Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 76 Days with Steve McMichael

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Steve McMichael signs with Chicago Bears

As a 24-year-old free agent in 1981, McMichael garnered great interest from the Chicago Bears and elected to sign a contract, bringing the dominant defensive tackle to a defensive line that already included the likes of Dan Hampton, Al Harris, and Alan Page.

In Chicago, McMichael began his stint with more of a reserved role, playing in just 19 total games with zero starts in 1981 and '82. However, by the start of the 1983 campaign, McMichael began to become more of a consistent contributor on the defensive front and even went to start in 10 of the team's 16 games while producing 8.5 sacks.

In 1984, McMichael had an even better season after becoming a full-time starter, adding 10 sacks in 16 starts. But even more impressive than his 1984 campaign was the dominant streak that started the following year, and helped cement the Bears defensive unit as one of the best in league history.

By 1985, McMichael, or "Mongo", as he was called affectionately and frequently by his Bears teammates, was a dominant force at the defensive tackle position, and created one of the most feared defensive lines alongside future Hall of Famers like Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, and even then-rookie nose tackle William Perry. McMichael finished the year with eight sacks in 16 starts and was even nominated as a First-Team All-Pro member following the season.

During the team's ensuing playoff run, McMichael start every postseason contest, including Super Bowl XX, where he helped the team win their first championship of the Super Bowl era. During the game, McMichael himself contributed one of the team's seven sacks.

Despite winning the Super Bowl as a team, McMichael showed no sign of slowing down, as 1985 was just the first of three years of dominance. In 1986 and '87, McMichael was nominated two his first two Pro Bowls as well as logging two All-Pro selections. Over this span, McMichael started all 28 games he was available for during the regular season and totaled 15 total sacks.

Following the 1987 season, the last in which McMichael was voted to the Pro Bowl, the defensive tackle played six more seasons with the Bears, starting in all but nine games. In this span, McMichael was given one more All-Pro nod and totaled nearly 50 sacks in 96 games. After the 1993 season, McMichael and the Bears failed to reach an agreement, making the former a free agent. After one year with the Green Bay Packers in '94, McMichael retired from the NFL after a 15-year professional career, 13 of which came with the Bears.