When I was younger, I didn’t much care for football. My dad would hog the TV for what seemed like hours. And all those football games screwed up the Sunday evening TV schedule; The games always ran late.
But then came 1984, and the Bears were actually a pretty good team. They had a ferocious defense, a great running back and a cocky young quarterback.
Still, halfway through the season they hadn’t really proven themselves to the rest of the league. Then they took on the Oakland Raiders.
If you remember that 1984 game at Soldier Field, you’ll remember that defense ruled. The Raiders knocked quarterback Jim McMahon out of the game with a serious injury, more or less derailing his career. But the Bears, led by that punishing defense and running game, ruled 17-9. I’d never seen two teams hit each other so hard.
From that moment on, I was a Bears game. I was rewarded in 1984 with the Bears’ surprising playoff victory on the road against a tough Washington Redskins team. Of course, one week later, in the NFC championship game, the 49ers stifled the Bears 23-0.
I knew a team on the rise when I saw one, though, and I was hooked.
I still am, even when watching the Bears is as exciting as watching grass grow. They’re still my team.