Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (WBBM) – “Da Coach” issued the call, and more than 30 of the 1985 Super Bowl Bears and their coaches showed up Friday night for a televised 25th reunion party.
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Sweetness is gone, and Samurai Mike was busy coaching the San Francisco 49ers. But Mike Ditka and 1985 defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan were both on hand, along with a host of players for whom defeating New England 46-10 in Super Bowl XX was a highlight of their life.
“The thing you miss the most is the camaraderie with the other guys,” said Tim Wrightman, who played tight end. “You had 53 guys you could go to every day and you hung out with and you joked with, and once you leave football you don’t have that experience any more.”
Some of the players did double-takes when greeting each other. But, as always, Jim McMahon stood out in the crowd. The one-time “punky quarterback” donned a one-of-a-kind sports jacket replete with giant polka dots in half a dozen colors.
Ditka came up with the televised reunion format after taking part in a similar reunion last spring for the 1971 champion Dallas Cowboys. Ditka played tight end on that team.
The players all said Ditka was emphatic about wanting as many of the 1985 Bears as possible to take part.
Willie Gault was one of McMahon’s favorite targets. And the Super Bowl speedster said some things never change.
“We had a cast of characters and they have not changed one bit,” he said. “All the guys are still the guys. They’re great and I’m happy to see them.”
Wrightman retired in 1986, but said he still wakes up in the morning believing he could line up at tight end and play.
Duerson said his biggest regret is that Ditka’s Bears were never able to make a repeat appearance on pro football’s biggest stage.
“We should have won three or four in a row,” he said. “And the 2006 team should have won it, too.”
The Super Bowl Bears were divided over the prospects for today’s Bears.
Receiver Brian Baschnagel spent the 1985 season on injured reserve. He said he sees a lot of potential in today’s Bears, and said it took several years for the Super Bowl XX champions to gel.
Gault and Duerson said that until they see more camaraderie and an all-for-one attitude among today’s Bears, they won’t contend.
Wrightman said he’d relish the chance to take on today’s Bears.
“If we were to put teams against teams, even though they’re bigger, stronger and faster, I wouldn’t make us an underdog against any team,” he said.
As Baschnagel said, “Attitude is everything.”