Bears Franchise Fails by Not Honoring 30th Anniversary of 1985 Chicago Bears


The stories have piled up over the years about how the Chicago Bears franchise fails their former players. Many former players feel that the organization doesn’t give them enough credit for their playing days and tosses them aside after their careers end. There was hope that perhaps the new regime would make it far more welcoming for former players to be around the organization but as this season has progressed, that doesn’t seem to have changed.

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Thirty years ago, the Bears did something magical. This season, there hasn’t been one pat on the back, there hasn’t been a halftime ceremony, there hasn’t been a trip down memory lane, there hasn’t been one ounce of recognition all season long. The Bears organization has been quiet, and that’s a shame.

Thirty years ago the greatest team that the NFL has ever seen dominated the sport, cruised to a 15-1 record and humiliated their playoff opponents by a tally of 91-10 in three games. Thirty years ago the Bears put together a season like no one has ever seen, and thirty years later the franchise didn’t have any interest in honoring their achievement.

The Chicago Sun Times has honored the ’85 Bears with a special Twitter feed tweeting out their coverage of the team. ESPN is honoring them with a 30 for 30 documentary on that magical season. But as for the Bears franchise? Nothing.

Thirty years ago is a long time. The next opportunity to honor this team will be at the 40th anniversary and they may be too long for some of these icons. Let’s be honest, the post playing lives of a lot of these players has been a struggle. Walter Payton has sadly passed away and Dave Duerson has tragically committed suicide. Jim McMahon is dealing with significant memory loss. Wilber Marshall has had major health problems since his football career ended. William Perry has had financial and health problems over the last several years. Buddy Ryan’s health has been steadily deteriorating and Mike Ditka is 76 years of age, and who knows if he’ll still be around for a 40th anniversary.

This team was special. This team has kept the Chicago Bears franchise relevant after years of mediocrity over the last 25 years. The ’85 Bears have become a figure of speech. They have become a measuring stick. They are the defense in which all other defenses are graded. The team had personality. The team was embraced by the city, and the team has not been put on the pedestal it deserves by their own organization.

The Bears have said they won’t retire any more numbers. That means there will never be one member of the ’85 Bears defense with their number retired- not even Mike Singletary. Does anyone else cringe when they see Shea McClellin running around with No.50 on his chest? The Bears have never done this team right.

I would have loved the franchise to do something out-of-the-box. I would have loved to see the Bears bring this team back for a special ceremony and retired the number 85. Yes, Dennis McKinnon wore 85 on that team, but I think people would appreciate the symbolism. Retiring jersey numbers has always been to honor players, but that’s not set in stone, doing something unique would honor the unit as a whole. While I would love to see someone like Singletary get their day with the franchise, at least with an idea like this, the Bears would honor the entire team for what they did for the franchise and the city thirty years ago.

In another lost season where the Bears will finish with yet another losing record, it would have been a nice silver lining if the Bears had spent the season paying homage to that great season. They could have done a count down of the greatest moments during home games. They could have brought out one or two players at halftime of each game. They could have at least had one big ceremony. There are so man things they could have done, the fact that they did nothing is disappointing.

The Bears will probably do something for the 40th anniversary in ten years, but sadly, the remaining players are going to look far different than they do now. This was the year to do it, the Bears failed, they failed that historic season, and they failed their fans.