What The ’85 Chicago Bears Look Like Today

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The 1985 Chicago Bears had it all: the sublime
greatness of Walter Payton, a decent QB playing like a Hall of Famer, and one of the greatest
linebacking corps of all time. And there were plenty of other colorful characters
on the team. Here’s what the ’85 Bears look like now. Jim McMahon Quarterback Jim McMahon joined the Bears in
1982 following an outstanding college career at BYU, but it wasn’t immediately apparent
that he was destined for Super Bowl glory. His first season, shortened by a players’
strike, resulted in a three-and-six record, and his second was a wash at eight-and-eight. But the Bears improved to ten-and-six in 1984
as a warm-up act for that ridiculous 1985 season, even as McMahon was becoming just
as well-known for his antics off the field as for his exploits on it. He was known to party like a rock star, which
of course meant wearing sunglasses at all times and boozing the night away at any number
of Chicago hot spots. During his career, McMahon suffered a lacerated
kidney, a broken neck, and multiple concussions. In recent years he’s admitted to considering
killing himself because of the pain. But after treatments that involved realigning
his neck, he’s found relief from the worst of it. His main gig these days is the Vegas show
“Renegades,” in which he, Terrell Owens, and Jose Canseco discuss their rowdy years. He’s also appeared on some TV shows, including
guest spots on the fantasy football sitcom The League and Netflix’s Disjointed. Willie Gault Among McMahon’s most formidable weapons was
Willie Gault, a wide receiver with rockets for feet who also doubled as the Bears’ kick
returner. During the ’85 season, he even returned a
kick 99 yards for a touchdown. But perhaps his most valuable contribution
was keeping every opponent’s best defender exhausted and frustrated for the entire game. He simply tried to be the fastest guy on the
field at all times, and today, in his 50s, he’s still running. After his NFL career, Gault returned to his
first love: track and field. He broke the world records in both the 100-
and 200-meter dash for the 45 to 49 age group, then waited a few years and broke the same
records in the 50 to 54 bracket. And upon turning 55, he went ahead and broke
the same records again in the 55 to 59 group. Even though he’s pushing 60, he could probably
still leave half the defensive backs in the NFL choking on his dust today. Richard Dent Defensive end Richard Dent was a player whose
very surname announced what he was planning to do to your quarterback’s skull every time
he lined up. In their Super Bowl victory, the ’85 Bears’
defense slapped the Patriots all over the field, and it was Dent who walked away with
the MVP trophy, after recording 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He was a nightmare for opposing offensive
linemen, and these days he’s bringing his take-no-prisoners attitude to a worthy cause:
health insurance for NFL Hall of Famers. Dent is at the forefront of a group of 22
former footballers who are demanding insurance and an annual pension. He’s also part of a lawsuit against the NFL,
along with McMahon, which claims that players in their day were not properly informed about
the long-term risks of painkillers. Never one to shy away from voicing his opinion,
Dent has even taken coach Mike Ditka to task for the Bears’ failure to repeat. In 2012, he told the Chicago Tribune that
they “should have been the first team ever to win three Super Bowls in a row.” Mike Singletary The anchor of the ’85 Bears’ fabled linebacking
corps and the undisputed leader of the defense, middle linebacker Mike Singletary earned defensive
player of the year honors during that magical season. He’s been called the greatest middle linebacker
in NFL history, a 10-time Pro Bowler whose knowledge of the game rivaled that of any
coach. It’s only fitting, then, that he would go
on to a second career as a coach. However, he hasn’t exactly managed to distinguish
himself quite as effectively in his new gig as he did in his playing days. Singletary was named head coach of the San
Francisco 49ers in 2008, and in three seasons he compiled an underwhelming 18-and-22 record. “Cannot play with him cannot win with em,
cannot coach with em. Can’t do it… I want winners.” He went on to similarly middling stints as
linebackers coach for the Vikings and Rams before being named head coach of the tiny
Trinity Christian-Addison high school in 2018, a gig that also was destined to be short. It was recently announced that the eight-team
Alliance of American Football league will begin play in early 2019, and Singletary was
subsequently announced as the head coach of the league’s Memphis club. Ron Rivera Backup linebacker Ron Rivera was never the
flashiest or loudest player on the ’85 Bears’ defense. Even though he only started in 62 of the 149
games he played in his pro career, he managed to rack up some impressive stats. He was almost as well-known for his involvement
in the community as he was for his play on the field. He took home the Bears’ 1988 Man of the Year
award, and when his playing days were done, he underwent one of the more successful player-to-coach
transitions in league history. After spending a few years in the broadcast
booth, Rivera took defensive coaching positions with the Bears, Eagles, and Chargers before
finding a home as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers in 2011. Under his leadership, the Panthers went from
laughingstocks to perennial contenders, capturing three consecutive NFC South titles and appearing
in Super Bowl 50. He took home back-to-back coach of the year
awards in 2014 and 2015, and of course he’s known for defensive schemes that completely
baffle opponents. With eight seasons at the helm of the Panthers
under his belt, he’s as entrenched as any coach in the league. William “Refrigerator” Perry Of all the popular players on the ’85 Bears,
none were bigger than rookie defensive lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry. Even though he was a defensive player, Coach
Ditka was prone to sticking him in the game as a running back simply because few opponents
were brave or crazy enough to try to stop him. His nickname wasn’t some clever allusion to
his ice-cold play, but rather his hulking physique. But in contrast to his crazy-imposing stature,
Perry had a goofy, amiable personality that endeared the rookie instantly to his teammates
fans. He had a standout verse in the Bears’ hip-hop
masterpiece “Super Bowl Shuffle,” and he even had a silly rap song all his own. Unfortunately, Perry’s later years have seen
him living with a drinking problem. He admitted in 2011 to suffering from alcoholism,
yet he continues to drink. His worried family are at a loss as to how
to get him to slow down. He’s also not in the best shape financially,
and at least one family member is suspicious he may be showing signs of CTE, the traumatic
brain condition caused by repeated concussions. Kevin Butler Placekicker Kevin “Butthead” Butler enjoyed
a stellar college career as a Georgia Bulldog before joining the Bears as a rookie in ’85. His longest kick in college came in a pivotal
game against Clemson, a 62-yard game-winner that his coach swore up and down would have
been good from 70. His play in college was awesome enough to
earn him an induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. He would eventually become the Bears’ all-time
leading scorer in his ten seasons with the team, although his ridiculous total of 1,116
points would eventually be eclipsed by Robbie Gould in 2015. In his rookie year, he scored 144 points,
proving himself to be virtually automatic on both field goal and point-after attempts. But as a Chicago Bear, he was expected to
go a bit above and beyond the duties of his position. He made 11 kickoff tackles that first year,
and he even made some changes in his personal life. “I called my fiancee Kathy and said we gotta change
our weeding. Super Bowl’s the 26th of January and we’re
supposed to be married the 25th and I’m not gonna be there. I said The Bears are going to the Super Bowl” After his retirement, he stayed closely associated
with his alma mater of Georgia, even returning there as a student at the age of 55 to complete
his education. Leslie Frazier For cornerback Leslie Frazier, 1985 was a
bit of a double-edged sword. He led the team with six interceptions, watched
his defense dominate just about every opponent they faced, and he helped shut down the Patriots’
receivers in the Super Bowl. However, in the second quarter of that game,
he suffered a knee injury during a punt return that ended his playing career. In 1999, he would return to the NFL as defensive
backs coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, and he’s been a mainstay on the sidelines of various
clubs ever since. Frazier has certainly had his ups and downs
as a coach, and as of late, the downs have been quite a bit more apparent. In 2017, he was named defensive coordinator
of the Buffalo Bills, who surprised everyone familiar with the team by making the playoffs. They then opened the 2018 season with back-to-back
massacres at the hands of the Ravens and Chargers, which resulted in head coach Sean McDermott
stripping Frazier of his play-calling duties. Perhaps he just hasn’t landed in the right
system yet, or maybe he just should’ve steered clear of the football black hole that is Buffalo. Either way, here’s hoping that Coach Frazier
has yet to see his greatest sideline success. Wilber Marshall Linebacker Wilber Marshall was better known
as the guy you had to worry about in the unlikely event that you managed to avoid getting flattened
by Mike Singletary. He was just as strong in coverage as he was
getting to the quarterback. He was one of the most versatile players on
that storied defense, but his retirement has been marred by sketchy treatment from the
NFL. For starters, the Bears reneged on a guaranteed
contract that should have paid him a yearly salary for 19 years. Instead, they cut him off after 11 years,
forcing him to pay his own extensive medical bills. He has has been constantly frustrated by the
league’s apparent obsession with keeping him out of the Hall of Fame. His name has never come up for consideration
even once, even though he was no one-season wonder. After his run with the Bears, he won another
Super Bowl with Washington in 1991, and in his 12-year career he played on top ten defenses
nine times and made the Pro Bowl three times. Mike Ditka Beloved by superfans everywhere, “Iron Mike”
Ditka is one of only two men in NFL history to win championships as a player, assistant
coach, and head coach. His legacy would have been fully cemented
had he retired after 1985. Indeed, some people will tell you that ending
his coaching career that year might have actually been a good idea. His post-Chicago stints consisted of three
brutal seasons with the New Orleans Saints in which he compiled a 15-and-33 record, after
going 106-and-62 and snaring six division titles with the Bears. Ditka followed up his coaching with a colorful
broadcasting career during which he was known to put his foot in his mouth early and often. This was never truer than in 2017 when Ditka,
who has forged intimate professional relationships with black men all his life, seemed to express
ignorance about the existence of racism. In light of players kneeling during the national
anthem, he said during a pre-game radio interview, “There has been no oppression in the last
100 years that I know of.” Considering that he’s pushing 80, it’s understandable,
though not exactly excusable, that Ditka would be a bit puzzled by the current state of race
relations in America. But for all his faults, Chicagoans will forever
embrace “Da Coach” as the only man who ever led their beloved Bears to Super Bowl glory. He may have hobbled the Saints for nearly
a decade with his personnel decisions and said some highly questionable things, but
for many fans Iron Mike will always be the guy who fielded the greatest football team
in history. “Hello, operator get me NASA… Yeah, I know it’s in Houston. Look, this is Mike Ditka, Let’s get it done,
sweetheart.”

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