Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 59 Days with Ron Rivera

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears, Ron Rivera
Chicago Bears, Ron Rivera / Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports

Ron "Chico" Rivera wins Super Bowl with Chicago Bears

In his first couple of seasons with the Chicago Bears, Rivera served as a key, versatile backup that was capable of lining up at any of three linebacker positions, including during the team's dominant 1985 regular and postseasons. Rivera was even able to get on the field and log a tackle during Super Bowl XX, helping the team dominate versus the New England Patriots.

Even as a backup, Rivera was a large presence on the dominant Bears' defense, and like many of the players on the team, earned a unique and special nickname from the players and coaches, Chico, as he was called in reference to Freddy Prince's character in Chico and the Man. Rivera had his supporters in both the locker room and coaching offices, but he didn't get his first chance to start until late into the 1987 season due to injuries amongst the linebacking core.

After playing well in a limited stint to end the '87 campaign, Rivera became a full-time starter the following season, playing in all 16 of the team's regular season games as a weak-side linebacker. Rivera started in each of the next two seasons as well, logging 14 starts in both '89 and '90.

By the 1991 season, Rivera returned to more of a backup role with just five starts throughout the year. In 1992, Rivera was a full-time backup, playing in all 16 games with zero starts before retiring after the season. At the time of his retirement, Rivera had logged 56 starts in 137 games where he logged nine interceptions, 7.5 sacks, six fumble recoveries, and nearly 400 total tackles.

The Bears were also extremely successful as a unit with Rivera on the roster, and outside of the team's 1985-6 playoff run, Rivera played in nine postseason games where he logged six starts and two postseason wins as a starter.