendary running back Walter Payton was the star on offense. Jim McMahon was their quarterback.
McMahon actually made an effort to represent the '85 Bears at the White House once before. McMahon was a member of the Green Bay Packers team that won Super Bowl XXXI in 1996. When that team visited the White House, McMahon wore his '85 Bears jersey in honor of his teammates who never got that chance.
The tradition of the Super Bowl champs visiting the White House wasn't as firmly established then as it is now. According to this 1998 article from the Chicago Tribune, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the first to get the invited after winning the Super Bowl in 1980. The next teams to get the invite were the '86 Giants and '87 Redskins.
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