Off-season Readin’: The ’85 Bears

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The ’85 Bears: We Were the Greatest by Mike Ditka with Rick Telander

With the Super Bowl culminating the end of another football season, what is a football fan to do now? That is other than watching re-runs of the games on NFL Network, waiting for the draft and simply counting down the days until the pre-season, why not get some reading done? I’ve looked at the shelves for Chicago Bears related books that I have purchased over the years. To start, why not with The ’85 Bears: We Were the Greatest co-written by DaCoach Mike Ditka and Chicago Sun-Times’ senior sports columnist Rick Telander.

The book chronicles this magical season by profiling not only players and coaches, but also every game played, from the first game against Tampa Bay to Super Bowl XX against New England. The appendix records individual game statistics as well. The player profiles give direct quotes from the individual players as stated over the course of this season. Each game and profile are packaged into a chapter, there are 15. Each chapter includes Ditka’s commentary in a tone that holds true to his no-nonsense, straightforward style.

The books starts like many great epics: at the end, with Ditka reflecting on January 27, 1986, the day after Chicago Bears wrecked the New England Patriots. He recalls the poignancy this win meant to the players and to the city. With it being in January, in Chicago, that was a 25 below zero wind chill day, but everyone came out to celebrate despite the harsh conditions. Ditka comments, “See Grabowski is the name I came up with for the players on our team, and it fit Chicago…[this name] symbolized that we were the hard-hat guys” (18). Ditka’s words along with Telander’s talent retells the story from a first-hand experience; not just one told by a reporter from the sidelines.

In Life, First You Kick Ass by Mike Ditka with Rick Telander

One aspect that I did realize after looking through all of the Chicago Bears’ books in my library, is that Ditka’s chapters here are identical to the ones published in his book In Life, First You Kick Ass, which is also written with Rick Telander. Do not do what I have done: have purchased two copies of the same material.

Regardless of the content being the same in two books, I would highly recommend this book, which shows a complete season to anyone who is a Chicago Bears’ fan, a Ditka fan, and anyone who would like to learn more about this immortal team of Chicago’s. In particular, if a fan was younger during this time, it would provide that much needed insight to explain the legends that were made that season.